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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story Beauty & the Beast
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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story Beauty & the Beast (Folktales)

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  59,169 Ratings  ·  4,148 Reviews
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?
Published June 30th 1993 by Perfection Learning (first published October 25th 1978)
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Joanne Harris Authors, even old ones, tend to be interested in people. That's why they write about them. Unless they've (a) been locked away for decades without…moreAuthors, even old ones, tend to be interested in people. That's why they write about them. Unless they've (a) been locked away for decades without access to teenagers, or (b) had their memory wiped, they ought to know something about them, too. They might even have teenagers of their own. And let's face it, authors writing about themselves all the time isn't likely to be much fun - for the reader or the writer...(less)
Tessa LaBuff Either a new edition, or you've read another book by Robin McKinley and Goodreads decided to call it "new"
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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fairy tale retellings are fascinating - i went through a datlow-phase years ago, and i have read many others outside of her collections - it is a comfortable pleasure for me. so, since i am now going on an "introduce myself to the fantasy genre" expedition, this book seemed like the most logical entrée into it all.

beauty and the beast was never one of my favorite fairy tales - i don't know why, particularly, but i usually preferred the ones that didn't have a corresponding disney movie which wou
Kat Kennedy
I curse this book with a thousand crotch louse.

It's not I didn't like this book. At least, I like the beginning for awhile. But this book's plot was enough to drive me into a rant.

Getting out of the way the fact that the characterisation is great and the setting is stunning and all that shit, let's get into possibly McKinley's only, and truly great weakness, which is plotting and pacing.

The book reads at the speed of an unhurried snail. It starts a full 2.5ish years before Beauty even meets th
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final update: I've just read Beauty again for the first time in 15 years or more, but I probably read this 5 or 6 times when I was in my 20s, so you are not getting an unbiased opinion here. But I still adore this book, even though I'm older and more cynical now. It's a fairly simple, straightforward retelling of the fairy tale, with a few relatively minor twists. But the writing is lovely, the characters charming, and McKinley used a very fairy tale-ish style of writing that fits the story well ...more
An absolutely lovely rendition of my favorite fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast. There have been many retellings of this tale, from the bodice ripping romance novel covers featuring men muscled to the point of beastliness, holding pale, innocent flowers, to, of course, the smart young lady with a conveinently lovely voice for a Disney musical. This one falls somewhere poignantly in between- in just the perfect place for adult fans of both genres to find something that they can identify with, whil ...more
Patty Blount
Jan 21, 2011 Patty Blount rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 12, 2010 Tatiana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of fairy-tale retellings
Shelves: ya, fairy-tales, 2010
This is a lovely retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Robin McKinley's writing is fluid; the descriptions of the castle, landscapes, and even clothes are clear and vivid; horseback-riding scenes and interactions with horses are reflective of the author's superior knowledge of the animals. But other than that, there is hardly anything memorable about Beauty.

I don't know about you, but expect any retelling to bring something new to the original story, some new layers, better understanding of the cha
Robin (Bridge Four)
Hi. My name is Robin and I have a buddy reading addiction.

Hi Robin

So why not add another impromptu Buddy Read with My Enabler Jessica and The Instigator Tadiana over at BB&B on Oct 14

The great thing about a fantasy is that some of it is timeless. That is totally the case with Beauty. It was originally published in 1978 shhhh but when you pick it up it is really a tale as old as time but it can be told throughout these decades seamlessly. It could as easily been published last month an
Nov 04, 2007 Nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quick read - young adult fiction. There were elements of this story (a re-telling of Beauty and the Beast) that had the potential to be really cool, but the author concentrated on the clothes and hair and food instead of the magic. I'm all for detail, but come on! The main character was labeled "plain" from the beginning and her sisters were beautiful. Of course in the end the plain one becomes pretty and the Beast is also pretty and TA DA all is right with the world. Booo. Also, many ...more
Sep 26, 2007 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title says it all. This book is beautiful on every level: Writing, characters, story, themes. I thought it was an awesome portrait of quiet, gentle love and the joy to be found in simple things.

