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Beauty Hardcover – 3 Apr 2003

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: David Fickling Books; New edition edition (3 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385604807
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385604802
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,109,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine; the New York Times bestseller Spindle's End; two novel-length retellings of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and Rose Daughter; and a retelling of the Robin Hood legend, The Outlaws of Sherwood. She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

Product Description


"Beauty and the Beast, retold by a plain but captivating heroine" (Amanda Craig The Times)

"A love story for teenagers that marries realism and fantasy with satisfying imagination, elegance of prose and thoughtful characterisation. McKinley's Beauty is more than skin deep" (Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times)

"McKinley adds delightful touches of her own . . ." (The Guardian)

"Beauty is a classic reworking of a classic, McKinley wraps it all up together alluringly" (T.E.S.)

"From an award winning author comes this brilliant re-telling which rivals the original" (The Good Book Guide) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

A retelling of the classic tale, Beauty is a beautifully-woven tale of love, courage and magic for young and not-so-young adults.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Chrestomanci VINE VOICE on 6 April 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is a delightful retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. However, don’t assume that you know everything there is to know about this story already. In this version, Beauty is plain compared to her two elder sisters … and the beast is more sad and mysterious than frightening or beastly.
Closer to the original French fairytale than any version so far, the style of writing has an old-fashioned charm and simplicity about it, giving you the feeling that you are reading a letter from Beauty herself describing her life at the beast’s enchanted castle.
This book would make a wonderful gift for girls aged nine to ninety!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb 2002
Format: Paperback
I have always loved fairy tales and the magic that surrounds them, however my main source of fairy tales when I was younger was through Disney films. Beauty and The Beast has always been a favourite fairy tale, because of the morale behind it. The fact that a beautiful girl could come to love monstrous beast despite his appearance was fascinating and heart warming. This was also (and still is) one of my favourite of Disney's animated films.
I think because I had seen the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast (which obviously borrowed A LOT from this book) I didn't appreciate it at first. I had been reading the fairy tale series of Terri Windling when I purchased this book and I remember being quite disappointed when I started reading it...I missed the originality and wonder of the tale (the idea that Beauty enjoys books, and is independent etc.). Now I wonder how I could have! I think this is easy to do because we now live in a time when "Girl Power" and independent heroines aren't surprising.
But as I have grown older and the more I have read it, the more I am amazed at this wonderful and unique telling of such an old tale. And the more I realised what a unique and innovative book this must have been when it was first published in 1978! It still retains some of its distinctiveness but in the surge of books featuring independent heroines some of it was probably lost.
This book is an absolute gem. But I have come to realise just how amazing Beauty is through reading Rose Daughter by the same author. And while I enjoyed the book, through reading it the superiority of Beauty becomes clearer.
My one difficulty was accepting that this Beauty was not beautiful, because that was what always made the fairy tale so spectacular to me; that a beautiful girl could love an ugly monster.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 25 Feb 2007
Format: Paperback
The best-known and best-loved of Robin McKinley's books is also one of the best of the fairy-tale retellings -- "Beauty," a more enlightened, fully-drawn version of "Beauty and the Beast." There's a depth and a richness to the story and characterizations, as well as a beauty of atmosphere and writing.

Beauty (real name is "Honour") is the ironically-named heroine of the story -- she isn't beautiful, but is very intelligent. She has two sisters, the beautiful Hope and Grace, and a benevolent, wealthy father. Then all their lives change suddenly: the ships their father owns are lost, and the money goes with them. One of the sisters marries a poor but worthy country lad, while the other lost her beloved fiancee who captained one of the ships. After selling their possessions the family moves to the countryside.

The father leaves on a trip -- and returns with a single rose, a gift for Beauty, which carries the price of either his life or his daughter. Beauty leaves to go live at the castle of the mysterious Beast, with only her plowhorse to accompany her. She arrives at a castle of invisible servants, magical books, friendly animals, and a melancholy Beast who asks her to marry him every evening...

There is nothing new in fairy tale retellings now, but when McKinley first wrote "Beauty," it was a relative rarity. And even now, few of them are as intelligently written and have such solid heroines. Rather than giving her story a contrived "twist," McKinley merely fleshes out the storyline and gives the characters personalities.

The writing is excellent; McKinley writes the more prosaic passages of cottage life and the surrounding friendly village, as well as the more dreamlike, fantastical scenes in the Beast's castle.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rose on 25 April 2012
Format: Paperback
Beauty is, very simply, a well-written retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It sticks closely to the traditional fairytale, building in just a few subtle nods to the Disney version, but builds the world it exists in in a beleivable manner, giving the story more emotional depth than most briefer tellings.

Beauty is the youngest daughter of a kindly merchant who falls on hard times when all his ships are lost to a storm. Her eldest sister's fiance was captain of one of those ships and the combination of personal tragedy and financial disaster leave the family in a touchingly portrayed state of despair until the middle sister's suitor - a humble blacksmith - offers to give them all a home out in the country. The house they move to has a bad repute as it is close to the forest which is said to be haunted and when Beauty's father returns from the forest with a fantastical tale and a terrible ultimatum Beauty finds herself thrust into a world of enchantments.

The book is at its heart a love story embelished with lovable characters and detailed descriptions. There is no real villain but at no point does the plot demand one and the loss is not felt by the overall narrative. Beauty is a most enjoyable read and highly recommmended.
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