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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast Hardcover – October 25, 1978
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This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beast elicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin.
The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator.
This was McKinley's first book, written almost 20 years ago. Since that time she has been awarded the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and has delighted her fans with another retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fable, Rose Daughter. Still, McKinley's first novel has a special place in the hearts of her devoted readers, many of whom attest to relishing Beauty time and again. (Ages 11 to Adult)
"A captivating novel."-- ALA "Booklist""A splendid story."-- "Publishers Weekly"
Top customer reviews
I loved the touches of whimsy (check out some of the titles in the library!) and the slow romance between Beauty and the Beast. The earlier sections did much to develop Beauty's character.
If you like the story of Beauty and the Beast, I think you'll fall in love with this book. If you like fantasy, this is a well-written one.
Beauty's life with the Beast is consistent with her character - she makes the best of her life wherever she finds herself.
As one would safely assume, it is pure fantasy abounding in magic, a beautiful girl, a beast/man, an enchanted palace and mysterious happenings on every page. As this telling is actually a full length novel, it contains a great deal more "story" than the shorter written versions that were read to me as a child, and that I later read to my children. The story is well told, the principal characters well defined and consistent; and even knowing the story and being quite certain of the ending, the author manages to maintain a certain amount of suspense. A great read if one enjoys fantasies, and I do.
Incidentally, 20 years after the publication of "Beauty", Ms McKinley wrote another book with this theme titled, "Rose Daughter"; I finished it today immediately following my reading of "Beauty". . .and I am now engaged in Ms McKinley's version of "Sleeping Beauty", which she calls "Spindle's End".
Rose Daughter (the other of her two retellings) suffers some pacing issues, and I found myself getting bored right where the action should have been picking up. Beauty, on the other hand, does not suffer this problem, and impetus to continue reading to find out what happens next is maintained well.
McKinley does a good job making the world fit together. I liked that you don't really have any solid idea of what time period this takes place. The story would fit well anywhere in a range of several hundred years.
I cannot praise this story enough, or do justice to the writer's style. This is one of those stories that you have to read to appreciate the art of storytelling by the author. I just wish some of her later books were as enjoyable as this one was.