Rose Daughter

Rose Daughter

3.9 59
by Robin McKinley
     
 

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It is the heart of this place, and it is dying, says the Beast. And it is true; the center of the Beast's palace, the glittering glasshouse that brings Beauty both comfort and delight in her strange new environment, is filled with leafless brown rosebushes. But deep within this enchanted world, new life, at once subtle and strong, is about to awaken. Twenty years ago

Overview

It is the heart of this place, and it is dying, says the Beast. And it is true; the center of the Beast's palace, the glittering glasshouse that brings Beauty both comfort and delight in her strange new environment, is filled with leafless brown rosebushes. But deep within this enchanted world, new life, at once subtle and strong, is about to awaken. Twenty years ago Robin McKinley enthralled readers with the power of Beauty. Now this extraordinarily gifted novelist retells the story of Beauty and the Beast again—but in a totally new way, with fresh perspective, ingenuity, and mature insight. In Rose Daughter she has written her finest and most deeply felt work, a compelling, richly imagined, and haunting exploration of the transformative power of love.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
One of the biggest problems for the fantasy-reading world is that Robin McKinley doesn't write enough. The other is that her books are often published as young adult novels in hardcover, so they might be missed. This one shouldn't be missed. It's a return to the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast," the story that underlay her first published work, Beauty (available in a HarperCollins YA edition), and as such it's a story that offers no genuine surprises. That said, it offers a wonderful, deep sense of magic, a warm affection for characters that's almost unparalleled, and a love of growing things, of gardening, that's probably -- in this genre -- just as unique. Beauty and her sisters, having had their lives destroyed by the tragedy of their father's financial misfortunes, travel to the countryside and there find and make a home for themselves in a lovely cottage where roses once bloomed. Roses are McKinley's symbol for magic here, but they're also her symbol for love -- and they take careful work, thorns and all; she doesn't imply that either love or magic comes easily. Highly recommended.
—Michelle West
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Every sentence and every occurrence seems infused by magic.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nearly 20 years after the publication of Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, Newbery Medalist McKinley returns to a tale she obviously loves and tells it once again. This time the adventure unfolds at a more leisurely pace and revolves mostly around gardening, especially the raising of roses. As before, McKinley takes the essentials of the traditional tale and embellishes them with vivid and quirky particulars. For example, Beauty's formerly haughty older sistersfearless Lionheart and witty Jeweltonguelearn to relish their humble new life in a rural cottage while Beauty tends the cottage's gardens and brings its thickets of magical roses back to life. Similarly, when Beauty arrives at Beast's enchanted palace and discovers that his roses are dying, she sets to work andwith the help of some unicorn dung and the garden-friendly animals that flock back to the formerly barren landrestores their bloom. Beauty's visit home is here prompted by not just loneliness but also a puzzling legend and a series of disturbing visions. Action-minded readers may wish for more narrative zip: dazzling though they are, the novel's lavishly imagined descriptions can be fairly slow going ("The butterflies converged in great shimmering, radiant clouds, and their wings flickered as they crowded together, and it was as if they were tiny fractured prisms, instead of butterflies, throwing off sparks of all the colours of the rainbow"). Still, this heady mix of fairy tale, magic and romance has the power to exhilarate. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
The ALAN Review - Laura M. Zaidman
Two decades after her successful first book, Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast, McKinley revisits her favorite fairytale and brings to mind The Secret Garden with the theme of love's regenerative power. The story's main thread looks quite familiar: Beauty, having gone to the Beast's enchanted palace because her father stole the Beast's rose for her, eventually falls in love and consents to marry her Beast. However, the surprise ending and various differences create a more intricately embroidered tapestry, woven with brighter colors and richer textures than the familiar tale. Sisters Lionheart and Jeweltongue (named Grace and Hope in Beauty) prove to be as strong and independent as Beauty. Fascinating dream imagery, rose garden symbolism, magical curses, and supernatural creatures also make an imaginative re-creation. Engaging and well-written, Rose Daughter resonates with an important message: women have choices and should no longer emulate passive damsels in distress.
VOYA - Jennifer Fakolt
If it seems surprising that McKinley would cover twice what one would (naively) think to be the same ground, rest assured. Rose Daughter is as different from Beauty (Harper, 1978) as a climbing Mermaid from a Gypsy tea rose, and is equally as satisfying. Rose Daughter gives us a different heroine, a Beauty who is practical and gentle, a minister of peace to her firebrand sister Lionheart and her clever sister Jeweltongue. Beauty considers herself the least of the sisters, for although beautiful, she has no better characteristic to name herself after than her appearance. This, of course, is misguided: Beauty possesses a quiet strength and a depth of empathy. In the magical world of the story where roses are rare because they need more love than people have to give them, Beauty can make roses grow. As a child, Beauty grows up in the wealth and bustle of the city, where greenwitches offer magic charms for sale, retired sorcerers live down the street, and people keep small sphinxes as pets. Jeweltongue wields her sharp wit as a lash, and Lionheart recklessly spends her time cowing dogs and setting horses over the highest fences. Beauty's sisters