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

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Overview

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?

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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Overview

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?

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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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060753108
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/26/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 85,795
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin McKinley's other books include the Newbery Award-winning The Hero and the Crown; Newbery Honor Book The Blue Sword; Sunshine; Spindle's End; Rose Daughter; Deerskin; The Outlaws of Sherwood; and the short story collections The Door in the Hedge; A Knot in the Grain and Other Stories; and, with her husband, the author Peter Dickinson, Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits. She lives in England with her husband, three whippets, and over five hundred rosebushes.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One



I was the youngest of three daughters. Our literal-minded mother named us Grace, Hope, and Honour, but few people except perhaps the minister who had baptized all three of us remembered my given name.

My father still likes to tell the story of how I acquired my odd nickname: I had come to him for further information when I first discovered that our names meant something besides you-come-here. He succeeded in explaining grace and hope, but he had some difficulty trying to make the concept of honour understandable to a five-year-old.

I heard him out, but with an expression of deepeningdisgust; and when he was finished I said: "Huh! I'd rather be Beauty." He laughed; and over the next few weeks told everyone he met this story of his youngest child precocity. I found that my ill-considered opinion became a reality; the name at least was attached to me securely.

All three of us were pretty children, with curly blond hair and blue-grey eyes; and if Grace's hair was the brightest, and Hope's eyes the biggest, well, for the first ten years the difference wasn't too noticeable. Grace, who was seven years older than 1, grew into a beautiful, and profoundly graceful, young girl. Her hair was wavy and fine and luxuriant, and as butter-yellow as it had been when she was a baby (said doting friends of the family), and her eyes were long-lashed and as blue as a clear May, morning after rain (said her doting swains). Hope's hair darkened to a rich chestnut-brown, and her big eyes turned a smoky green. Grace was an inch or two the taller, and her skin was rosy where Hope's was ivory pae; but except for their dramatic colouring my sisters lookedvery much alike. Both were tall and slim, with tiny waists, short straight noses, dimples when they smiled, and small delicate hands and feet.

I was five years younger than Hope, and I don't know what happened to me. As I grew older, my hair turned mousy, neither blond nor brown, and the baby curl fell out until all that was left was a stubborn refusal to cooperate with the curling iron; my eyes turned a muddy hazel. Worse, I didn't grow; I was thin, awkward, and undersized, with big long-fingered hands and huge feet. Worst of all, when I turned thirteen, my skin broke out in spots. There hadn't been a spot in our mother's family for centuries, I was sure. And Grace and Hope went on being innocently and ravishingly lovely, with every eligible young man -- and many more that were neither dying of love for them.

Since I was the baby of the family I was a little spoiled. our mother died less than two years after I was born, and our little sister Mercy died two weeks after her. Although we had a series of highly competent and often affectionate nursemaids and governesses, my sisters felt that they had raised me. By the time it was evident that I was going to let the family down by being plain, I'd been called Beauty for over six years; and while I came to hate the name, I was too proud to ask that it be discarded. I wasn't really very fond of my given name, Honour, either, if it came to that: It sounded sallow and angular to me, as if "honourable" were the best that could be said of me. My sisters were too kind to refer to the increasing inappropriateness of my nickname. It was all the worse that they were as good-hearted as they were beautiful, and their kindness was sincerely meant.

Our father, bless him, didn't seem to notice that there was any egregious, and deplorable, difference between his first two daughters and his youngest. On the contrary, he used to smile at us over the dinner table and say howpleased he was that we were growing into three such dissimilar individuals; that he always felt sorry for families who looked like petals from the same flower. For a while his lack of perception hurt me, and I suspected him of hypocrisy; but in time I came to be grateful for his generous blindness. I could talk to him openly, about my dreams for the future, without fear of his pitying me or doubting my motives.

The only comfort I had in being my sisters' sister was that I was "the clever one." To a certain extent this was damning me with faint praise, in the same category as accepting my given name as an epithet accurately reflecting my limited worth -- it was the best that could be said of me. Our governesses had always remarked on my cleverness in a pitying tone of voice. But at least it 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 that a woman should do anything of the sort-as 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 -- Iworked and studied with passionate dedication, lived in hope, and avoided society and mirrors.

Our father was a merchant, one of the wealthiest in the city. He was the son of a shipwright, and had gone to sea as a cabin boy when he was not yet ten years old; but by the time he was forty, he and his ships were known in most of the major ports of the world. When he was forty, too, he married our mother, the Lady Marguerite, who was just seventeen. She came of a fine old family that had nothing but its bloodlines left to live on, and her parents were more than happy to accept my father's suit, with its generous bridal settlements. But it had been a happy marriage, old friends told us girls.

