FICTION

The Queen’s Council: Rebel Rose

Disney-Hyperion. (Queen’s Council: Bk. 1). Nov. 2020. 352p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781368048200.
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Gr 9 Up–Belle’s story continues where Beauty and the Beast left off, catching the peasant-turned-princess on the wrong side of the French Revolution. All memory of the curse has been erased except for those who lived it; outside the kingdom of Aveyon the prince’s 10-year absence is explained away as an illness. Now Belle and her new husband are traveling to Paris to see his cousin Bastien and revive Prince Lio’s relationship to King Louis. Lio heads to Versailles and Belle explores Paris—on what is about to be known as Bastille Day. Lured into a magical mirror shop, Belle is given a dire warning to save Aveyon and follow her heart before it’s too late. She flees right into the path of a growing mob and the violence that ushered in the French Revolution. Theriault’s writing is perfectly paced and the cast of characters developed with historical realism; fans of the movies will be satisfied by this evolution of a favorite Disney princess. Belle struggles with her change in station, especially in light of the French Revolution, and Lio struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder from his curse. The personal and national stakes of this novel root it in history but also within its backstory as a Disney classic. Side characters Marguerite and her brother are Black; the other characters are white.
VERDICT The French Revolution with a Disney twist, Theriault’s debut is rich in historical detail while answering the long-asked question, “What happens after happily ever after?” Recommended for general purchase.

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