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Initial thoughts: I had won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. I was very excited to be one of the few people who were able to read an advanced reader’s copy of this book. Whenever I see a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, I will quickly jump at the chance to get my hands on it. In fact, I have reviewed a few retelling of Beauty and the Beast (which I will link to at the end of this review!). Reading Beauty and the Beast from an Amish perspective was a completely new experience. amish-1728517_1920

Summary

To most townsfolk, he’s known simply as The Beast. Annabelle Beiler has little interest in gossip, but she’s heard about Adam Herschberger’s scars and his gruff, solitary ways. Though he sounds like a character from one of Belle’s treasured books, the man is real and, it turns out, just as unreasonable as the rumors claim. When a buggy accident wipes out the last of her daeds money, forcing him to sell their farm, Adam buys it. Then he offers Belle a deal–marry him, and her family can keep their home.
Everyone is shocked by Belle’s decision, but she’s determined to be a good fraa cleaning Adam’s rundown house and tending the overgrown garden. Breaking through her new husband’s icy reserve will be another matter. Belle’s courage and strength are abundant, but it will take true faith to guide Adam back to the heart of his Amish community–and to the loving marriage they both deserve” – Goodreads

The Review 

First of all, my knowledge of Amish culture and customs before reading this book was derived from Weird Al’s “Amish Paradise,” a parody of Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise.” As I write this, I am literally having a “facepalm” moment with one hand on my forehead, and the other hand typing away. I also do not have any Amish people living anywhere near my community, so Amish people were not on my radar before reading this book. [Sidenote, I cannot really say how accurately this book depicts Amish culture]. I did do a little bit of research afterwards out of interest, but this does not make me in any way, an Amish expert.

As soon as I began reading, I really felt as if I had been transported into some sort of alternate dimension where electricity exists, yet there are no televisions, cell phones, or computers to be found. Instead there are horses, handmade clothing, and cows to be milked every morning. There is something magical about Annabelle’s Amish community of Echo Falls without it being full of singing household objects.

In the tightly knit community of Echo Falls, Annabelle Beiler (Belle) is contented with her life on the farm and reading romance novels. One day, a disaster strikes Belle’s family, forcing her into bargaining with Adam, a disfigured recluse who is known in the community as “The Beast.” Adam strikes a deal with Belle: marry him and produce a son, and in return, Belle’s family will be able to keep their farm. But Adam is no prince in disguise. Once Belle agrees to marry him, she fears she has made a terrible mistake. Caught in a whirlwind from Adam’s bad temper (and overall moodiness), Belle tries to win his favour. But how could she tame the heart of a cold-hearted Beast?

When I imagined the setting for this novel in my mind, I kept thinking of this “living history” museum I went to when I was a kid. The people who worked at this living history museum would have to perform duties without the use of electricity and modern inventions. Of course, as a kid, I was very bored and looked forward to the ice cream I was promised at the end of the tour. Now that I am older and completely immersed into a technological culture, I find that it is important to stop and think about how things used to be done in the past. The methodical traditions of everyday survival is missing from most modern lives (including mine). While I would not trade my life to go and live in an Amish community, it reminds me that there is something rewarding about doing things without being continuously aided by technology.

Enough for my little rant. Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast is an interesting glance into Amish culture with a fairy tale romantic twist. In comparison to most romance novels that I have read, this one is very very tame. It is sometimes nice to read a slow burning romance, there is much more to savour. At first, I wasn’t sure how the elements of Beauty and the Beast would translate into an Amish setting. Somehow, it all came together very nicely. This novel also took me only two days to read, and kept me very interested from the start to the finish.

I would recommend this book to those who love Beauty and the Beast retellings, and to those who are fond of settings reminiscent of Anne of Green Gables or Jane Austen’s novels.

 

Final Grade:

A- Cat

About the Book 
Title: Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast 
Author: Sarah Price Series: An Amish Fairy Tale (Book #1: Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Book #2: Ella: An Amish Retelling of Cinderella [to be released spring 2018])Year Published: October 31, 2017Genres & Subjects: Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Amish, Fairy Tale, Retelling

 

Other Beauty & the Beast Retellings to check out!

Cruel Beauty by: Rosamund Hodge

Beauty by: Susan Wilson

Beastly by: Alex Flinn

 

Until Next Time,

-Alice

 

 

 

 

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