Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fantastic Fairytales - Beauty by Robin McKinley

Published: January 1978
Publisher: Harper Collins (Harper & Row)
Pages: 247
Copy: My own
Summary: Goodreads
 
"Like all of the other doors I had met in the castle, this one opened at my approach. The room it revealed was a large, warm, and gracious one. On one wall to my left a first was burning in a fireplace; two armchairs were drawn up before it. One chair was empty. In the other a massive shadow sat. I caught a gleam of dark-green velvet on what might have been a knee in the shadowed armchair.


"'Good evening, Beauty,' said a great harsh voice."


A young woman, well educated and honourable, accepts responsibility for her father's act and leaves her family to enter the enchanted world of castle and Beast. The Beast she finds is not the one she imagined, but can she stay with him?


A gifted storyteller embellishes the classic tale, developing a new and very real world of her own in a love story that has all the wonder and magic of the fairy tale

Robin McKinley's 'Beauty: A retellling of the story of Beauty & the Beast', is yet another exellent entry in the crack'd fairy tale listings, and her first novel. Originally published in 1978,  it has been around for a while, and I'm sure many teens are not aware of this version of the story.

'Beauty' is a wonderful retelling  that keeps a lot of the gothic/historical feel that was in the original. Beauty is one of three sisters and volunteers, albeit reluctantly, to go to the beast's castle instead of her father.  When she gets to the castle, she meets Beast and slowly comes to understand him.  The castle is full of magic, with ordinary things appearing and disappearing rather disconcertingly.  Inevitably, Beauty begins to care for the beast, of course, but the fact that we know what is going to happen does not retract from the beauty of the story (pardon the pun!)

If you haven't come across this version of Beauty and the Beast yet, try and find one.  It's great.

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