McKinley's book, "Beauty", ranks as one of my top ten favorite books, so when I heard that she had written another book on the same topic, I thought, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" I decided to read it anyway and was I glad I did! Although it didn't grab my attention at first (those Pilgrim's Progress-type names threw me off and I kept comparing it to "Beauty"), it gradually sucked me in, and by the end, I was rooting for Beauty to stay with the Beast. I didn't care for certain characters (Master Jack, as one example) and was confused by the differing accounts of the curse/legend/story attached to the Rose Cottage, but overall, I enjoyed it. It did not have the dark, almost evil, overtones of McKinley's "Deerskin", which I was half-expecting, since other reviews have compared it to Donna Jo Napoli's "Zel", but it did have a few. I still like "Beauty" better, but it was well worth the read and I will now be buying my own copy for periodic rereading. However, I recommend to all readers that they find a copy of "Beauty" and read it, too, if they never have. Read them both!