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Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch

(Villains #5)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  2,922 ratings  ·  401 reviews
The tale of Rapunzel is widely known. So what of the old witch, Mother Gothel? Where does she come from? And how does she come across the magical golden flower? Here is one account that recounts a version of the story that has remained untold for centuries . . . until now. It is a tale of mothers and daughters, of youth and dark magic. It is a tale of the old witch. - Disn ...more
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published August 2018 by Disney Press
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Kristina After reading up to book five and I accidentally read out of order, kind of regret it. I highly recommend reading in order. Yes each has a story of a …moreAfter reading up to book five and I accidentally read out of order, kind of regret it. I highly recommend reading in order. Yes each has a story of a villain's origin story, but the Witch sisters are involved with each story and book four brings the stories together. Some characters from the previous books reappear. (less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,922 ratings  ·  401 reviews

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Jillian Reynolds (Jillian Loves Books)


Totally cool with bringing out my inner Disney fangirl right now.
Fifi 🌸
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: disney
Ok I'm really tired of the Odd sisters in this series. They may be my most hated characters I ever come across. Once they enter the story it becomes all about them instead of the villain the story is supposed to be about. These books have become about the odd sisters disguised as the story of the villain of the story. They are so annoying and are always the cause of the villain's downfall which is becoming so tiring and is the same shit over and over again. If the author wanted to write about th ...more
I didn't enjoy this as much as the rest of the series.
I love the Odd sisters and didn't really like how they were portrayed in this book.
I do love that it was left with an opener for another book!
Michaela Bush
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was so excited for this book that I preordered it as soon as I could. Mother Gothel's story is so mysterious, but considering the timelines presented in the movie and the TV show, this book doesn't fit into canon at all. I'm sure I could have appreciated this book more if I wasn't so obsessed with "Tangled" and hadn't picked apart every single piece of the movie until I have it memorized, but there were a lot of fallacies in this novel. While I haven't read the other books in this series, I wa ...more
Dena (Batch of Books)
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Oh wow, I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't that. It was MUCH spookier than I anticipated. When Mother Knows Best showed up in my mailbox, I thought my ten-year-old daughter might like to read it, but I'm glad I read it first because I think it would be too much for her. Plus, it's a young adult book (ages 12-18), not middle-grade (ages 9-12).

It's a really good book and it doesn't have anything graphic or descriptive in it, but it's pretty creepy. Which, of course, is why I enjoyed it so
Zayda (Babybibliophile)
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Super horrifying and creepy! I loved it!
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
My least favorite of the series so far but still enjoyable and still good enough to keep me interested in finishing the series. These books are great at offering insight into the background and mind of the villains we all grew up hating as children.
Pauline Zander
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liked this a lot!
Although at some point it felt like every sentence ended in an exclamation mark! And they were all screaming! All the time!
May 09, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
More accurately, I did not finish this book because I didn't even start it.
I'm missing one of this series. This was not intentional and it's not my fault. I bought a set of four books which for some unknown reason included Books 1-3 and Book 5 but no Book 4 even though it's advisable to read the series in order. Marketing fail 🤦.
While reading the first three books, I was so indecisive about continuing the series and buying my missing book. It was 50-50. I rated the others no higher than 3 stars
Dec 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I’m not sure how I feel about this one.

I get it’s a villain series, but these 3 witches that pop up everywhere aren’t in any other film except maybe Hercules and that is one hell of a tenuous link.

The backstory was one a hell of a one, but one honestly I could feasibly believe in the fiction world or associate with Gothel. It’s never suggested in any film work, the latter part of the book me the relationship with her mother was convincing.

It just seemed to jump around and assume things to much
Emerald Sue
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
“Sometimes we create images of the people we love and hate in our minds, and those images override what we see with our eyes, even when they are right in front of us. Even if we've imagined them to be monsters, to see them as they truly are with our eyes and our hearts is sometimes shocking.”
Amélie Boucher
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: disney-books
Actual rating: 3.5 stars
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I want to like this series so much, but it's just not my cup of tea. I like the idea of the series, and like how Valentino weaves the Disney villains' stories together, but I have a love/hate relationship with the odd sisters. While I'm glad there's a twist and some originality to the villain perspectives, more and more of the stories are about the odd sisters and less and less about the Disney villains we've come to know and love dislike. Since there's only one book left in the series, I'll pro ...more
Sophie Crane
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: disney, women-in-h-f
I did not purchase my books from amazon but I thought necessary To leave a review 😀 I LOVE THIS BOOK SERIES. As it's mostly AIMED AT THE OLDER DISNEY FAN. As there are parts in the story that be quite dark so DON'T BUY FOR A YOUNG READER. You also must read the book series in order to understand each villains story.
Here's the list on the order of the books
1. Fairest of all
2. The Beast Within
3. Poor unfortunate Soul
4. Mistress of all Evil
5. Mother Knows Best
Read them in this order and you'll unde
Katherine "Kj" Joslin
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-november
Loving the series, especially the way they all intertwine.
Alejandro Camacho
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A year ago I was heartbroken by Maleficent's demise in Mistress of all Evil so when I got my ARC yesterday with Gothel story I knew I needed to be ready for another deep story.

