Written By: Robin McKinley, Illustrated By: Michael Deas
This unique retelling of the classic fairytale, Beauty and the Beast, is about a girl by the name of Honor, nicknamed Beauty by her father and two older sisters. Beauty's family is originally very well off (a merchant family), but due to all of her father's goods and ships being lost in a storm, along with her sister's betrothed, her family is reduced to poverty and they are forced to sell everything they own in order to survive. When her other sister is proposed to, the rest of Beauty's family moves away with them to the new son-in-law's hometown, which is a several week journey away. A new house is set up for them and life is good. But then when Beauty's father gets lost in the forest that is rumored to be evily enchanted on the way home from a business trip. He miraculously finds his way to a castle...the beast's castle. After making good use of the beast's hospitality, Beauty's father attempts to cut a rose from the garden for Beauty's present. The beast catches him, enraged and threatens to kill him because he has taken advantage of his hospitality. He consents to spare the father's life if he will bring the beast one of his daughters to live there. The father finally has to agree and then makes his way home. After he arrives home, he tells his family of his chilling tale and what must happen in a month's time.
As most of you can already guess, Beauty goes with her father and the rest of the story is about Beauty's adventures in the castle, the miraculous happenstance of her father's fortune being restored and her sister's betrothed returning from sea when all thought he was dead. The end of the story comes about when the curse on the beast is broken and all of the family shows up at the castle for a huge wedding.
Who would benefit from reading this book?
I think that anyone who loves a good retelling of classic fairytales will enjoy or even love this book. It has a unique twist on a favorite classic fairytale that enables the reader to be privy to other possibilities in a fantasy world.
What are some potential problems you see this book causing?
Quite frankly, I do not forsee any problems arising from reading this book.
What was your reaction?
I absolutely was pleasantly surprised with this book. I have already read several retellings of fairytales by different authors, which I have loved, so I was eager to get started on this one. It was refreshing to read a re-telling of the story that I wasn't familiar with.