Beauty. Copyright © by Robin McKinley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 222 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(167)

4 Star

(35)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 222 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2006

    Fall in love again

    I've read this book every year since I was 13. The retelling is beautiful. Everytime I read it, I fall in love again. Its a sweet, sincere look at finding love based on the heart rather than looks. Wonderful book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    Thicker bliss !

    This book is simply what the title states : Beauty ! I mean this is Beauty and the Beast no changes made just simply and beautifully retold! If you love Disney's Beauty in the Beast you will love this book. This is a great book for girls of any age who are just looking for a classic fairytale that is longer than 20 pages!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2010

    Beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

    My mother actually recommended this book to me when I was sixteen years old and I loved then and love it now. This is not your typical meet the beautiful protagnist and then she meets ugly beast and in time she learns to love him. This has a different twist to it! Beauty is not at all physically beautiful, her two sisters in which shocking are kind, and loving sisters. Beauty is just "plain jane" and throughout the book she discovers her talents, wit, sense of humor, her own beauty and the love of her life.
    Great book, for young women who are looking on the inside for something. Wonderful introduction of how to help others as well as discovering yourself!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 1, 2010

    A Classic Re-imagined WELL

    I have never been a big fan of Disney's interpretation of things, and I found this book very refreshing in that Beauty and the Beast actually have a relationship and a reason to love one another. Beauty is very easily respected because she has reasons for all that she does. She loves to read, and she loves her horse Greatheart. This book is very well-written and enjoyable. It's a love story, but instead of "oh, they fell in love and lived happily ever after," we as readers watch their love develop and grow. Beauty must learn about herself and the Beast's history as she gets used to living in an overly large castle infused with magic who wait at her beck and call (sometimes before) and some who help without Beauty wanting it. At the end, you are convinced that they are truly and perfectly in love.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2009

    Good Retelling

    The story developed well and had great visual elements and strong characters. However, the ending seemed cut short and rushed after so much building and story-telling it just suddenly came to an end. It felt as if Mckinley wasn't quite sure how to wrap up all the loose ends and so took the shortcut way and everything just magically happened.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2009

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    Nice Enough

    This was such a lovely book until the ending. I felt that it left a lot to be desired. It wrapped up in about five pages, without much detail. Up until then the characters all showed depth and intrigue. I adored the enchanted castle. It was very magical and I couldn¿t help wishing I were Beauty, for I too was falling in love the Beast. When things finished however, there was not enough detail. It didn¿t make much sense, and I was frustrated with the lack of explanation. There is supposedly a sequel or another part at least, to this story, so perhaps I will read that to have my admiration of McKinley restored. I¿d still recommend the book to anyone who either likes McKinley¿s stories or people who enjoy this sort of genre period. Perhaps you¿ll have better luck with its ending then I did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 25, 2008

    Lovely

    This is a book that I think any girl who watched Disney as a child should read. It brings a different spin to the classic tale but one that makes it more real. I bought it on a whim at college and have had to tape up the spin from frequent use.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2008

    A wonderful retelling!

    I think every one should read this book, especially if you like fantasy. I loved it I found it to be a captivating story. It is like, yet unlike the Disney version of the fairy tale. I found it enough different that it wasn't repeating it. A good book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2005

    Breathtaking

    'Beauty' is an astounding descriptive literary work. Robin Mckinely has found a way to make the traditional fable of 'Beauty and the Beast' into something so tangable you can smell her roses, feel the fresh air, and empathise with the characters. This book is one in a million!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2002

    An Amazing Story

    Robin McKinley has weaved a story as beautiful and descriptive as they come. I have read this book three times and recommend it to anyone who liked the Disney version of the story. After reading this, you will fall in love with it. Her adventure scenes are thrilling, and her romance ones moving. You won't be able to but the book down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    This book was truly the best retelling of Beauty and the Beast t

    This book was truly the best retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I have 
    read so far. Exceptional!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2014

    This story is about a girl named Honour, but everyone calls her

    This story is about a girl named Honour, but everyone calls her Beauty. She doesn't like her nickname though, because she is thin and awkward. She believes her older sisters, Hope and Grace, are much more beautiful than she is. Their father, Mr.Huston, is one of the wealthiest merchants in the city. When some of Mr.Huston's ships get lost or crashed, he lost all of his money. The family would have to auction off their house and some of their furniture. Gervain, a man that Hope has fallen in love with, offers for the family to come live with him out of the city. When they get to the new house, it's right in front of the woods that is said to be enchanted. When's Beauty's father gets lost in the woods on his way home from visiting the city, he finds a castle. When he takes a rose from the castle's garden, a huge beast come out and threatens him. The beast says that either Mr.Huston comes back with one of his daughters, or he comes back and dies. When The family here's this story, Beauty know that she must go live with the beat to save her fathers life. My favorite parts of the book are when beauty finally starts to realize that she is in love with the beast. I recommend this book to anyone that likes romance and mystery. Overall, it was a very good book and I intend in reading it again soon.

