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Belle: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  7,103 ratings  ·  703 reviews
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 Heartwoo
Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by Simon Pulse (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  7,103 ratings  ·  703 reviews

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Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
So everyone keeps saying that this is a crap knockoff of Robin McKinley's two B&B stories Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast & Rose Daughter. Supposedly they're both lovely and enchanting and everything that a retelling should be.
Well, I've read those and the ending of each of them grossed me out to varying degrees.
(view spoiler)
Jan 19, 2009 rated it liked it
*sigh* It was so close, and yet... no. It was good, i guess, but it was clear that Cameron Dokey had read Robin McKinley's "beauty" dozens of times. There is no rose. I liked that. The whole love-tree with a secret inside of it that only belle,the fabulous wood carver, can unlock... this was new and interesting. And, phew, the part in the boat (read it, you'll like that part) was really sweet. But there were so many moments where I just rolled my eyes. Either she had copied and pasted robin mcki ...more
Kiirsi Hellewell
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
I had mixed feelings about this book.

For the first 140 pages, I was getting into the story. I enjoyed the good writing, the descriptions, I even liked all the characters. This was a nice version of "Beauty and the Beast" where Belle still had both her parents and even her sisters are kind and good. Nothing was really happening in the story. We were watching the main character grow up, which was somewhat boring but a little cool since she liked to carve wood and had a magical "gift" to see insid
Oct 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Cara by: Valerie
Shelves: fantasy, fairy-tales
I am totally in "like" with this series. Why do I go all mushy inside every time I read one? I guess I carry way too much estrogen but I'm not ashamed. No way. Part of the reasons fairy tales have been around so long is because they show us something about what the heart can do.

Belle doesn't fit her name. At least she doesn't feel like she does when she is next to her gorgeous sisters. The author doesn't make us feel sorry for Belle in the least, which I thought was odd but good. Though she isn'
Like the previous Dokey book I read, Before Midnight, this book did a great job of establishing the main character's world and everyday life, but rushed the last act, which contains the actual fairytale that the book is supposed to retell.


1. I liked how Belle's mom was still alive and her sisters were actually nice to her.

2. The lore of the Heartwood Tree was pretty intriguing (albeit resolved way too quickly), and Belle's talent for carving was refreshingly different. Too bad Dokey didn't u
May 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
Halfway through reading this, I realized I was halfway through the book and had yet to meet the Beast. That in itself wouldn't have been a problem if I had liked Belle herself at all.

However, early on, Dokey sets this up as a tale about Belle being Not As Pretty as her sisters and her Issues With That (god, why the hell are heroines clearly described as beautiful always considered "plain"?). This device was gross to me for a couple of reasons. One, she's described as "plain", but evidence is to
SUMMARY: 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 t
Bleh! Just another insipid retelling of Beauty and the Beast that reads amateurishly plotted & characterised, with the additional aggravation that Dokey is unashamedly trying to reproduce Robin McKinley's Beauty, without a drop of the latter's charm.

Don't bother with this copycat book, is what I'd recommend to those checking it up to see if it might be their thing. You'll be best served going for McKinley's, or if you crave something like that story, with the same plot but different enough to s
Jun 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: j-fantasy, ya-fantasy
This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. And by retelling I mean that the father isn't dumb, and the author replaces the stolen rose with an accidentally fallen tree branch.

I feel like this is the book you give to middle school/high school students to teach them about patterns and oppositions in writing. No subtlety.

Also, it has the classic mistake that most MODERN YA authors try to avoid- you know nothing about the prince, and you can't tell that the heroine is in love with him, or vice ve
A very basic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It felt like the Cliff Notes version, skimming over the whole falling in love thing. Could've done that part better.
Aug 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I've always loved the story of "Beauty and the Beast". Probably from watching the Disney movie when I was really young(Belle was my favorite Disney princess). So I obviously had some high hopes for it. I can't say that I absouletly loved it, but like any fairy tale lover, the happy ending had me smiling.