love her, but in a distracted way, and Beauty finds refuge in the garden. Her dreams are informed by an ominous long dark corridor, and a mysterious, rich fragrance she identifies with her late mother; only later learning it is the scent of roses. When her father loses his wealth and a bit of his sanity, and her sisters' fiancees call off their marriages, Beauty holds the family together and removes them to a small cottage they have strangely inherited: Rose Cottage. Life in the little country town strengthens the bonds of love among them and enhances the positive qualities of each sister: Lionheart turns her courage to good use, becoming a stablehand; Jeweltongue an expert dressmaker. And Beauty revives the magnificent garden of roses. When their father, on a return trip from the city, encounters the Beast and takes the inevitable rose, Beauty goes to the castle. There, all is guided by invisible, silent, yet slyly characterized magic that constantly changes numbers of doors, directions of hallways, and pictures on the walls. The Beast is exactly what he should be. He can see in the dark, walk as silently as sunlight, and is fearsome because of the contrasts in his face: man and animal, wisdom and despair. Yet he is gentle, and honorable, and smells of a wild, dark rose. Beauty decides she must make the Beast's roses bloom again. She goes about her gardening, quietly happy except for the vivid dreams of her sisters, the old dream of the fearful hallway, and the Beast's nightly proposal of marriage. Beauty succeeds; the roses grow, animals return to the Beast's sterile magicked compound, and Beauty comes to love and respect the Beast. When she returns home, briefly, she knows she must go back to the Beast, and that the only way for her to save him is to turn her frightening childhood dream around. McKinley's language is rich and lovely, combining a fairy tale formality and allegory with a cozy immediacy. The reading of the story mirrors Beauty's experience in the enchanted castle: time is lost or forgotten, and a day can easily be a month, for the pace of the novel is comfortably unhurried. Yet the focus is tight. McKinley has captured the timelessness of the traditional tale and breathed into it passion and new life appropriate to the story's own "universal themes" of love and regeneration. Give this to your fantasy lovers and admirers of Beauty. Keep in mind, however, that the pace is gentle, and there is a great deal of gardening and natural and household detail, and that the story's length might be challenging. Those who do wander into McKinley's enchanted world will be richly rewarded, and find the leaving difficult. In an author's note, McKinley reveals that Beauty emerged as "sort of a writing exercise" and that the tale took hold of her again and inspired this new novel twenty years later. [Editor's Note: See our "Books in the Middle" list, this issue.] VOYA Codes: 5Q 3P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Will appeal with pushing, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Children's Literature - Rebecca Joseph
McKinley revisits the Beauty and the Beast tale in the fascinating novel about sensitive young Beauty who is compelled to go stay with the Beast in his magical imprisonment. Through her love of roses, she is able to bring his dead rose garden back to life and at the same time is able to fall in love with the man inside the Beast. McKinley spends much of the novel describing Beauty's family life before she meets the Beast. The age-old Beauty and the Beast tale is refreshingly revisited in this beautiful book as Beauty must decide whether or not to stay with the puzzling, passionate Beast.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 UpGertrude Stein's famous quote, "Rose is a rose is a rose...," is dispelled by McKinley in her second novelization of the tale "Beauty and the Beast." (Beauty was her first novel, published 20 years ago.) Both books have the same plot and elements; what is different is the complexity of matured writing and the patina of emotional experience. Here, she has embellished and embodied the whys, whos, and hows of the magic forces at work. The telling is layered like rose petals with subtleties, sensory descriptions, and shadow imagery. Every detail holds significance, including the character names: her sisters, Jeweltongue and Lionheart; the villagers, Miss Trueword, Mrs. Bestcloth, and Mrs. Words-Without-End. Mannerisms of language and intricacies of writing style are key in this exposition. The convoluted sentences often ramble like a rose and occasionally prick at the smoothness of the pace. Word choices such as feculence, sororal sedition, numen, ensorcell, and simulacrum will command readers' attention. McKinley is at home in a world where magic is a mainstay and, with her passion for roses, she's grafted a fully dimensional espalier that is a tangled, thorny web of love, loyalty, and storytelling sorcery. Fullest appreciation of Rose Daughter may be at an adult level.Julie Cummins, New York Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
This luxuriant retelling of the story of the Beauty and the Beast is very different from McKinley's own Beauty (1978). While sticking to the tale's traditional outlines, this version by turns rushes headlong and slows to a stately pace, is full of asides and surprises, and is suffused with obsession for the rose and thorn as flora, metaphor, and symbol. Beauty can make anything grow, especially roses; her memories of her dead mother are always accompanied by her mother's elusive rose scent. The Beast's aroma is also of roses, as is the scent of a sorcerer and a greenwitch. Eroticism, comfort, hard work, and the heart's deep love are all bound in rose imagery, from the curtains and tapestries of the Beast's palace to the Rose Cottage home of Beauty's family. Roses stand for all the many different facets of love (the text is specific on that): Beauty's for her father and her vividly etched sisters Lionheart and Jeweltongue; for a family hearth and safe home; for a puppy named Tea-cosy; and most incredibly but satisfyingly, for the Beast who has haunted her nightmares since childhood. While the story is full of silvery images and quotable lines, it will strike some as overlong and overblown; for others, perhaps those who were bewitched by Donna Jo Napoli's Zel (1996), it is surely the perfect book.