Dudes and ladies alike: Just read it.
Rebecca McNutt
For a fairy-tale retelling this book wasn't bad although it can be predictable at times and it does have a lot of teen girl melodrama with the character of Beauty herself, whose self-esteem is a puddle on the floor. :-\
I can't believe I haven't reviewed this properly before! This book was so influential in the writing of my fairy tales! It has been so influential my writing in general! This book is the forerunner, and set the standard, for modern YA fairy tale retellings. And since the last time I read it I've seen Disney's animated Beauty and the Beast roughly 9,000 times with my daughter, and I have to say: if they didn't pay McKinley for her ideas, Disney owes her big time!
There is something about the Beauty and the Beast story that is attractive to society in general and to the literature, movie making crowd in particular. Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch and other books in varying literary quality draw on the motif, subverting, perverting, or simply retelling it (One of my faves is Jane Yolen's version which is a mash up with O Henry's Gift of the Magi). It is no surprise that Robin McKinely was drawn to the tale, twice, and any reader can see the germ ...more
Mar 16, 2011 Jessi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy-tales
Nothing new or Earth shattering here, but if you like Beauty and the Beast, its a super fast and an enjoyable read.

I sort of beyond love the story of Beauty and the Beast,as a child I loved fairy tales, but this was always my favourite. My mum likes to tell people how when asked why I like this one so much, I would say "Beauty had the best shake outta life" and she did for reals. I was a realistic child I saw these fairy tales for what they were:

basically a maid who didn't get paid.
Dec 15, 2016 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Une très bonne lecture, douce et émouvante, avec une touche parfaite de féerie ! Moi qui n'avais pas d'attachement particulier à cette histoire, je meurs d'envie désormais de voir le film en 2017.
Aug 19, 2013 Keertana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: why-the-hype
I'm hesitant to call Beauty a re-telling of "Beauty and the Beast" as it's not so much a re-telling as it is a telling. McKinley's rendition of this classic fairy tale not only fails to veer off from it's typical path, but it also - sadly - fails to capture much of the magic of the original tale as well. I half expected my Kindle to burst into song or for "A Tale as Old as Time" to suddenly play out of thin air, but I fear I enjoyed even Disney's telling of this tale more than McKinley's.

From th
Oct 14, 2014 Nikki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fairytales
I think I'll blame my partner's Disney song playlist for making me want to (re)read a bunch of Beauty and the Beast retellings. The obvious place to start (for me, anyway) is with Robin McKinley's two attempts at telling the story, Beauty and Rose Daughter. Beauty is perhaps the less delicate of the two, being suited to a younger audience in terms of complexity, language, etc, but it still makes a good story. You come to care for the little family, and learn to care for the Beast; the mysteries ...more

I decided to kick things off on my end (for Fairy Tale Fortnight) with one of the most traditional retellings I've come across.  So traditional, in fact, that I first was a little irritated with it and thought it was a rip-off of Disney's Beauty and the Beast -- until I realized that Robin McKinley's version of the story came decades before the movie.  Decades.  Yet the similarities are so incredibly striking that it's kind of a wonder there wasn't a big McKinley/Disney smackdown.  For reals.
Jun 11, 2010 Lin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Though Robin McKinley is quite adept at lush description, her characters fail to connect with me in any meaningful way. The romance between Beast and Beauty felt predictible and rather boring. At no point during this book, especially the second half, was I unaware of exactly what would happen and how it would happen. Every time a new plot element was introduced - such as, Beauty introduces her horse to Beast! - it was immediately evident how the scene would occur, mainly because you get the clea ...more
I'm sure part of my gleeful urge to give this five-star rating stems from the fact that "Beauty and the Beast" has always been my favourite fairy tale. I love seeing it redone in modern settings, redone in post-modern settings, and even retold in a time period akin to that in which it was first penned and recorded for posterity.

This novel brings us the story in the first person POV, past tense, but with a current approach to language. I checked the credits and discovered it was first published
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelley Anne
This was a book that was one of my very favorites growing up, but I haven't read it since probably junior high. While discussing a different book with friends, this title came up. So, I decided to rumage through all of my boxes of old books, find this one and dust it off and give it a good read. It was just as fun as I remembered it!

This book is just a version of the widely known Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. It is a very simple, sweet and enchanting version. Beauty and the Beast has always b
Jul 25, 2012 Aura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I guess the thing that sets this retelling apart from the story as we know it (I mean the 18th century version, not the Disney one) is the charming first-person narrative (of which I have nothing to complain, which is rare) and the relationship between the sisters - and I loved there was true friendship and affection.