Quick Overview: Belle feels like her name is a lie. One that you can see quite plainly when you look at her face. Belle means Beautiful and that is a word that describes her sisters, not her. H
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've always love fairy tales! And of all of my favorite fairy tales, the story of Beauty and the Beast has always been one of my favorites. This story was very sweet and included some interesting quirks that I have not come across before with the Beauty and the Beast tale. I really liked that the author made it so that neither the beast or Belle could look in each other's faces. It was an interesting twist. Plus, it put them on equal footing with each other. And, personally, I liked that
Jan 07, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: retellings
I have read many re-tellings of Beauty and the Beast, this one was by far the worst. Completely following the plot/tradition of other authors, it not only doesn't stray far from the plot, but ruins even that. The characters are *all* perfect, you have the routine romance for the older sister (as always), and an attempt at Happily Ever After. The Beast's story is incredibly abrupt and he lacks a certain whimsical charm that he is often portrayed with.
There was no 'under-characters' to apreciate,
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
M'kay... not very far into this book and already I'm super annoyed with Belle. If she mentions one more time how Beautiful her sisters are and how plain she is... I just might scream.

Update: I finished this book and then kept thinking "I should go finish reading Belle"... only to remember I was done. The first half of this book went on and on. The second half was so rushed! I could understand and feel more for the relationship between the father and daughter than I could between the girl and th
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it

Love is many things, ma Belle . And the face it wears is not always what we expect.

That's right, ANOTHER Beauty and the Beast retelling. Heyyy, I'm nothing if not predictable. This is also the first Cameron Dokey book for me. I enjoyed it quite a lot. She's not reinventing the wheel with this one. Belle is, for the most part, a very straightforward retelling. I really enjoyed Belle's voice. I appreciated the amount of time Dokey concentrated on Belle and her family. Honestly, I would've lov
May 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
When I started this book, I smiled at reading the back cover. I believe the Heartwood or a tree similar to its myth featured in another myth in another book of the "Once Upon a Time" series. I don't recall which one it was - a prince carved a flute from it, I believe, while his brother carved a spear or something...

Anyway, back to this book. I decided to pre-order it because I rather liked the books I've read of this series so far, and Beauty and the Beast is one of my liked stories. (Admittedl
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, retellings
Nothing like true love to make a Fairytale story magical. The book doesn't start that way but the beginning is just supposed to lead up to that.

It starts with Belle saying how beauty is not -as some people would have you believe- in the eye of the beholder. Her two older sisters are considered beauties but for different reasons. The oldest is the dark haired mysterious type and the second is blond with the sunshine just bursting out of her. It's good to see the author show that beauty isn't res
Jul 21, 2009 rated it it was ok
I'm having a little fairy tale phase here. Bear with me.

Not very original, took many pages right out of "Beauty" by Robin McKinley.

Did really like the family theme. Appreciated that the mother was still alive. Loved that they came together in the country like they never had in the city (and knew it, and appreciated it).

The Heartwood tree part was sort of original, but also sort of confusing. The story just wasn't knit together very well. The ending was really pretty lame--the tale of why the
Jan 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Beauty is one of my favorite books by Robin Mckinnley so it was very hard not to compare. I like the other books written is this series a lot but I am a fairy tale junkie. But this one just didn't hit the spot for me.
It would be hard for anyone who's ready "Beauty" by Robin McKinley to not compare the two books. In my opinion, "Beauty" was the far better story, though this book was not without its merits. Still, the comparisons are difficult to ignore. In both stories, the "Beauty" character is the plain (or plainer) daughter, with two older sisters who are heart-stoppingly beautiful - or Beautiful, as differentiated in this book. They are daughters of a merchant who loses his money, and so the families are ...more
Jamie Dacyczyn
Yet another book in this series with serious timeline issues. Come on, Cameron Dokey! Get your act together.

