REVIEW: ‘By the Book’ Is An Enchanting New ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Retelling

beauty and the beast

Disney is showing no signs of stopping when it comes to remakes, retellings, and live-action adaptations of its classics. After all, a new HerculesPinnochio, Snow White, Aristocats, and Little Mermaid are all on their way — and they were prefaced by one of the most-talked-about live-action adaptations: Beauty and the Beast, which came to theaters in 2018 and starred Emma Watson as Belle (as well as Dan Stevens, who played the Beast). Now another Beauty and the Beast adaptation has arrived — but this one suits the Disney princess Belle far more!

A new rom-com inspired by Belle and the Beast’s romance has just been released in May by author Jasmine Guillory. Jasmine Guillory is a rom-com author who has made a name for herself with books like The Proposal, The Wedding Party, The Wedding Date, Royal Holiday, and Party of Two. Like most authors, Jasmine Guillory has a distinct style — and her books’ vibrant covers are always eyecatching, despite being part of the rom-com genre that is now saturated with colorful animated book covers like hers!

by the book beauty and the beast retelling

‘By the Book’ is a Beauty and the Beast retelling by romantic comedy author Jasmine Guillory. It is also part of the Meant to Be series. Credit: D23

By the Book focuses on Isabelle, an editorial assistant at the Tale As Old As Time publishing house. Like the book that came before it in the Meant to Be series, this romcom keeps its references to the classic Beauty and the Beast romance from the 1991 Disney animated film Beauty and the Beast fairly subtle. Some readers might not even realize that the book is meant to be inspired by the Disney princess story!

Isabelle is struggling to find fulfillment in her publishing job at the Tale As Old As Time publishing house — until she meets the reclusive and rebellious young author named Beau Towers. When Isabelle volunteers to personally visit Los Angeles, California, and talk Beau Towers into finishing his manuscript for his memoir (partly in order to escape her own dissatisfaction with her office job in New York City), she soon finds Beau to be just as infuriating but alluring as Belle finds the Beast to be in the original Disney film!

Any fans of Jasmine Guillory will most likely find the novelist’s books to be funny, well-written romances — and this new addition is no different! The pacing and style in By the Book fit in perfectly with all of Guillory’s other rom coms. The book has more substance to it than the first book in the series of Disney retellings did, especially since a big plot point is Isabelle’s focus on her career, and Guillory has maintained her own style without making things fluffier to suit a Disney princess fairy tale.

Overall, fans of Jasmine Guillory will enjoy this book without necessarily paying much attention to its Disney inspiration. There is not much Disney magic to be found in By the Book, but there are plenty of romantic comedy tropes!

cinderella retelling if the shoe fits

If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy Credit: Goodreads

The first book in the Meant to Be series is If the Shoe Fits by Julie Murphy (which is a far more fluffy Cinderella retelling about a reality TV show), and the next book in the series has not yet been announced. According to Goodreads, “Meant to Be is a series featuring updated and contemporary takes on classic Disney princesses, and also the first Disney intellectual property to be developed as an adult publishing project.”

Are you going to add this new rom com to your summer reading list?

About Sharon

Sharon is a writer and animal lover from New England. Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.