Being that today marks the launch party for Beauty and the Beast, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to discuss the ways I based it on the original fairytale. The story of Beauty and the Beast was written in 1740 by a woman named Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. However, the version we know best is the abridged version of the story, which Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont wrote in 1756. I pulled inspiration from both versions of the story.
In a nutshell, in Beaumont’s version of the story Belle–the daughter of a bankrupt merchant–lives in the beast’s castle as collateral damage after her father picks one of the beast’s prize roses. While staying in the castle Belle is spoiled rotten. Beast gives her the best foods, jewels, an extensive wardrobe, and every thing her heart desires. Each night he asks her to marry him and she says no because “she only sees him as a friend.” (HAH.) After living like this for several months Belle gets homesick and–with the beast’s blessing–returns home, promising she’ll be back within a week. The beast sends a magic mirror with her so she can see what’s happening back at the castle. Belle’s sisters (she has two) grow jealous of Belle’s lavish lifestyle when she comes home and tells all that has happened to her, and they convince her to stay for an extra day. When Belle returns to the castle and finds the beast dying of a broken heart. (Apparently he loved her so much he would die if she spent more than a week away from him.) Belle cries and tells the beast she loves him, and he is turned into a handsome prince. He explains that he had to live as a beast until a maiden fell in love with him because he was cursed by a fairy when he refused to let her seek shelter in his castle during a storm.
Villeneuve’s story is basically that, only Villeneuve dove more into the beast’s past as well as Belle’s. In her version you find out that the beast was not cursed because he was a brat, but instead a wicked witch cast the enchantment on him and Belle is actually the daughter of a king and a good fairy. (She was given to the merchant to take in as his adopted child when her mother died and the king remarried a wicked step mother who wanted to kill Belle.) Villeneuve additionally had a much larger cast of characters that Beaumont culled to make the story shorter, and she wrote about the beast’s royal family.
I wanted to take my version of the story back to the originals rather than base it off the more modern adaptions, so I took elements from both of the stories. My take on Beauty and the Beast has the magic mirror and the beast’s obsession with roses. I also made my story of a similar timeline (months rather than weeks) although Elle’s arrival and broken leg are my own invention. As in the original, Elle is one of three daughters, her father is a bankrupt merchant, and she is given a gorgeous wardrobe and exotic/delicious food. I gave homage to both Villeneuve and Beaumont by having a wicked witch curse Severin (the beast) to live and act like a beast. I slightly twisted Beaumont’s version so that it was a beautiful enchantress who saved Severin by restoring his mind to him, however, she was unable to change his appearance and as a result placed a spell on him so he could return to his real body if a maiden fell in love with him. Like Villeneuve’s story, Elle is not what she appears to be (although it has nothing to do with her parentage so NO she is not a half fairy.) and I included more information on Severin’s family.
Additionally, as both of these ladies are French I tried to give my story a French feel to it. Most of the names are French, and the clothing and fashions presented in the book are all from approximately 1650-1750 France, ditto with the foods.
Of course this is my version of beauty and the beast, so my story includes fighting, pending wars, espionage, strong minded characters, humor, and a lot more danger than anything presented in the original stories. I hope you get a chance to read it, and that you enjoy it. Happy reading, Champions, and I will see you on Monday!
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Juliana Nine says
This version of Beauty and the Beast is one of the best fairytale adaptions I have ever read! I absolutely loved all of the characters especially how witty and clever they were! Elle and Severance interactions were so cute and charming; as soon as I finished the book I immediately started rereading it. 😊
Juliana Nine says
Silly auto correct… I meant Severin…
I’m glad you liked it! 😀 As I’ve said it before–but I think it bears repeating–I so badly wanted to throttle Elle and Severin when I was writing the book because they were nearly IMPOSSIBLE to push together, but I’m very happy you found their story charming! 🙂 Thanks for reading it!
Megan Thompson says
I purchased this book in 2014 and loved it. Now I am rereading it again for the thousandths time and I have noticed some changes in the first chapter, by the second chapter I stopped reading. Why did you change the story line after 4 years? I liked the first version better is there a way I can get it back?
I read this last night (finished at 4am, after reading the extra free short story – so funny!) and I loved it! Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favourite fairy tale, and I really enjoyed how you interpreted it. I liked how right from the start there was a strong awareness that Severin was cursed and that the beast form was not his real form, and how that strengthened the element of true perception (of who people really are) in the story. I also liked that the Beast couldn’t figure out who Elle was, but knew there must be more to the story, and how his guessing kept me as the reader guessing too. Also, you write it so well – it is so funny and you got quite a few chuckles out of me… I especially enjoyed the “encouragement” about her muscle tone and all the fabulous cat jokes and his little “chuffs”. I will definitely be reading this again and am keen to try more of your books!
I’m glad you liked it! I try to infuse my retellings with interesting twists–or at the very least a lot of humor–so I’m thrilled B&B not only entertained you, but also made you laugh. 🙂
Ivy McNeil says
I just finished this and I have to say it is my favorite Beauty and the Beast Retelling!!!
Wow, thank you! That is huge praise considering there are many Beauty and the Beast retellings out there. 🙂 Thanks for reading it!
I just finished reading Beauty and the Beast. I feel that this version of Beauty and the Beast is at the same time realistic and has a fairy tale feel to it which makes it more enjoyable to me. Anyways, I just want to say that I enjoyed this book and have read it several times since I got it!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! Beauty and the Beast is probably my favorite fairy tale, so it is a high compliment to be told you liked it!
I just want to say that I just started and finished Beauty and the Beast on my kindle after downloading it from Amazon today with no prior knowledge of this website so imagine my shock at hearing that today marked it’s launch party. I seriously liked it so much that I couldn’t stop reading. Great job!
In that case your sense of time is perfect! I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed reading it. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment too.