Romance Retellings: Beauties and Beasts

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Bookish women of a certain age likely have a special place in their heart for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Okay, maybe not all of us, but there is definitely a good amount of women who came of age with Belle, a new kind of Disney heroine in the early 1990s: she didn’t care about the dumb jock, whether he was pretty or not; she just wanted to read. And read. And read some more. And maybe have some adventures. We were here for it.  

Or maybe a bookish or non bookish person of a similar or different age has connection to a different Beauty and a different Beast: Catherine and Vincent, or La Belle et Le Bete. But we can say that when it comes to that kind of story, we want more and more of the same. The story is one that continues to be told, whether it’s a retelling of the original Perrault fairy tale, or a reinvisioning of the Disney story with a twist, like the most recent As Old As Time, which asks “what if Belle’s mother cursed the Beast”?

But there’s one genre of writing that just can’t walk away from the trope of the beautiful woman (or man, or other) who somehow influences both the internal and external beauty of the person who loves them: Romance. And I’ve got a few favorites for you (though there are literally hundreds of romance novels that feature different twists on the familiar trope).

when beauty tamed the beastWhen Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

Lord of the Abyss  by Nalini Singh

Beauty Dates the Beast by Jessica Sims

Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

The Bride and the Beast by Teresa Medeiros

Loving the Beast by Naima Simone

Beauty and the Billionaire by Jessica Clare

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Beast by Pepper Pace

How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray

Beau and the Beast by Rick R. Reed

Beast by Asha King

Bollywood and the Beast by Suleikha Snyder

Want more Beauty and the Beast? Check out Maddie Rodriguez’s Genre Kryptonite from last year, which also has lots of helpful comments. There are so many lists on Goodreads I’m just going to link you to the list of lists. There’s always some new Beauty and the Beast story to discover, so let your cursor be your guide. And revisit the “original” always. We’ve been singing along for 25 years; no reason to stop now!