From the Publisher
“Dazzling…has the power to exhilarate.”—Publishers Weekly

“Luxuriant…the story is full of silvery images.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Every sentence and every occurrence seems infused by magic.”—Fantasy & Science Fiction

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688154394
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/01/1997
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.05(d)
Lexile:
1210L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Her earliest memory was of waking from the dream. It was also her only clear memory of her mother. Her mother was beautiful, dashing, the toast of the town. Her youngest daughter remembered the blur of activity, friends and hangers-on, soothsayers and staff, the bad-tempered pet dragon on a leash--bad-tempered on account of the ocarunda leaves in his food, which prevented him from producing any more fire than might occasionally singe his wary handler, but which also upset his digestion--the constant glamour and motion which was her mother and her mother's world. She remembered peeping out at her mother from around various thresholds before various nurses and governesses (hired by her dull merchant father) snatched her away.

She remembered too, although she was too young to put it into words, the excitability, no, the restlessness of her mother's manner, a restlessness of a too-acute alertness in search of something that cannot be found. But such were the brightness and ardor of her mother's personality that those around her were also swept up into her search, not knowing it was a search, happy merely to be a part of such liveliness and gaiety.

The only thing that ever lingered was the sweet smell of her mother's perfume.

Her only memory of her mother's face was from the night she woke from the dream for the first time, crying in terror. In the dream she had been walking--she could barely walk yet in her waking life--toddling down a long dark corridor, only vaguely lit by a few candles set too far into their sconces, too high up in the walls. The shadows stretched everywhere round her, and that was terrible enough; and the silence was almost as dreadful as the darkness. Butwhat was even worse was that she knew a wicked monster waited for her at the end of the corridor. It was the wickedest monster that had ever lived, and waiting just for her, and she was all alone.

Copyright ) 1997 by Robin McKinley Rose Daughter. Copyright © by Robin McKinley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Dazzling…has the power to exhilarate.”—Publishers Weekly

“Luxuriant…the story is full of silvery images.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Every sentence and every occurrence seems infused by magic.”—Fantasy & Science Fiction

Meet 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.

