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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast
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Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast

(Folktales)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  67,635 ratings  ·  4,903 reviews
A strange imprisonment...

Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage.

When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must
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Paperback, 256 pages
Published June 30th 1993 by HarperCollins (first published October 25th 1978)
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Nicola O'Boyle I can understand where you are coming from, but Robin McKinley was only 26 when this book was published. Also, I'm not sure that the…moreI can understand where you are coming from, but Robin McKinley was only 26 when this book was published. Also, I'm not sure that the struggles/experiences of teenagers change all that much, even if they are from different generations. That's just my opinion, but I would definitely say give it a chance :)(less)

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4.05  · 
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 ·  67,635 ratings  ·  4,903 reviews


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Mischenko
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition


Beauty is the youngest of three sisters. Their mother has passed on and now they live with their father. Beauty is an introvert and prefers reading books. She has very low self-esteem, dislikes her body, and feels that she doesn’t measure up to her sisters’ attractiveness. While she’s quite clever, she wishes she could also be beautiful and have more to offer like her sisters Hope and Grace who are both beautiful and kind.

After their father loses all the family income, they're forced to move to
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karen
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
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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
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Robin Hobb
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is absolutely my favorite retelling of the familiar tale of Beauty and the Beast.

An aside: it far outshines the Disney one.

McKinley begins the tale with the very familiar setting: A merchant with daughters has fallen on hard times. He and his family are reduced to living in near poverty.

But there she diverges, to give us a believable family structure of the daughters who have various levels of resourcefulness in dealing with their straitened circumstances. They are a family, and there are
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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This is a cozy, delightful retelling of The Beauty and the Beast tale, one of my very favorite fairy tale retellings.

Final review: 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
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Kelly
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
Robin (Bridge Four)
sale alert 9May19 Kindle deal for 1.99 here

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 c
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Patty Blount
Jan 21, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gail Carriger
Nov 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites, funny, ya
One of my favorite retellings of Beauty and the Beast. The family is loving and the prose beyond witty. If you love the Disney version, it owes a lot to this book. 
Tatiana
Jan 12, 2010 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
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Mariah Roze
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mariah Roze by: Sarah Atkinson
I read this book for my hometown's Young Women's Book Club. The lady that selected this book, chose it so we could read it and then go to the new Beauty and the Best movie that is coming out. Even though the movie isn't based off this retelling, we thought it would be fun.

I really enjoyed this retelling. It was a super easy, fast read. It was definitely entertaining and different enough without being totally off-track with the story. The introduction and background information started to get a l
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Nicole
Nov 04, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Jessica
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!
Veronique
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stars-4-0, 2018
While reading an interview with Naomi Novik about her latest novel Spinning Silver, she mentioned a few titles including this one. Since I’m waiting for her book to be delivered, I decided to give this one a go - that and the fact that Beauty and the Beast is my favourite fairy tale.

McKinley’s story is a pretty straightforward retelling, but her writing style is so charming that you can’t help but be captivated by it. From the portrayal of Beauty and her family to the enchanted castle and ground
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Sean
Sep 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
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. :-\
Keertana
Aug 19, 2013 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
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Jessi
Mar 16, 2011 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:

Cinderella
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basically a maid who didn't get paid.
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Christine
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
Katie  Hanna
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, for me? Mayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyybe edging more towards 4? I'm quite perplexed as to how to rate it properly, I'm afraid.

The writing style itself--taken on its own--would EASILY merit 5 stars, if not more. It was simply delicious. Light, and airy, and clear, and never confusing in the slightest. I loved it. I want to be able to write like this, someday:

"The sun shone through a window, then made its delicate, fawn-footed way across the broad inlaid floor, and
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Melindam
Jury is still out, but around 3,5 stars.

This is a nice, straightforward retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which I enjoyed a lot without being completely drawn into the story. A cosy and relaxing read.
Nikki
Oct 14, 2014 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
Lindsay
Jun 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Misty
3.5

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.
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Nicole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
unknown
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I forgot how delightful McKinley's books can be. They are stories you want to live inside, tactile and textured. Yes, we all know the story of Beauty and the Beast, but I've never really felt it before.
Damian
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
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Leah Good
Jul 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
REVIEW UPDATE: March 2017
Old friend, I didn't realize how much I missed you! I've been wanting to re-read this book for a long time, and the theater release of the new Disney movie seemed to be as good an excuse as any. McKinley immersed me again into the world of an enchanted castle and the affection growing between an ordinary girl, and a terrible but lonely beast.

There are so many good themes in this book! While some have argued the book may support Stockholm Syndrome (sympathy developed by a
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Kelley Anne
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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Aura
Jul 25, 2012 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
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5,891 followers
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

Other books in the series

Folktales (3 books)
  • Rose Daughter
  • Spindle's End
“As I have said, you have no reason to trust me, and an excellent reason not to.” 131 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.” 76 likes
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