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Rose Daughter (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Press: Turtleback Books (December 1, 1998)
Author Name:McKinley, Robin


Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay, and through her love he is released from the curse that had turned him from man to beast.

From Booklist

Almost 20 years after her well-received, award-winning Beauty (1978), McKinley reexplores and reexpands on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale.
This is not a sequel, but a new novelization that is fuller bodied, with richer characterizations and a more mystical, darker edge.
Although the Library of Congress catalogs it in the 398s, the book really belongs on the fiction shelves alongside Beauty.
The familiar plot is here, but the slant is quite different, though Beauty's sisters are once again loving rather than hostile as in de Beaumont's original version.
A few scenes are reminiscent of Beauty.
For example, in the dining room scenes in the castle, Beauty eats but the Beast merely is present: "I am a Beast; I cannot eat like a man." In Rose Daughter, Beauty has an affinity for flower gardening, particularly roses, because of her memories of her deceased mother; it is a talent that serves her in good stead as she nurtures the Beast's dying rose garden.
Also, in some nicely done foreshadowing, Beauty suffers from recurring dreams of a long, dark corridor and something--a monster?--waiting for her at the end.
Rose Cottage, where Beauty and her family settle after the father's financial downfall, and the nearby town and its residents, as well as the opulence of the Beast's castle and the devastation of his rose garden, are vividly depicted.
Among the fantasy elements are a prescient cat, the spirit of the greenwitch who willed Rose Cottage to Beauty's family, unicorns, and preternatural Guardians.
There is more background on the Beast in this version, allowing readers to see how he came to be bewitched, and Beauty's choice at the end, a departure from that in Beauty, is just so right.
Readers will be enchanted, in the best sense of the word.
Sally Estes

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From 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.
12+) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“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

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. 
She lives with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Children's Books,Fairy Tales, Folk Tales & Myths,Science Fiction & Fantasy,Fantasy & Magic,Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Comment List (Total:13)

  •     Beautifully written! Unique take on the traditional fairy tale yet not so changed as to not keep charm of original storyline. Loved it!

  •     I always love her books, but then, Beauty and the Beast was always my favorite fairy tale. And almost all of her books are some take on the theme.

  •     You don't even feel like you're reading a book, the book is so well written, the language perfect, that it's feels you are reading a real fairy tale.

  •     This was very well done, with a much more logical and satisfactory ending.

  •     Fabulous retelling of Beauty and the Beast, one of my favorite fairy tales. This story has the best ending of all the retelling I have read.

  •     What a surprise this book was. I could not put it down. If you like Beauty and the Beast, it Is a must.

  •     My favourite fairy-tale of all-time is Cindrella, but The Beauty and the Beast is a very close second and I simply adore what McKinley did with the classic story. She put her own twist to it in a magical way that simply grabbed my attention and made it very, very difficult for me to put the book down late at night. Rose Daughter both is and isn't your typical Beauty and the Beast story and I simply loved reading it.I admit, it was slow at times, but slow was just the thing I needed at the moment. It was just the right pace for me and I while some readers are not happy with the way McKinley decided to dot the i with this one, I have to say that I'm one of those readers who like that ending. I like that it's different and I liked that I didn't predict it right from the start.I'm not saying that this book is perfect, because it isn't, but it was damn good and I didn't care in the slightest about the fact that Beauty and Beast didn't get to really interact before there was love; I didn't care that some of it made little sense (e.g. flowers blooming in less than 7 days when at the beginning they were dying); I didn't care that some questions I had, were left unanswered, because all that matters, is that I had a real good time reading and I would gladly read more of McKinley's books when I get the chance.

  •     Love this book, and I have sense I was in junior high. She does a wonderful job of weaving the classic tale with a slight twist. She give reason to Beauty and Beast's love.

  •     Wow, I normally love Beauty & the Beast books, but this was such a disappointing read. The story lumbers on so slowly before the Beast ever even appears.

