Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch” as Want to Read:
Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch

(Villains #5)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,387 ratings  ·  217 reviews
The tale of the legendary golden flower is widely known. The story has been told many times and in many ways. But always the flower is coveted by an old witch to keep herself young and beautiful. And always the flower is used to save a dying queen, who then gives birth to a princess with magical hair. Not willing to lose the flower, the old witch steals the princess and lo ...more
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published August 2018 by Disney Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,387 ratings  ·  217 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Jillian Reynolds (Jillian Loves Books)


Totally cool with bringing out my inner Disney fangirl right now.
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: disney
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
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
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.
Dena (Batch of Books)
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
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
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
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!
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 Coffin
"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
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.
Small Review
These books are crazy, but there's something about them that keeps me reading them...Full review to come.
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
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
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

Fairy Tale Retellings is my favourite genre by far. I've never read one about Rapunzel before so Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch ought to have been a real treat. It wasn't. Although the story itself is interesting enough, the characterisation and omniscient narration destroys it. Every single character whose POV is being used should be well rounded. Valentino's characters aren't. We miss years of time and only vaguely get to know Gothel as we're too busy being distracted by the perspe
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Okay, I'm guessing anyone interested in reading this is a fan of Disney and would have a biased opinion anyway on the books.
That being said, Tangled is my favorite Disney princess, so I'm a little extra biased here.
I loved the story; read it in 2 days. I just really enjoy reading Disney movies I love from a different perspective.
Mar 16, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. I really enjoyed this right up until the Valentino began trying to integrate her tale with the previous works in this series and the Disney movie. The story of the Queen of the Dead, her lands, and her sisters was a fascinating one, and I’d have liked to have seen what she could have done with it without these constraints.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Finished in one day, absolutely loved it. The covers of this series are so beautiful, so yes, it's worth waiting for the paperbacks 😆😍

And now I'll have the song stuck in my head for an entire week 🎶😋
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.
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book. The story was well written and added an extra twisted tale to Tangled x
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".
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!!!
I loved this book!! Great story!!
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I had never heard majority of this story except for the rapunzel part, but it was still an interesting back story.
Olga Levin
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Serena Valentino doesn’t disappoint! Another fun book with great storytelling!
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is so crazy to see a movie and think that you would never feel bad for the villain. Then you read a book like this. Now all I can think is, "Poor Gothel!"

The book had a great flow. I loved hearing Gothel's side of the story.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This volume from the villain stories series tells the early life of Gothel, before she kidnaps little Rapunzel.

Gothel grew up with her two sisters, Hazel & Primrose, in the Deadwood Forrest. Their mother was Queen of the Dead & the latest in a long line of witches tasked with ruling over these woods. They also have the Rapunzel flower to look after, and yes that is where the flower from the movie comes in.

The three sisters just want to be with each other forever, however, their mother
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Part of Your World (Twisted Tales, #5)
  • Mirror, Mirror (Twisted Tales, #6)
  • Reflection (Twisted Tales, #4)
  • The Quotable Walt Disney
  • Oz, the Complete Collection, Volume 3: The Patchwork Girl of Oz; Tik-Tok of Oz; The Scarecrow of Oz
  • Rude Buay ... the Unstoppable
  • Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered
  • A Grimm Legacy (Grimm Tales #1)
  • The Fearsome Foursome (Tales from the Haunted Mansion #1)
  • The Wikkeling
  • Out of the Ashes
  • Walt Disney World (Little-Known Facts about Well-Known Places)
  • Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Library: A Collection of Literary Quotes and Inspirational Musings
  • Everything I Need to Know I Learned From a Disney Little Golden Book (Disney)
  • Red's Untold Tale (Once Upon A Time, #4)
  • We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices
  • I'm Not Cinderella
  • Please Do Not Feed the Weirdo (Goosebumps SlappyWorld, #4)
See similar books…
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 protago ...more

Other books in the series

Villains (6 books)
  • Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen
  • The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince
  • Poor Unfortunate Soul: A Tale of the Sea Witch
  • Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy (Villains, Book 4)
  • The Odd Sisters: A Villains Novel
“We will be different people after tonight. Different versions of ourselves.” 1 likes
“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.” 0 likes
More quotes…