14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
A beauty of a book,
This review is from: Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (Paperback)
I strongly suspect that when the folks at Disney decided to make the "Beauty and the Beast" story into an animated film, they used this book as their template. McKinley's Beauty (real name Honour) is much like Belle in her love of books and horses, though much plainer in appearance and without the nuisance of a Gaston character.
Rarely is an author's first novel so worthy of praise. Her later novel "Rose Daughter," another retelling of the same fairy tale, is excellent but not, in my opinion, quite as endearing. Beauty is the youngest, smartest, and least attractive daughter of a successful widowed merchant. When her father's business falls on hard times, the family relocates to a village near an enchanted forest and spends the next few years embracing their newfound poverty. A trip back to the city from which they hail results in Father getting lost in the enchanted forest, where he encounters the Beast and is forced into a terrible bargain: the Beast will spare his life, if one of his daughters will come and live as the Beast's companion.
Beauty, arguably her father's favorite child, insists on being the expendable daughter and takes up residence in the Beast's magical castle. Over the course of months she befriends the curious creature, who fosters her love of books and slowly wins her confidence. But when Beauty makes a discovery that will vastly change the life of her eldest sister Grace, the Beast grants her a week at home...where she must finally come to terms with her true feelings for him, before her absence destroys him completely.