October 20, 2006
Beauty: a Retelling of Beauty and the Beast
By Robin McKinley
Rating: 4 1/2 stars
Reviewed by Noelle
"Beauty" is the nickname of the youngest daughter of a succesful merchant. Unlike her beautiful sisters, Beauty is more plain and tomboyish, perferring to spend time around horses and books. Life is good until her father loses all his money when his ships are lost at sea. Her sister's beau appears and offers the family a life together out in the country, where he can make a living as a blacksmith. The family accepts, and slowly settle into their new, harsher life. But on his trip back from the city, Beauty's father is lost in the woods during a snowstorm and ends up being waited upon by invisible servants in a mysterious castle. On his way out the next day, he plucks a single rose from a hedge and immediately a Beast appears. The Beast tells the father that he must return with one of his daughters in one month or suffer the consequences. Once he arrives home, the father confesses what happened and Beauty is moved to offer herself up as the Beast's captive. Those familiar with the fairy tale know the basics of what is going to happen in this version of the story, but it is pure pleasure to read about Beauty's struggles with her new life and with learning to love the Beast. The author does a great job filling in the web of magic that surrounds the castle and its Beast, and Beauty is a worthy heroine for this tale. If you like Beauty, you may also enjoy many of Robin McKinley's other books. Check out this website for more on her books.