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Rose Daughter 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have forever been etranced by the story of Beauty and the Beast. This perpective is by far the most beautifully written and sensually appettizing. I truly recommend any person that very individual who is interested in the Beauty and the Beast fable to read this novel and absorb each aspect Robin McKinnley introduces.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rose Daughter is fantastic! The way she writes it is strange and different but enchanting. I couldn't put it down! This book seems like a longer, more in depth version of her book, Beauty, but it is still amazing. The ending highly satisfied me because it is not your traditional Beauty and the Beast ending and I loved it a lot! Though nothing can compare to the magic of Disney's Beauty and the Beast this is a book that should not go without being read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was about thirteen when I first read this, and I remember absolutely loving it! I think you have to have patience and maturity in order to fully appreciate this book. The detail and the writing weave around you like a spell. I definately reccommend this to young girls, and I think it is the best re-telling of Beauty and the Beast that I have read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Though I have to agree with some reviewers one the fact that this story takes a while to get to the conflict, the end result is incredible. This is definately my favorite retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Every little detail in the book winds into a satisfying and truly wonderful end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED Rose Daughter! It gives Beauty and the Beast a shocking new twist.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is another great book of McKinley's. It is much better than the normal version of Beauty and the Beast; McKinley makes fairy tales seem possible. READ THIS BOOK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to say that this is the one of best stories I ever read. If you like to read fairy tales or magic or nature this is definately the book for you. I read this book in one night because of the excitment and love. As I was reading I was getting a better idea of what McKinley was talking about. The greenwitch stuff and all. I truely recommend this book as well as all of Robin McKinley's books. This book definately deserves five stars.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beauty and the Beast could never measure up to Robin McKinley's version, Rose Daughter. In this captivating tale Beauty finds true love in what she thought would be her imprisonment. The story is touching with a great perception of the heartbreak of a young girl forced from her own home, but stays true to the love that was meant to be. In my opinion it outdoes any other versions of Beauty and the Beast ever written, including the original.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Robin McKinley captivated the true essence of the story 'Beauty and the Beast' in this heartwarming tale of a woman taken from her home to be in care of a horendous monster only to find true love in the most unexpected place.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book sends me into a world of romance and wonder. I was enchanted by a quiet girl named Beauty, who charmed the heart of a monster. I could not put it down! I am 12, going on thirteen, but no matter how old you are, you will be entranced by this classic retelling of a wonderful story. The way she puts her words together are like magic, truly wonderful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rose Daughter, written by Robin McKinley, is a fantasy about a girl named Beauty and her family. Beauty, her father and two sisters, Lionheart and Jeweltongue, are forced out of their house and they move away to a little cottage on the edge of a small town. Here, Beauty takes care of the garden and brings back to life the magical roses that once grew there. Continuing in the original Beauty and the Beast theme, Beauty is forced to go to the Beast¿s enchanted castle, because of a rose her father took for her. There Beauty helps the Beast bring his garden of roses back to life; at the same time she falls in love with him. The ending is surprising. Robin McKinley brings out a more interesting version of Beauty and the Beast, and a beautiful love story. The beginning ties in nicely with the story; she shows many examples of foreshadowing. Anyone who loves the story of Beauty and the Beast will love this book. The beginning is a little lengthy, but once past that the story flows nicely. I definitely recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great romance story. I love Beauty and the Beast stories and this one, along with 'Beauty' (also by Robin Mckinley), is my favorite. This book can be read over and over, the symbolism is captivating. An excellent book for girls of all ages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot of Robin McKinley's books, and I like them all. This one was really good... READ IT!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A lot of books claim to be magical, but this book puts it's money where it's mouth is. Robin Mckinley claimed that she was done with beauty and the beast after Beauty was published, I loved Beauty but I'm glad Mckinley was wrong because Rose Daughter puts a new, beautiful spin on the classic tale that no one would expect. <3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Montikaa More than 1 year ago
Alright so I've literally never written a book review before. Well I have reason to write one now. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite story line. Maybe that's why I'm so bummed about this. Robin McKinley is fantastic, however this book was horrible. I hated it. And for me to actually go out of my way to write this is a big deal. It is more about gardening than the actual storyline. And the relationship between Beauty and the Beast is lame. Most of the time Beauty doesn't give the beast the time of the day. She's absorbed and literally obsessed with roses. I get it roses are part of the story but holy crap dude. Yet by the end of the book she loves the guy??? What's up with that? There was no relationship built. Suddenly he's just an aquaintance that happens to live in the house and next thing she is madly in love with him????....the story line in this book was poor. Really poor. Like I said. If you're obsessed about roses and talking to yourself than this book is for you. Then again if you are a die hard Beauty and the Beast fan like myself then you probably will have to get it just to see for yourself. But if it does come to this, I have one word of serious advice. LIBRARY. Don't waste money on this one......sucks...cause I love Robin McKinleys work...especially Beauty, A Retelling of Beauty and the BEast....but this is NOTHING like that.... :-(
Crystal_Kido More than 1 year ago
I loved this story and felt that it was a great re-telling of the story Beauty and the Beast. This book has many interesting elements to it and is a great book to read!
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pinkfairytale More than 1 year ago
This book, even though a great read, lacked the simplicity of Beauty ( Robin Mckinley's other book). This book was filled to the brim with detail. It was a lot longer that Beauty and I think that this was just a more complex remake of her earlier book. So even though I suggest that you read this book if you want a simpler version I suggest just reading Beauty.
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