February 12, 2014

A Tale As Old As Time || Belle - Cameron Dokey

Belle - Cameron Dokey
Belle by Cameron Dokey
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 25, 2008
Source/Format: Bought || Kindle e-book

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. (from Goodreads)

The most delightful thing about Belle is how true it stays to the version of Beauty and the Beast that I grew up with, that is to say, the Disney film version. While it might not be the most memorable or unique read, it's certainly a lovely way to pass some time.

Belle keeps the two main characters - a man cursed to be a Beast, and the girl clever enough to see past that. The story is also mostly the same, including the relationship between Belle and her father and how that is the catalyst for her offering herself to the Beast. The elements of magic, romance and family are still cleverly woven all throughout.

Obviously, the story in Belle is pretty predictable. We know that Belle will see past the Beast's appearance and break the curse almost as sure as we know to breathe. The author does try to put her own spin on things, however. She adds in Belle's mother and beautiful sisters, who have caused her to feel insecure for a big part of her life and creates an interesting internal conflict for Belle. She changes up the Beast's home, adding a few unexpected elements to the environment. 

Even with these changes, among a few others, the story is familiar and, well, to me, feels like home. The reason I love it so much, in spite of a lack of connection with the characters, is because it's a really close retelling of a story I've come to know and love.

Belle is actually a fairly short read, so it goes by quickly. If you're in the mood for a fairytale, or at least a retelling of one, you should check it out! 

It's actually a part of the Once Upon a Time series, where many authors try their hand at creating unique retellings of fairytales -- and for any fairytale fan, checking this series out is a must!)

This review was posted as part of A Tale as Old as Time.


  1. I love so many of the Once Upon a Time retellings. Haven't read this one in years but might have to revisit it soon! Great review!

  2. I just listed the Once Upon a Time series in my "Top Ten Tuesday" post from this week! And then my friend and I were talking about it yesterday, and now it's mentioned here today! So many random connections... sign to reread? :)

  3. I've read one of the Cameron Dokey books from this series - I think it was called The World Above. I liked it, but I also wasn't able to form strong connections between the main characters.

    Have you read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George? It's actually a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, not Beauty and the Beast. However East of the Sun has a lot of similarities to Beauty and the Beast. I think you might like it.

  4. I have never heard of the ONCE UPON A TIME series/retellings, but I must check them out now. Sometimes, predictable stories comforts me. I like knowing what happens, but I'm also glad the author puts her own twists into the tale. :)

  5. One upon a time series is my favorite. Couple weeks back I re-read Belle, I had the same feeling as reading for the first time.. Great review, Alexa !! :)


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