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Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time — making it perfect fodder for reinvention in a romance novel.

The grumpy-sunshine dynamic of Belle and the Beast is a fundamental trope of the romance genre, and it's understandable why the story of a gruff, misunderstood man and a quirky, bookish girl who sees beneath his rough exterior would appeal to readers.

Not to mention the various iterations of the story — from the original fairy tale to the 1991 animated Disney classic, to the 2017 live-action musical film — present authors with any number of fun plot points to put their own spin on, from enchanted furniture to withering roses and boorish villains.

The Disney film is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a special blended live-action and animation special this fall, but first, here are five great romances inspired by the love story to get lost in.

A Thorn in the Saddle (Cowboys of California) Paperback – October 26, 2021 by Rebekah Weatherspoon
Credit: Dafina

A Thorn in the Saddle by Rebekah Weatherspoon

The third of Rebekah Weatherspoon's Cowboys of California fairy-tale re-tellings, A Thorn in the Saddle follows misunderstood, brutish Jesse Pleasant as he explores running for Senate. When the rancher faces off against Lily-Grace Leroux over her widowed father dating his grandmother, sparks fly — but she sees his softer side at a community date auction and agrees to help him become more comfortable with public speaking. But once Lily-Grace sees past that gruff exterior, which he has partly built to protect himself, she realizes that every rose has its thorn. Weatherspoon's writing is sweet and sexy in equal measure, and its ranch setting makes it the perfect entry for readers yearning for adventure in the great wide somewhere.

The Duchess Deal: Girl Meets Duke Hardcover – August 22, 2017 by Tessa Dare
Credit: Avon

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

One of the funniest and most charming of historical romance authors writing today, Tessa Dare's novels are practically tailor-made for Disney princesses. She takes that to its logical endpoint with The Duchess Deal. When seamstress Emma Gladstone shows up on the Duke of Ashbury's doorstep in a wedding dress, he realizes he has the perfect solution to his quest for an heir. They'll marry and be husband and wife by night only. But once Emma sees beneath his glower and his battle scars, he can't stop her from falling in love with him. Complete with a drool-worthy library and a droll butler, Dare offers up her take on the fairy-tale that celebrates the delights of discovering something that wasn't there before.

By the Book (A Meant To Be Novel): A Meant to be Novel Paperback – May 3, 2022 by Jasmine Guillory
Credit: Hyperion Avenue

By the Book by Jasmine Guillory

As part of the Meant to Be series, By the Book is a direct re-telling put forth by Disney Publishing, making it the novel that is true as it can be on this list. The second in the series, has bestselling author Jasmine Guillory to put her own spin on the tale. Isabelle is feeling completely lost in her publishing career, but she thinks she might finally have a chance to prove herself by traveling to an author's Santa Barbara mansion and getting him to deliver the manuscript he's exceedingly overdue on. But when Izzy meets Beau Towers, she realizes her work is cut out for her — until their work relationship leads to a fruitful collaboration and a spark of something more. 

When Beauty Tamed The Beast: Number 2 in series (Happy Ever After) by James, Eloisa
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When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James

Long a queen of Regency romance, Eloisa James turned her delightfully witty pen to fairy-tales in this Happily Ever After series. When the beautiful Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is betrothed to the beastly Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, she's convinced she can get the notoriously bad-tempered Earl to fall in love with her in two weeks. But she doesn't realize the danger Piers poses to her own heart. Piers is a doctor and James admittedly based his misanthropic approach to life and terrible bedside manner on television's Dr. House (Hugh Laurie). It's an interesting mash-up of pop culture references, proving that when it comes to putting one's own spin on a story, authors can be our guest and have their way with the source material.

Loving the Beast (Breathlessly Ever After #1) by Naima Simone
Credit: Breathless Press

Loving the Beast by Naima Simone

Naima Simone's reimagining is steamier than Cogsworth when he's mad. When Gwendolyn Sinclair desperately needs funds to keep a neighborhood community center open, she makes a terrible bargain — she will submit her body to the wealthy Xavier St. James, childhood friend and brother of her late fiance, and he will provide the money she needs. Scarred from an accident, Xavier is lonely and bitter — and eager to seize the chance to get the only woman he's ever wanted in his bed. Simone writes scorching hot love stories, and this is no exception. It's a redux so dirty it provides all sorts of scintillating answers to the question: who could ever learn to love a beast?

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