I wrote a few months ago about a writing retreat I attended, and the joint novella I worked on with a few other authors, retelling Beauty and the Beast. Well, I recently finished the latest draft of Book Two of my Phantom trilogy, which calls for some form of celebration, I expect. 🙂 I sent it off to beta-readers for feedback, and turned back to novella revisions.
I wrote three chapters for the story, two from the point of view of a certain Good Fairy, and one from the point of the view of the Beast’s librarian. The last excerpt I shared was from the fairy’s perspective, so today I’m sharing one from the librarian, Hugo Livre. We set the tale in France (as traditional Beauty and the Beast tales are) so I named my librarian after Victor Hugo. The other French writer I might have chosen to reference just wouldn’t have worked…because you can’t put a character named Gaston (Leroux) into a Beauty and the Beast story!
Our novella explores the possibility that the Beast’s true love was not the first potential love interest to arrive at the castle. Hugo, who under the enchantment is trapped within a portrait in the library, here narrates encountering the first girl to arrive.
“Ooh, a library!” a very, very loud and rather high-pitched voice exclaimed. And there stood the girl from the lawn, the girl who had come to the castle and was our best hope for breaking this terrible curse. I’d forgive her the loud voice, the bright pink dress that clashed with her hair, everything, if she broke the curse. And maybe that exclamation had meant she was excited about a library…that would help.
“This is my favorite room,” His Highness said hesitantly. Odd to say, I had hardly noticed him standing next to her (and as I said, you never don’t notice His Highness, before or since he was a Beast). He seemed sort of…hunched in, and I had not often heard him hesitate. Or heard him say he was fond of the library. I had always flattered myself that I had gone to great lengths to encourage him in.
Meanwhile the girl was staring at him, then suddenly went into a peal of laughter that seemed to echo around the tower, rebounding and reverberating and knocking me back into the armchair in my painting. “Oh, you’re so funny!” she squealed. “As if anyone’s favorite room could be a library. Books are so boring.”
If I had thought to introduce myself, I was shocked instead into silence. What sacrilege was this, spoken within the very walls of the library?