The title alone drew my attention to this new read from Jennifer Donnelly. Getting lost in a good book is one of my favorite things in the world. There is nothing more relaxing than escaping inside the pages of a good book. That’s what Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) thinks as well when she discovers a magical book called Nevermore in the Beast’s library. At first, Nevermore seems like the perfect escape from the lonely castle where she is being held prisoner. But Belle soon learns the dangers of judging a book by its cover.
Let me start out by saying that this is not a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It is a story within a story – a story that takes place within Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. At one point in the film, the Beast gives Belle his library because he realizes what a great love of books she has. That is where this story picks up, with Belle and her friends Lumiere, Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts helping her clean up the library so it may be used and loved again.
Lost in a Book in no way detracts from the original Disney story but rather gives us a more detailed look inside of it, filling in some of the gaps so to speak, including a little backstory on the Prince who turned into the Beast.
Donnelly stayed true to the Disney characters in this story, with Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and Cogsworth speaking and acting just as we’ve come to know and expect of them. In fact, Cogsworth came to life so much in this story that I found myself liking his character even more after reading this book.
Belle was just as kind in this story as we’ve come to know her on film, but what Donnelly did was make her more human, more relatable. We get to really feel Belle’s homesickness and loneliness in this story and understand just how difficult it was for her to have her whole life turned upside down when she took her father’s place as the Beast’s prisoner.
I think Donnelly did an excellent job of bringing human emotions into fictional characters and crafting a story that really makes one feel. Simply put, I loved this book! I read it in two days. I didn’t think I would be as absorbed into the story as I was, but I couldn’t put it down. I treasured the books in the library and the great classics like Shakespeare that were weaved into this story. And I absolutely loved the way Belle is portrayed as no less intelligent than the men in the story.
The only flaw that I will say this book has is nothing to do with the story or the writing. I was surprised as I was reading to come across as many typos as I did. I would expect a book from Disney Publishing to be error-free by the time it goes to print. But that’s just me being a grammar nut. I have friends who just skim right over the typos and keep reading without a blink, but for me it really disrupts the flow of reading. Other than that tiny issue, there is nothing negative for me to say about this book. If you are a fan of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, read this book!
One of my favorite passages from the book:
“Home is all the people, all the places, and all the things that you love. You carry it wherever you go. Don’t you know that?” – Lost in a Book