“To most townsfolk, he’s known simply as The Beast. Annabelle Beiler has little interest in gossip, but she’s heard about Adam Herschberger’s scars and his gruff, solitary ways. Though he sounds like a character from one of Belle’s treasured books, the man is real and, it turns out, just as unreasonable as the rumors claim. When a buggy accident wipes out the last of her daed’s money, forcing him to sell their farm, Adam buys it. Then he offers Belle a deal–marry him, and her family can keep their home.
Everyone is shocked by Belle’s decision, but she’s determined to be a good fraa, cleaning Adam’s rundown house and tending the overgrown garden. Breaking through her new husband’s icy reserve will be another matter. Belle’s courage and strength are abundant, but it will take true faith to guide Adam back to the heart of his Amish community–and to the loving marriage they both deserve.” -Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, by Sarah Price.
I’ve never read Amish fiction before. There, I’ve said it. Now, you probably hadn’t assumed that I had, so there’s no harm and no foul. I decided to try Belle: An Amish Retelling of Beauty and the Beast partially because I’m a sucker for fairy tale retellings, and partially because the book sounded really good. One has to be pretty creative to retell fairy tales properly, and one has to be a good writer to convince their readers that this takes place in a community outside of the original fairy tale, all the while showing that this really is based on said fairy tale.
Sounds complicated, right? Well, it is! We readers never think about how much effort an author has to put in to make a story convincing, the setting realistic, and the character’s likable. Fortunately, Price does all of these things. (This would have been an awkward introduction if she didn’t!).
Reading about Belle, in her community of Echo Creek, I fell in love with the characters. Belle is hardworking, well-read, humble, and from the start she sticks up for Adam, who everyone has labeled a beast. Adam is gruff, but generally a lovable character, which I think it hard to balance. It was really fun to see glimpses of other fairy tale characters in the book as well! Ella is Belle’s best friend, and it didn’t take much to guess that she was Cinderella (and she has her own book! It’s been added to my TBR pile). It took me a little longer to guess that their other friend, Sadie, was Snow White (also has her own book, Sarah Price FTW!). I guess if I had searched Sarah Price’s books I would have known sooner, but it was more fun to guess.
There’s also a fun cameo of John Grimm and his two children, Hannah and Gideon. I mean, how cute is that? Maybe a retelling of Hansel and Gretel is in our future!
Rating: 5 out of 5
Why: The love story between Belle and Adam is awesome. I actually teared up towards the end (twice). Price gives us a wonderful scene where Adam finally lowers his walls and talks to Belle about his insecurities. Who doesn’t love it when the tough, angry character finally shows why they’re hurting? Belle and Adam are a little awkward, and it’s all very realistic and sweet. I’m looking forward to reading more of Price’s books, and I wish that Ella and Sadie were on audio, but I may just have to start carving out time to actually sit down and read (poor, poor me!). Belle was a sweet, classic read and I’m definitely recommending this book to everyone!
Wishing you all a glorious day, Storm