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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (1978)

by Robin McKinley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Folktales (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,5851861,342 (4.14)3 / 319
Kind Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay and through her love releases him from the spell which had turned him from a handsome prince into an ugly beast.
  1. 132
    Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: A funny and fleshed-out take on Cinderella with a strong female protagonist. (And it's MUCH better than the movie)
  2. 100
    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (fyrefly98)
    fyrefly98: Another retelling of a classic fairy tale.
  3. 70
    East by Edith Pattou (foggidawn)
    foggidawn: Another excellent fairy tale retelling with a strong female character.
  4. 82
    Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: A later version of the same tale by the same author. Both excellent.
  5. 30
    Ice by Sarah Beth Durst (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: Ice is a re-telling of the Norse fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Especially at the beginning (in the castle), the description is just breath-taking and reminds me quite a bit of McKinley's Beauty.
  6. 52
    Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (notemily)
  7. 30
    Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson (Aerrin99)
    Aerrin99: An excellent fairy-tale retelling set in an India-like world.
  8. 20
    The Serpent's Shadow by Mercedes Lackey (kiri_wren)
    kiri_wren: If you like fairy tales, Lackey's Elemental Masters series gives the classics a fun twist -- historical fiction meets magic.
  9. 21
    Beastly by Alex Flinn (elliepotten)
  10. 10
    Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip (ncgraham)
    ncgraham: These books share a dark portrait of the woodlands, an intimate, loving family, and an air of unknown peril.
  11. 21
    Mira, Mirror by Mette Harrison (Bonzer)
  12. 10
    The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (infiniteletters)
    infiniteletters: A spin on the classic tale, with elemental magic and 19th-century San Francisco.
  13. 21
    Black Thorn, White Rose by Ellen Datlow (Larkken)
    Larkken: Both are modern re-tellings of fairy tales.
  14. 10
    The Shadow of the Bear: A Fairy Tale Retold by Regina Doman (LucyClements)
    LucyClements: Great re-telling of the fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red.
  15. 00
    The Beast's Heart: A Novel of Beauty and the Beast by Leife Shallcross (Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: Let's face it Beauty's tale has been done to death. This is a retelling from the Beast's view and, ironically, comes out of it more emancipated than in any other telling I have read.
  16. 12
    Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire (PatMock)

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Showing 1-5 of 184 (next | show all)
Frustrating pacing and a sudden ending, but the writing was wonderfully absorbing. ( )
  mjhunt | Jan 22, 2021 |
Honour is the youngest of three girls. Her mother died soon after the birth of a fourth daughter, as did the baby, when Honour was only a toddler. Her father is a very successful business man, and has built up wealth and status in the city. Honour herself feels that she doesn’t live up to her nickname of beauty, but that is what everyone has called her since she was five years old, so Beauty she remains. All seems to be going well with the family when disaster strikes. Three of her father’s ships & investments are lost, and they are forced to leave the city and set up home in the country. All three girls must learn to work hard if they are to get by, but none shirk their duty.

As they are settling in to their new home and new circumstances news arrives. A ship has made it back. Their father sets off to finish his business, but on his way back home he becomes lost in a storm. He finds safety in a strange, enchanted castle, but upon leaving its gates he sees a rose garden. Remembering his youngest daughter’s desire for some rose seeds he plucks one. Only for the enraged owner of the castle to accuse him if betraying his welcome. This beast threatens to kill the rose thief, but eventually relents saying that he may leave, provided he returns with his youngest daughter who must stay with the beast.

I’m guessing that I didn’t need to relate that to you, after all, pretty much every one is familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast. This version, published back in 1978 is an adaptation of that classic fairy tale. But you will find no squabbling sisters, or petty jealousies. All the girls are loving sisters and daughters. And there are no evil stepmothers. What a relief!

I enjoyed this book, but it felt a little uneven to me. Some aspects were almost too practical for the sudden magical elements in it. The enchanted castle and curse upon the Beast didn’t seem to fit with the start of the book at all.

A nice, enjoyable read, but not McKinley’s best. It was her first so that can be excused ( )
  Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
I honestly don't know when I first read this book. I was still at my childhood home so pre-1998. Still it has stayed with me and I love this book to pieces. This is my defining version of "Beauty and the Beast" and will always hold a special place for me.

The book, told in first person, begins by introducing Honour Huston, a self-conscious bookworm of a girl whose humor and wit draw the reader to her in much the same way a straight-forward stranger quickly becomes a friend. Within the first few pages you learn the names of her sisters, her home life, and just how her five-year-old "precocity" earned her the nickname of Beauty.

Having been familiar with another retelling, I was surprised to find her sisters selfless and kind. However, it does make the story more interesting. Within the first chapter we are brought up to speed on the love lives of Grace and Hope, her elder sisters. Thankfully the story gets these plot points out of the way rather quickly.

Beauty's account of the loss of their fortune and move to the country is told with conviction and strength. My favorite part by far was the moment when we meet Greatheart, Beauty's hand-raised horse. For a person who once named a yellow cat Sunny it was a very touching scene.

Beauty adapts with slight ease to life in the country, becoming one of the guys rather than the ugly duckling. The foreshadowing is obvious in some ways but still enjoyable. But by the end of part one the real story has begun.

Part two introduces us to the Beast, and the many marvels of his castle. My favorite of these is the library, full as it is with as yet unwritten books. The romance between Beauty and the Beast grows slowly as well it should. While we never learn the true name of the Beast we are still left with a most satisfying happily ever after. ( )
  AshleighDJCutler | May 12, 2020 |
This is a fairly basic retelling of Beauty and the Beast with some Disney touches thrown in. It's a pleasant read but doesn't really add anything new to the story. At least, it's short. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Dec 13, 2019 |
Beauty by Robin McKinley is an excellent retelling of the fairy story Beauty and the Beast. Beauty and the Beast was my favourite fairy story as a child and I totally fell in love with this story all over again. The author wisely sticks close to the known story but adds the most wonderful touches and embellishments along the way.

The main character is nicknamed Beauty, her real name is Honor and it’s her steadfast honor and decency that the author plays upon in this charming tale. Her love for the Beast grows slowly starting with friendship and then blossoming into love so we get the happy ending that we want.

I have had mixed reactions to this author’s books in the past, but this is a cozy and relaxing read. It was first published in 1978 and it stands the test of time. Beauty is a well told story that was a surprising treat to read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 28, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 184 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robin McKinleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Deas, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, BorisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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to my mother,
because it will be a long wait for Kilkerran;
and to both Mr. Rochesters, for aiding Mahomet to go to the mountain.
First words
I was the youngest of three daughters.
The sun shone through a window, then made its delicate, fawn-footed way across the broad inlaid floor, and found the Beast's blue velvet shoulders to set on fire.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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published in A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories
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Kind Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay and through her love releases him from the spell which had turned him from a handsome prince into an ugly beast.

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Average: (4.14)
1 12
1.5 2
2 49
2.5 17
3 249
3.5 73
4 528
4.5 68
5 651

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