It’s a tale as old as time — or at least as old as Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve first printing of it in 1740 — and one fairy tale lovers are quick to recognize. A selfless and bookish young woman saves her father and falls in love with a cursed beast. Well, that’s the Disneyfied version, anyway. But as with any beloved fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast retellings have been popular throughout the years, from full-on fantasy adventures to modern-day romances. And book lovers just can’t get enough.
It’s not hard to guess why book lovers would flock around a story about a bookish girl being a heroine. And it’s equally easy to see why fans of romance would love a story about a woman saving a cursed man. But from its first inception to its many reimaginings — including some truly questionable film and TV adaptations — the story has morphed and changed in ways its original author likely never could’ve imagined. These days, Beauty is taking control of her own narrative and the beast isn’t always quite so beastly in the traditional ways.
And whether your love of the classic story comes from the original or the animated Disney film, these Beauty and the Beast retellings are going to satisfy all your desires to go on a bookish adventure and tame the beast.
Young Adult Fantasy
A Curse of Salt by Sarah Street
The cover might have you thinking this book is more suited for a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but make no mistake: this book is a Beauty and the Best retelling through and through. In order to save her sisters from a terrible fate, Ria agrees to turn herself over to the heartless pirate king in exchange for her father after his ship is raided by mercenaries. But despite rumors that the Heartless King is a monster, he is just a man, cursed and bound to the sea. And as Ria’s feelings for him grow, she becomes wrapped up in a centuries-old web of curses and lies.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
A prince cursed to repeat the autumn of his 18th year and turned into a monster and a girl trying to prove she’s more than just her cerebral palsy are thrown together when she is pulled from the streets of Washington D.C. into a magical world. Here, curses and monsters exist. And for the first time in a long time, Prince Rhen feels hope that someone might be able to look beyond his monstrous appearance and actions. But breaking the curse might not be enough to save Harper, Rhen, and a kingdom on the brink of utter ruin.
Stalking Shadows by Cyla Panin
The love between two sisters takes center stage in this Beauty and the Beast retelling. Marie would do anything to protect her sister — including mixing scents her sister recognizes into the perfumes she sells so that she controls the victims of Ama’s attacks. With this method, they can keep damage and suspicion at bay. But when a young boy is found dead one morning, Marie knows Ama’s beastly appetites are getting worse. And the only way to help is to return to the source of the curse: a mansion full of dark secrets that affect not only Ama, but also Marie herself.
In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard
A woman sold into indenture to a dragon to pay off her town’s debts finds herself in a situation she never could’ve imagined. She’s terrified of incurring the wrath of the Vu Côn, expecting to be tortured to death by one of the last living dragons. Instead, she’s asked to tutor the dragon’s children. Locked away in a prison of a palace where every door hides some new danger, Yên finds herself sympathizing with her captor. And soon, she can’t help but feel her own happiness might actually be found by Vu Côn side.
Briarley by Aster Glenn Gray
In this WWII-era retelling of Beauty and the Beast, a country parson taking refuge at a manor during a rainstorm plucks finds an empty house filled with sumptuous food — more than he’s seen since before the war. He flees, stopping only to pluck a single rose for his daughter — and finds himself face-to-face with the fire-breathing master of the house. Instead of sacrificing his daughter to this beast’s mercy, Edward chooses to stay himself. And soon, he begins to see just how lonely it must be for Briarley to live out a cursed life.
Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher
A house full of dark enchantments. A girl struggling to keep her parentless sisters afloat. A beast who may or may not be a prisoner alongside her. In this Beauty and Beast retelling from the author of Nettle and Bone, a girl named Bryony makes a simple mistake that changes the course of her life forever. Now, she’s just as trapped here as the beast who lives in the seemingly abandoned manor alongside her. They’re both prisoners in this supernatural house, but perhaps together it will be an easier fate to weather.
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
A princess decides to get involved in a centuries-old family feud when she finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as the scion of her family’s arch nemeses. All she has to do is make him fall in love with her and then break his heart. His Lordship Grey Emerson has no interest in love or Jaya — at least, at first. He knows all too well he’s cursed once he turns 18, and it’s soured him on the world. But something about Jaya won’t allow him to ignore her. And the more Jaya gets to know Emerson, the more she wonders if she really wants to break his heart at all. But with a curse and a family feud standing in their way, will they ever be able to find their way to happily ever after?
Bookish and the Beast by Ashley Poston
In the follow-up to Geekerella and The Princess and the Fangirl, Hollywood royalty Vance Reigns is forced to move to a small town to get away from bad press when a scandal catches up with him. Rosie Thorne feels stuck in her small town, but when she accidentally destroys a rare book belonging to the new celebrity in town, she feels compelled to work off the debt. It might sound like a dream to be in close proximity to an honest-to-God star, but Vance is a jerk. Rosie wants nothing more than to be done with him. But as they get to know each other and their carefully constructed masks finally begin to crumble, it seems like Rosie and Vance might have a bit more in common than they thought.
By the Book by Jasmine Guillory
Overworked editorial assistant Isabelle wants to finally make some moves in her career, so she decided to take on a recalcitrant author late on deadline. All she has to do is visit his Santa Barbara mansion and pep talk him into finally turning in his overdue manuscript. Should be a breeze. But Beau isn’t just some headstrong, reluctant writer. In fact, he seems just as lost as Izzy feels. And as they work together to get his writing back on track, they start to feel things neither of them ever could’ve imagined.
Bootie and the Beast by Falguni Kothari
When a scandal threatens to tank a jet-setting supermodel’s career, her former fiancé and friend, Krish, offers her safe haven at his Dallas home. He may be known as “the Beast” for his snappish attitude and love of control, but he’s always been there to protect Diya when she needs it most. And now, he’s hiding something. Their relationship seems off. And when Diya presses for answers, it changes their relationship forever.
A Thorn in the Saddle by Rebekah Weatherspoon
In this modern take on Beauty and the Beast set on a luxury dude ranch, a hot-headed cowboy decides to run for Senate. There’s just one problem: his people skills are sorely lacking. Enter former tech consultant Lily-Grace Leroux. She’s tired of temperamental men — especially one Jesse Pleasant, who’s dead set on keeping her widowed father from dating his grandmother. But when she sees just how hopeless his social skills are at a community date auction, she decides she has to help him if he wants even the smallest shot of being elected into office. And as she gets to know his softer side, it slowly becomes clear he wasn’t the man she thought he was at all.
Retellings of old favorites never go out of style, whether you love Beauty and the Beast retellings or new takes on Cinderella. Recommending great books is what we do at Book Riot, but if you’re looking for a more personalized touch — maybe even new versions of your favorite fairy tales or childhood reads — TBR is just what you need.
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And check out these other great Beauty and the Beast inspired reading lists while you’re at it: