Rating: 3 stars
What if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast?
Belle is a lot of things: smart, resourceful, restless. She longs to escape her poor provincial town for good. She wants to explore the world, despite her father’s reluctance to leave their little cottage in case Belle’s mother returns—a mother she barely remembers. Belle also happens to be the captive of a terrifying, angry beast. And that is her primary concern.
But Belle touches the Beast’s enchanted rose, intriguing images flood her mind—images of the mother she believed she would never see again. Stranger still, she sees that her mother is none other than the beautiful Enchantress who cursed the Beast, his castle, and all its inhabitants. Shocked and confused, Belle and the Beast must work together to unravel a dark mystery about their families that is twenty-one years in the making.
As Old As Time is the story of Beauty and the Beast where Belle’s mother ends up being the Enchantress who curses the Beast before Belle stumbles upon the castle to find her missing father. It details the story of how Belle’s father Maurice and the Enchantress/Rosalind meet. But the story also shifts to present day where Belle is trapped in the cursed castle with the Beast and they work together to find out what happened to Belle’s mother in the hopes of breaking the curse.
I find this adaptation of Beauty and the Beast to be an enjoyable read. As this tale is one of my favorites, I find the way they’ve twisted this story to be extremely fascinating to explore. I loved seeing the story develop on its own once we got past all of the parts that were already familiar to us.
Especially because I felt like I could believe Belle’s mother was the Enchantress that cursed the Beast. To me, it makes a lot of sense with the way the original tale is written and the way it’s incorporated into this book fits it perfectly. So much mystery surrounds Belle’s mother in the original story so by making her the Enchantress, I feel like some of what happened in the tale can be explained.
I feel like a lot of people (and when I mean people, I mean the reviews I checked out on GoodReads) heavily criticized As Old As Time, especially the ending. Without giving too much away, the story doesn’t end at all like what we’ve been used to because of the Disney adaptation of the story. But personally, I was perfectly okay with the way this adaptation ended. Not because I don’t love the Disney adaptation, but because I don’t mind seeing a story I love change and have a different ending than what everyone else expects and is used to. Most fairy tales don’t truly have happy endings so I don’t see why this one would be any different. If anything, I like seeing a different ending for this story because this story isn’t the same one we’re used to enjoying. It’s completely different from the Disney adaptation and as such, I’m perfectly fine that the ending changed along with the story too. Yes, there are some things within it that could’ve been better written or explained, but I enjoyed it so I’m not going to complain.
However, there are some things about this Beauty and the Beast adaptation that I didn’t particularly enjoy. While I loved learning more about the past and why Belle’s mother disappeared, I didn’t truly believe in the love between the Enchantress and Maurice. I just didn’t feel like it was fleshed out well enough to make the reader truly believe the two of them would be together.
I think part of my struggle in believing in that relationship comes from that none of the characters in As Old As Time are really well developed. Yes, most readers of this story are already familiar with most of it, but I feel like that doesn’t mean Liz Braswell couldn’t have done something to make everyone seem more interesting.
I also think there was too much of the Disney adaptation in this story. Especially in the beginning whenever we are being introduced to everyone and just starting to read this book. While at times I didn’t mind because I was already familiar with the story, I didn’t think this book would do that. It made me believe that this book was just going to be a book version of the Disney film instead of a completely different story entirely. While I wouldn’t have minded that, I feel like I would’ve been completely disappointed if that had been the case.
So overall, I enjoyed reading As Old As Time. I found the twists within the story to be absolutely delightful and the ending to me was what I truly expected from this adaptation of the fairy tale. But while I enjoyed reading about what happened before Belle entered the castle, I didn’t completely believe in Maurice’s relationship with the Enchantress. I also feel like none of the characters were very well developed, just there to make the scenes in the story unfold and felt too much of the Disney adaptation in the beginning of the story. So while I enjoyed reading this book, there were definitely some things about it that needed to be changed. Nonetheless, I still recommend this book to anyone who loves Beauty and the Beast but want them to be open minded about how the story plays out.