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  • Posted February 5, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    One of my all time favorites. Beautifully written and engaging r

    One of my all time favorites. Beautifully written and engaging retelling of the classic. Robin McKinley does a superior job of weaving breath taking descriptions, lovable characters and humor into this superb book. I highly recommend this book to everyone. 
    All read

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  • Posted September 27, 2013

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    Good

    Saw this a lot on the shelves. Finally read it and it was good.

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  • Posted July 29, 2013

    I really enjoyed this fairytale rendition. Even though I knew wh

    I really enjoyed this fairytale rendition. Even though I knew what was coming, I like how it portrayed the story. It was sweet and I felt good after reading it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2013

    This has  been my absolute favorite book since I first read this

    This has  been my absolute favorite book since I first read this book twenty years ago. It is McKinley's most simple writing style, yet in my opinion, the most exquisite. It is innocent enough for young girls wanting romance and deep enough for mature women, wanting to revisit the true depth of unconditional love. I read this novel at least once a year. I am buying two more copies right now. One for myself (since my current copy is falling apart) and one for my five year old daughter, who listened (and enjoyed) me reading Beauty to her aloud. 

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  • Posted December 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

    Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

    This was a beautiful tale of love and family and I enjoyed every word and I am sure I will be rereading it in the future~ Under the Covers

    Beauty Huston has always hated her nickname, it seems at total odds with her skinny and plain appearance and with sister as fair as she is plain it seems a cruel joke. But despite their differing looks the Huston family are close and loving and when their fortunes change for the worse they stick together and make a life in the country. But, one night Beauty’s father gets lost in the forest only to come upon a mysterious castle where he makes a terrible mistake and must repay steeply with one of his daughters…

    I have been meaning to read this book for a while and I am so glad I did, I quickly devoured the tale of family and loose and love and it left me hungering for more. What I found fascinating about this book was the way it was written, it felt like an oral tale that had finally been written down, ready for some one to pick up and read a loud.

    But, I am a huge romance junkie and I loved the parts where Beauty and the Beast were together and Beauty slowly overcomes her fear of him and starts to see beyond just his terrifying appearance and to the lonely man beneath.

    This was a beautiful tale of love and family and I enjoyed every word and I am sure I will be rereading it in the future!

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  • Posted May 1, 2012

    You Should Read This!!!

    I borrowed this book from a friend years ago and have been looking for it since. She lost the book after i gave it back so i wasn't sure who the author was or what it was called and it wasn't in the same spot in store. Once i finally found it though i just had to get it and it was even better reading it this time around!!
    I am a Disney fan and all but this is WAYYY better than the movie! You can really picture everything and its so realistic!

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!!

    Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are beautiful. 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 declares she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will.

    Having two older sisters named Grace and Hope, Honour is nicknamed Beauty and it sticks. While her sisters grow into their names, Beauty feels just the opposite. Upon a financial disaster, the family moves from their comfortable rich life in the city to a small cottage in the country to begin anew. After her father's return from the city, a single enchanted rose is gifted to Beauty. BUT you know the tale--the father met the Beast who demanded one of his daughters in exchange for his life, because he dared to pluck a rose.

    I adored this story. I remember attempting to read it when I was much younger, but I loved reading it again years later. No lie, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale, but this retelling is wonderfully romantic and full of charm. Lots of magic and castles, Beauty truly brings to life a sweet relationship. I especially enjoyed how Robin McKinley didn't alter the tale and kept it as original as possible and her expansion of the characters made the book even more wonderful!

    Likes: That Beauty is known more for her brains & guts than just a pretty face.

    Dislikes: Her answer to the Beast asking her every night for her hand in marriage . . . so sad!

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  • Posted March 15, 2012

    I have loved this book since I was 10. If you or your daughter l

    I have loved this book since I was 10. If you or your daughter loves to read this is an excellent book to buy and pass around. I even got my grandmother to read it and she loved it too.

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