Being thin and awkward, Beauty hardly lives up to her nickname, especially when compared to her two exceptional sisters. But she is happy in her life--living with her sisters and father in their small cottage--until the day her father returns and tells them of his unfortunate journey and the promise that will take Beauty away from her family to live in an enchanted caste with a terrifying monster.
This retelling of the classic, French fairy tale is like no other. The story is filled with details and plot that have never been explored and work together to make the tale more realistic and engaging. Add to that a heroine who isn’t classically beautiful, but lets her inner beauty shine through her courage and compassion, and you have an amazing fantasy novel that stands apart from the original telling.
When I read this book I became so swept up in the story that I forgot it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast until I reached the end! The characters are incredibly engaging and the events of the book are detailed and rich without becoming dull and plodding. Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors; she has mastered the art of retold classics and has created her own stunning fairy tales. Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and theBeast was her first novel and it does not disappoint! McKinley shows a quality and talent for writing like few else have.
If you love Beauty, try Robin McKinley’s Spindle’s End (a retelling of Sleeping Beauty). Or if you want something new, try Shadows, an original novel also by Robin McKinley, about an alternate world where magic is outlawed. These great titles and more are available at the Virginia Beach Public Library.