“Cannot a Beast be tamed?”
Beauty, believing herself plain and awkward, loves roses. But when her father goes travelling and plucks just one magnificent, crimson rosebud from the garden of a magical castle, a fearsome Beast demands revenge. Either Beauty’s father must forfeit his life – or his daughter must promise to live with the Beast for ever.
A captivating retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast from a Newbery Medal-winning author.
Hunting through my shelves for the next book to read I came across a novel that has been on there for a year (or more). I actually remember starting this novel and then putting it down and starting something else. I now have no idea why I did such a thing! My mum gave me this book to read because I’m such a huge fan of Wicked and Gregory Maguire and a fan of fairy tales in general. Beauty and the Beast is also one of my all-time favourite Disney films (after the Lion King of course!).
The story starts off with not a lot in common with the original tale at all (which might be where I went wrong the first time I read it). Beauty lives with quite a well off family in the city and has a wonderful life. It’s when the family lose everything they own that they have to sell the house and move to a little village in the middle of nowhere that is on the outskirts of a magical forest. Here she lives a good life too but has to put up with certain changes such as working harder and losing her beloved library of books. Unlike in the original story, Beauty has some lovely sisters and a wholesome family. This makes it ultimately harder to choose to go to the Beast. Once the Beast appears the story is very similar to the original and just as captivating.
Once I’d got through the first few chapters I sped through this book. It’s a lot more realistic than the original story and Beauty is a character who is easy to relate to. Her growing up throughout the novel is something that is not as prominent in the original story or the Disney adaptation. This is what would make this book so popular to the young teenage girl audience and I wish I’d discovered it while I was still at high school. As it was though I adored this book and would recommend it to anybody else who loves their fairy tales.
After looking at the Robin McKinley website (here) I really want to read Sunshine and Pegasus so I will be hunting those two down!
Have you ever read a Robin McKinley novel? How do you feel about retellings of fairy tales?