Beauty, whose name is actually Honour, is the kind of girl you and I would like in real life. She values knowledge more than anything in the world, apart from people, nature and co
4.5 stars

Hands down my favorite McKinley. Young, untainted McKinley before she got all artsy fartsy and tried to down play and deny her appeal as a creator of likeable, pleasant, homey - hearth side heroines. There was a time she seemed to go all symbolic and archetypal and shit with her characters - Outlaws of Sherwood, Deerskin - McKinley was like all "I don't need these character to be like, all, you know personable and relateable - that's just for pussies - these characters are my stand-ins
May 16, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 stars

I think that part of the reason that I didn't like Beauty was not so much due to Robin McKinley's retelling as a general aversion to the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale now that I'm old enough to notice that it's a little creepy to fall in love with not only a man who looks like a beast, but a man who is effectively your jailor and stalker (ahem, Stockholm Syndrome). This guy also gives you an ultimatum to choose between him and your family, which is lame. I also don't like the fact tha
Dec 17, 2008 Grace rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely outstanding rendition of Beauty and the Beast. I have read Robin McKinley before, but it's been years, and I had forgotten how well she could write.

The charm of this novel isn't in its creativity with or spin on the fairy tale, but in the way that Robin McKinley tells such a classic story in such a straightforward way, and yet still manages to make it delightful and fresh. In so many longer novelizations of short tales, the authors get caught up in tedious detail to extend the leng
Bark's Book Nonsense
Nov 16, 2010 Bark's Book Nonsense rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is a retelling of the classic fantasy Beauty and The Beast. But this version has a bit of a twist, McKinley's "Beauty" doesn't quite live up to her nickname and can be more accurately described as an awkward teenager, a girl who prefers to spend her free time with books and horses. I liked her immediately. When her father accidentally stumbles upon the bewitched castle of the "Beast" he is forced into a promise that will forever change Beauty's life. To give anymore of the plot away would b ...more
Jul 26, 2012 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fairytales
I don't know why I had the urge to reread Beauty, but I'm glad I did. I needed the gentle enchantment of the story and the quiet strength of the various loves that it's really about: Beauty's love for her family, Beauty's love for the Beast, the Beast's love for her, her sisters' love for their partners, Beauty's love of her horse...

It's not laugh-out-loud humorous most of the time, but there's a gentle humour to all of it, and it really made me smile.

The only things that grate on me are the fa
Bark's Book Nonsense
I recently saw this unabridged version of Beauty at my local library and snatched it up for a revisit. Back when I first read it I deemed it worthy of five stars (I’ll add that fan girly review in at the end). Did it hold up now that I’m slightly older and far more jaded?

Yes and No. The atmosphere and the descriptive prose is still top notch and I can see why my younger self fell in love with it but it’s not quite perfect for me this time around. I saw some weaknesses especially near the end an
Jul 28, 2011 Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was expecting to like this book, but I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did. I'm always wary of retellings, and fear they will never live up to the versions I've grown to know and love. Thankfully, I feel that McKinley let us know from early on that this was a retelling in which she's taken the essence and framework of the original "Beauty and the Beast" but has created a whole new world and differently drawn characters for her own telling. What results is a beautiful mix of comfort an ...more
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  • The Grand Tour (Cecilia and Kate, #2)
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
  • Court Duel (Crown & Court, #2)
  • Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood, #1)
  • Violet Eyes:  A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea (Once Upon a Time, #18)
  • Shadow Spinner
  • Black Thorn, White Rose
Born in her mother's hometown of Warren, Ohio, Robin McKinley grew up an only child with a father in the United States Navy. She moved around frequently as a child and read copiously; she credits this background with the inspiration for her stories.

Her passion for reading was one of the most constant things in her childhood, so she began to remember events, places, and time periods by what books
More about Robin McKinley...

Other Books in the Series

Folktales (3 books)
  • Rose Daughter
  • Spindle's End

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“As I have said, you have no reason to trust me, and an excellent reason not to.” 119 likes
“At least I was true. My intellectual abilities gave me a release, and an excuse. I shunned company because I preferred books; and the dreams I confided to my father were of becoming a scholar in good earnest, and going to University. It was unheard-of several shocked governesses were only too quick to tell me, when I spoke a little too boldly -- but my father nodded and smiled and said, 'We'll see.' Since I believed my father could do anything -- except of course make me pretty -- I worked and studied with passionate dedication, lived in hope, and avoided society and mirrors.” 72 likes
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