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Rose Daughter Hardcover – September 16, 1997

3.8 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up. Gertrude Stein's famous quote, "Rose is a rose is a rose...," is dispelled by McKinley in her second novelization of the tale "Beauty and the Beast." (Beauty was her first novel, published 20 years ago.) Both books have the same plot and elements; what is different is the complexity of matured writing and the patina of emotional experience. Here, she has embellished and embodied the whys, whos, and hows of the magic forces at work. The telling is layered like rose petals with subtleties, sensory descriptions, and shadow imagery. Every detail holds significance, including the character names: her sisters, Jeweltongue and Lionheart; the villagers, Miss Trueword, Mrs. Bestcloth, and Mrs. Words-Without-End. Mannerisms of language and intricacies of writing style are key in this exposition. The convoluted sentences often ramble like a rose and occasionally prick at the smoothness of the pace. Word choices such as feculence, sororal sedition, numen, ensorcell, and simulacrum will command readers' attention. McKinley is at home in a world where magic is a mainstay and, with her passion for roses, she's grafted a fully dimensional espalier that is a tangled, thorny web of love, loyalty, and storytelling sorcery. Fullest appreciation of Rose Daughter may be at an adult level.?Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6^-12. Almost 20 years after her well-received, award-winning Beauty (1978), McKinley reexplores and reexpands on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. This is not a sequel, but a new novelization that is fuller bodied, with richer characterizations and a more mystical, darker edge. Although the Library of Congress catalogs it in the 398s, the book really belongs on the fiction shelves alongside Beauty. The familiar plot is here, but the slant is quite different, though Beauty's sisters are once again loving rather than hostile as in de Beaumont's original version. A few scenes are reminiscent of Beauty. For example, in the dining room scenes in the castle, Beauty eats but the Beast merely is present: "I am a Beast; I cannot eat like a man." In Rose Daughter, Beauty has an affinity for flower gardening, particularly roses, because of her memories of her deceased mother; it is a talent that serves her in good stead as she nurtures the Beast's dying rose garden. Also, in some nicely done foreshadowing, Beauty suffers from recurring dreams of a long, dark corridor and something--a monster?--waiting for her at the end. Rose Cottage, where Beauty and her family settle after the father's financial downfall, and the nearby town and its residents, as well as the opulence of the Beast's castle and the devastation of his rose garden, are vividly depicted. Among the fantasy elements are a prescient cat, the spirit of the greenwitch who willed Rose Cottage to Beauty's family, unicorns, and preternatural Guardians. There is more background on the Beast in this version, allowing readers to see how he came to be bewitched, and Beauty's choice at the end, a departure from that in Beauty, is just so right. Readers will be enchanted, in the best sense of the word. Sally Estes

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1st edition (September 16, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688154395
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688154394
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. F. Lucas on January 3, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When _Rose Daughter_ came out, I was surprised. I read _Beauty_ when I was ten or eleven and loved it, and I wasn't sure how differently the same person could tell that story.

McKinley did an amazing job of it. First of all, you should know that _Rose Daughter_ is not a short book, or a quick book. If you're looking for a quick, light read for a younger reader, _Beauty_ remains a good choice--it's more interesting than the standard version by far, and it tends to stick with you.

It's not that she changes the story in this newer version--it's that she gives it a setting, and that the people have far, far more depth. The characters are clearly totally different people from their counterparts in _Beauty_, and the world is different, and it all progresses differently. (The ending, too, seems like she took seriously the joke we all made after watching Disney's final, slightly awkward, transformation--that he looked better as the Beast.) McKinley gives herself more room to maneuver in this version--rightly feeling that she's already told the story the simple way once. Don't get me wrong--it's not like she took the story and changed it, and that's what makes it interesting. The actual differences in simple plot are mostly unimportant. The famous story is more than a theme here. But it's like she looked at what might have really happened, had Beauty and the Beast really happened, to actual people--just in a different sort of world from ours.

The words are beautiful; the imagery is amazingly detailed yet concise (here we see the full benefit of McKinley's practice as a children's writer). The characters are people, whom you'd like to meet (or not, where appropriate).
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank goodness for Robin McKinley, who writes stories for those of us who grew up loving fairy tales (but who also found ourselves wishing for stronger heroines or more interesting resolutions).

I'd somehow missed "Rose Daughter," although I'm a fan of all of McKinley's books (and "Sunshine" and "the Hero and the Crown" are books I'd grab if my house was burning down. They're that wonderful). However, I had read her telling of "Beauty" years ago and loved it.

Yet I was pleasantly surprised to find that I loved "Rose Daughter" even more. The two sisters to the protagonist are as fascinating, brave, and interesting in their own rights as she is, and the heroine is intelligent, courageous, and quietly extroardinary.

My favorite aspects of this novel, though, were twofold: The roses, and the Beast. I'm not a plant person -- I look at a plant, and it promptly lets out a little sigh and falls over dead. But this book made me feel a little of what it must be like to be a gardener. I've never read anyone who writes about roses the way McKinley does here. They come alive on the page.

And then there is the Beast, who is just as beastly as ever, but who is also brilliant, fascinating, and well, by the end, weirdly attractive. By the end we are able to see the Beast's beauty for ourselves, without easy resolutions or big Disney moments, and that's the most extroardinary thing of all about this telling.

A beautiful, haunting book, and easily appropriate for readers 13 and up -- don't miss.
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By A Customer on April 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Okay, I read all the customer reviews about "Rose Daughter." As a lot of them were pretty negative with a lot of stuff to back it up, I prepared to read the book with my most discerning mindset. McKinely had done "Beauty" and I was sure that was all she could get out of the Beauty and the Beast story. I was surprised. "Rose Daughter" is absolutely beautiful. The story is done in a fantasy style, with rich, vivid descriptions and word usage. It is so hard to find writing like that anymore. It makes a novel so much more artsy and absorbing. The book has a darker side, and is almost a mystery, in a certain sense. There are spells, sorcerers, simularcums, stuff that "Beauty" didn't have. Don't get me wrong, "Beauty" is fantastic, and not worse than "Rose Daughter." But the two books have so many differences that they just can't be compared. The ending, to say the least, wasn't quite what I expected, but nonetheless, I enjoyed it. =D I probably wouldn't have done what Beauty did, but then again, I have a twisted sense of morals. Hehe. Anyway, I don't see why so many didn't
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Beauty" was one of the first fantasy books I ever read, and remains my favorite to this day. I anticipated "Rose Daughter" eagerly, hoping for a retelling that would flesh out the characters and the setting while retaining the soul-deep appeal of the Beauty character and the supporting cast. Although McKinley dedicates more words to the world of these characters, she has reduced Beauty from a powerful, wonderful, sensitive, strong character to something of a simp, someone who lacks a backbone and any strong-mindedness. Instead of determining the course of her life and fighting for herself, as she does in "Beauty," she really just goes with the flow, exhibiting very little spunk, or indeed, energy. She seems to be more of a context for the story than an actual character. Her interest in gardening is wonderful, but that is the ONLY dimension to her character here. At least the original Beauty was capable of having a bit of fun...
Otherwise, McKinley's language and writing is beautiful, as expected, and the supporting cast is OK, if neglected. The castle is wonderfully drawn (the rooftop painting by the Beast is especially appealing), though the march of wildlife back to the castle became a bit predictable. All in all, I'd advise fans of this particular story (Beauty and the Beast) to read this book for the sake of a different perspective. All McKinley fans, fairy-tale fans and readers in general should stick to the original.
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