This book is 204 pages long, and is a retelling of Beauty & the Beast. We basically know the overall plot ahead of time, and presumably the author does why does it take til page 143 for Belle to meet the Beast? That leaves just 60 pages for the WHOLE rest of the story to take place. As a result, the love story is entirely rushed, so they have to explain it all away with some h
J.C. Morrows
There is nothing I like more than an intriguing fairy tale retelling that is fresh and original… even though the story holds more similarities to the original story than the most frequently told story these days.

One of the best parts about a retelling is how much more involved you get with the main characters. In the original fairy tales, the story focused on the middle and the end. With a retelling, you can explore the beginning.

Belle does that and it’s wonderful. We have a chance to become ver
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
2,5 stars!

An average, but okayish read
Grace Bittle
Interesting, not EXACTLY the kind of book I would have picked up and read. . . However, it's part of a set of books that I am really enjoying.
North of Normal Book Reviews
* Reviewed by Frog for North of Normal Book Reviews

More like a dissertation on beauty than a love story

As I continue my Beauty and the Beast mission to read every adaptation I can find, I chose BELLE next owing to its beautiful cover and placement on the Barnes and Noble Beauty and the Beast table.

BELLE by Cameron Dokey is a smartly written study of Belle in a short, predictable, and not very heartfelt adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast tale. This is a historical teen novel set in a mythical
Sarah Theis
Aug 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Honestly would have liked this beauty and the beast retelling better if there was less of the beginning and more of the ending. Let me explain that. The first half of the book was a lot of detail about Belle and how she received her name and how she didn't think she deserved her name. Like literally rolled my eyes every time she brought up how there's Beauty and beauty and she is only beautiful while here sisters are Beautiful. I understand the book is called Belle not Beauty and the beast so it ...more
Kelly R
Jun 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot. It wasn't great but it was enjoyable.

The characters were lovable and original. I loved the beginning, I thought it was a lovely start and had just enough background information. It was thoroughly engaging. I like Cameron Dokey's style, I find it humorous and endearing.

It was a bit too much like Robin McKinley's Beauty. There were some parts that I wished were changed up a bit. Dokey has the talent, she has written some very inventive stories. I just wished sh
Dec 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fairytale lovers of all ages
I am finding that there are some things that I really like about Dokey's writing and some things I don't like much at all. This book seems to follow her usual pattern. She takes a long time to set up her main charachter and the majority of the book is more about Belle and her family than anything else. The tradition points of the Beauty and the Beast story don't happen until half way through the book. While this is somewhat annoying I actually enjoy the interesting domestic storyline. I like tha ...more
Feb 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I really enjoyed Belle’s character, she was very likable. I also really enjoyed her family and her two older sisters. I like the side story of April and Dominic, I do wish something more would have happened with Celeste. The ending came up too quickly and I thought it was all wrapped up a too fast. I would have enjoyed more time and interaction between Belle and the Beast. It was very well written though and had a great fairytale feel throughout ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
I seldom write anything on a book that I did not complete, but I must say this effort is a bit disappointing. I know this is a fairly-known series of classic retellings, but I can't see as this retelling does anyone any favors.

The writing is uninteresting and flat. I believe young people deserve a well crafted piece of writing. The use of modern language in a classic story I suppose has been incorporated so that a modern audience can better relate, but it seems to have sacrificed what could hav
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Cameron Dokey is an American author living in Seattle, Washington. She has a collection of over 50 old sci-fi and horror films. Cameron was born in the Central Valley of California. Cameron grew up reading classical literature and mythology, perhaps due to her father, Richard, being a teacher of Philosophy, Creative Writing, and Western Literature.

Cameron has one husband and three cats, and is th

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But the memory of something painful does just the opposite. It retains its original shape, all bony fingers and pointy elbows. Every time it returns, you get a quick poke in the eye or jab in the stomach. The memory of being unhappy has the power to hurt us long after the fact. We feel the injury anew each and every time we think of it.”
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