There is so much about this book that I've enjoyed, personally I love what Serena did with Gothel, I never imagined how her background and past might have been before the events taking part in the film, so this was both exciting and intriguing for the story. The result is something dark and beautiful at the same time, exqu
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
I had much higher expectations for this book, but it just fell flat for me. I didn't really enjoy the story line as we learn more about Gothel's own mother and sisters and how she comes to the point of kidnapping Rapunzel. It was strange and didn't flow well and I thought the writing was basic. Also, and this may be a personal pet peeve of mine, I didn't like the names of the other characters in the book. It's things like that, that make me realize what a genius JK Rowling is. I think an author ...more
Kristen (belles_bookshelves)
"Fairy tales are written for a reason."


I love the Disney-version of Rapunzel, Tangled. I think Mandy Moore is PERFECT. But I have always thought that Mother Gothel has the most compelling reason for kidnapping a princess. I mean, Snow White's mother hates her because she's pretty? Maleficent curses Aurora because she isn't invited to a party? Those seem... petty. But a princess with magic hair that keeps you young? I mean, regardless of backstory linking the two characters together, I think that
Fanny ✨
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, disney
3.5 stars

i'm always completely devoured by the worlds in the villain series. i always read them in pretty much one sitting. i think that apart from the first book in this series, Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen, this is my favorite one yet! it's also the longest.

the main character gothel is really allowed to be the narrator in this story, in contrast to two of the previous books about ursula and the beast (and in some part also maleficent), where other character continuously took ove
Deneice Hullett
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It is a fantastic tale that gives you an insight to the thoughts of Lady Gothel and why she did what she did. What do you think her motives are? Greed? Vanity? Love? It is a must read.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this one! Very dark & edgy. Call me crazy but I found myself feeling sorry for Gothel. Iv been checking these out from library but now I’m really tempted to buy them. ...more
Small Review
These books are crazy, but there's something about them that keeps me reading them...Full review to come.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far the best book in the series! Great back story for Gothel and not too much of Tangled worked into it that is repetitive...SOOOOOO GOOD!!!
Alex Apostol
May 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My favorite in the series so far. I love how all the books are connected to each other and dive deeper into the lives and mishaps of these "odd sisters".
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!! Great story!!
Jessica (a GREAT read)
Sep 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Serena Valentino’s Mother Knows Best is the tale of Mother Gothel and what was going on with her before she became Rapunzel’s kidnapper/mother. It’s a decidedly darker tale than the ones we’ve previously read in the Villains series, at least I thought so. It seemed Gothel was always on the path towards darkness.

We start the story with Gothel’s childhood, which made it a little difficult to place where this fell in the odd sister timeline, it seemed to be before most of the events of the series t
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
First of all, I would like to thanks Serena Valentino for organized a trivia contest on her facebook page for an advance reader copy of Mother Knows Best. I will keep this review simple with no spoilers in order to tease you and make your mouth water without revealing the plot and the twists.

The story begin with a beautiful pragmatic young woman who wanted to see the world but decide to stay in her home birth by respect and love. No I'm not talking about Rapunzel. The life of this young woman s
Kaylee Stinebiser
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: signed-books
This series keeps getting better!

Of the first five books in Serena Valentino’s Villains series, Mother Knows Best is my second favorite (behind Fairest of All, the first book).

Mother Knows Best goes into the most detail about the villain’s childhood, I thought worked very well for the progression of the book. We’ve always known that characters like Mother Gothel are “evil,” but no one ever truly tells us why—or how—she got that way. It’s so interesting to see what made these Disney villains so
Faith Cushing
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it

I have been struggling through this book for a while, and every time I pick it up I question why I am still reading it. So I finally gave it up. The story is not very believable, it is poorly written, and a bit confusing. Only after reading some other reviews have I realized that this was not meant to be a stand-alone book and incorporated characters and plotlines from the other books in its series. Maybe that is partially why I do not like it. That aside, this book is listed as a Juvenile fi
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Serena Valentino is best known for weaving tales that combine mythos and guile with her work on the comic book series GloomCookie and Nightmares & Fairy Tales, and her best selling Disney Villain Novels which have earned her critical acclaim for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening worlds filled with terror, beauty and extraordinary female protagonist ...more

Other books in the series

Villains (7 books)
  • Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen
  • The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince (Villains, #2)
  • Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch
  • Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy (Villains #4)
  • The Odd Sisters: A Tale of the Three Witches (Villains #6)
  • Evil Thing

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