Friday, November 7, 2014


Author: Cameron Dokey
Series: Once Upon A Time
Number of Pages: 204
Date Read: 11/7/14
Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling

Synopsis (Found on

Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one's true love.
During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood -- and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.
My Review:

This is a basic retelling of beauty and the beast. 

It basically follows the real fairy tale. One difference I noticed is that Belle's mother is around in this book, whereas I believe in the real fairy tale she's not there. Belle's father is a merchant who owns ships and in the beginning they are rich but misfortune happens and Belle's family has to move to the country. Belle's father stumbles upon the Beast's home and Belle takes his place in the beast's home. The rest is basically the same tale with different events happening but it really is the same thing. In this story the beast wants Belle because she can tell him what the heartwood branch has hidden inside it. The heartwood tree is a sacred tree in the Wood that will shed a branch only to the person it chooses. Its said that if the branch is carved by the right person it will reveal the face of one's true love. 

I really liked this book because it promotes true love in the sense that you have to look deeper than looks. I found it interesting that in this book Belle and the beast couldn't see each other's face until the spell was broken. So instead they fell in love because of their personalities and getting to know each other. Throughout the book Belle is always mentioning that her sisters are the essence of beauty and that she is plain. She believes that her name is wrong and misleading as Belle means "beauty" in her country. 

I liked Belle a lot. She was very spunky, honest and has very good manners. She is also very loving and caring to others. She is brave because she takes her father's place in the beast's home and agrees to help the beast. Belle, in this story, also has a talent for wood carving. She has the ability to hold a piece of wood and the wood shows her the image it wants to be, which is why she took her father's place. Only she could carve the hearttree branch for the beast. Belle went there to do a task and leave quickly but instead she found true love. 

I liked the rest of the characters too. Belle's sisters were funny and not at all stuck up like in the original fairy tale. At first they didn't want to move to the country but once they were there they loved it and adapted well to it. Belle's mother at first seemed very stuck but but again, once in the country she changed for the better. I really liked Belle's father. He was such a sweet, caring and gentle man. He cared a great deal for his family and his sailors and their families. When his ships were lost at sea, Belle's father sold many of his own belongings to get money so he could give it to the families of his men who were lost at sea. He was very generous, just and fair. I liked the beast a lot too. He was sweet and very kind. He treated Belle very well and never pushed her for anything. 

All in all a great quick retelling. 


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