Thursday, March 30, 2017

Book Review: Lost in a Book

Title: Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Source: Purchased

An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, Lost in a Book follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.

This deluxe hardcover novel expands upon the beautiful story and world seen in the new Walt Disney Studios' film, Beauty and the Beast.

My Review

Ever since I was a small child, I've had a fascination with the story of Beauty and the Beast. It probably goes back to when I was two and my uncle took me to see my very first movie - Disney's now animated classic, Beauty and the Beast. It also probably has something to do with me being a huge bookworm and often wishing I could live in some of the books that I read. When I found out that Jennifer Donnelly was writing a Beauty and the Beast book about Belle actually visiting an enchanted book, I knew I had to read it!

Lost in a Book follows Belle during her time as a prisoner in the Beast's castle. Because she's trapped within the castle walls and grounds, she grows bored, even with the company of the enchanted objects like Mrs. Potts, Chip, Lumiere, and Cogsworth. After the Beast gives Belle his library, she discovers a strange book hidden in the library's work room. After opening it, she finds out that it's one of the enchanted objects in the castle. Curious, she enters the book and discovers a world that she could only dream of. The book, Evermore, provides and promises Belle the escape that she needs from the castle, but is it too good to be true?

Fans of Disney's Beauty and the Beast will be pleased to see that many of their favorite characters are included in Donnelly's twist on the beloved tale. Obviously Belle is a huge part of the book, and she interacts with many fan favorites, but Donnelly also introduces a few new characters that will keep readers curious. For me, I really loved the characters called Love and Death. They seemed somewhat familiar to me, but I liked their small presence in the book. I also really liked the characters from Evermore and seeing how their actions would impact Belle and her choices.

Aside from the characters, how does Lost in a Book relate to the animated and live-action versions of the beloved fairy tale? Donnelly's book works as a midquel, meaning that the events in the book are meant to take place during Belle's time as a prisoner in the castle. Anyone familiar with the story or the Disney movies would be able to read this book without any problems.

Lost in a Book is a sweeping tale about escaping reality, especially when reality isn't kind. It's a book that will call to many different types of readers who read to go to new places and experience things they would never be able to experience. It's entertaining and just as enchanting and magical as both Disney films. There's a familiar feeling to the lessons in the books, and readers will feel empowered after reading it and discovering what Belle learns.

Jennifer Donnelly is the author of eleven novels - Lost in a Book, These Shallow Graves, Sea Spell, Dark Tide, Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose - and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She grew up in New York State, in Lewis and Westchester counties, and attended the University of Rochester where she majored in English Literature and European History. 

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