  •     I will preface by saying two things: First that I have not read Beauty, though I'm not sure why I haven't; somehow I simply never did. So I came to this with nothing to compare it to except all the many other retellings of the tale I have read, so perhaps Beauty is better or perhaps it is only different and perhaps also nostalgic. And second I will say, I have been a fan of Robin McKinley since I was a little girl, drinking down the story of the Blue Sword, and then the Hero and the Crown, and I have always loved these stories in a way that is delighted and yet also a bit melancholy. It is a skill of the author, to write a story that makes your whole heart swell right along with her characters', and then when the story is over you are left feeling as if you are saying farewell to a friend who became very dear in a very brief time.So perhaps this is not the tale for you, and certainly it is not always the tale for me even, for sometimes to feel melancholy is very terrible. But it is a very good story, in its way. A charming and lovely one.I will be honest, for all that I half wish to just yell that everyone should read this, and give a nice little list of pros and cons, as they stood out to me:ProsBeauty is quite an excellent version of her character. She is strong in heart and mind, and though her name is Beauty for her physical beauty, it seems to apply more to her inner beauty, for her most prominent character trait is probably that she is kind. But it doesn't feel forced or cheesy or cliche, and she isn't kind in the face of anything ridiculous. She is patient, but she's not a wimp or a wilting damsel.The Beast is interesting. I liked how he became a beast, who he was before, and his casual kindness.This is a book of much kindness, triumphing over evil, which I personally think is splendid.The relationship between Beauty and her sisters is nice. It's well-developed, the sisters are distinct characters, who don't always get along but in a realistic way. Their character development is perhaps abrupt, but it didn't feel that way, or if it does it feels like it is abrupt because it ought to be. It makes sense, and they don't become different people entirely--they are simply different.There are others but I'm terrible at making a bullet point, so I'll summarize the pros as: the characters are generally good, the setting is elaborate without taking so long to decide everything as to make you stop caring, the repeated themes and similar are very nice, and overall it's just an enjoyable read.ConsThere are only three big cons I can think of. First off, what feels most important to me, is the Beast himself. He has many excellent moments, but he never quite develops into a character. He is always the Beast and, even when theoretically developed, he just falls a bit flat, which draws from my second major con:Underexplaining. The more I think about the story, the more questions I come up with. Some of it is simply the underexplaining of a fairy tale, and didn't bother to much. But even those bother you, once you've (metaphorically or otherwise) put the book down. I won't actually ask the questions, because they're spoilers, but while key things are explained--some key things aren't. Some very important things are--left up to interpretation I guess? It's odd, mostly. And some of them aren't explained but you definitely know the truth of them by the end--but at the same time, you (or at least I) would have liked then expanded upon.Finally, the fairytale cliche: instalove. The romance between Beauty and the Beast is...unconvincing. It's not distracting, or terrible, but it's, well. It's instalove. It has to be said.But I'm giving it five stars. Because despite everything, reading it was a delight.

  •     To be honest Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairytale. Nothing really compares to Belle who loves to read and The Beast who gives her that beautiful library that I saw as a child and dreamed about having since. I've read a few retellings and one of the ones I liked the best was Beauty. There were a few things I had issues with, like the abrupt ending, but overall when I read it last year I liked it.When this title promised to be better, I anticipated 20 years of writing experience would indeed work in McKinley's favor. After this long drawn out retelling though, I would stick with the original.This retelling is completely independent of Beauty no matter what Goodreads would have you believe. (TBH - I think part of my struggle with this book was I anticipated it coming full circle back to Beauty at some point) The first half of the book was slow but manageable. The sisterly relationship is quite similar to the first retelling and I enjoy that bond in both stories. The book seemed to take a turn when Beauty traveled to the Beast's castle. The writing became too description heavy and drawn out for me to really focus on the story. Several times I found myself lost or confused about what was happening and had to reread long sections to try and absorb it again. There was a particular section at the end of the book where Beauty is lost and struggling to find her way out of Beast's castle. I nearly gave up at that point! That section was odious to read. These drawn out sections reduced my investment in the characters to nothing and I skimmed the rest of the way through the story. Overall, I was disappointed.The story of Beauty and her family is interesting and I was pleased with their character arcs. Her sisters especially have more character depth. Beauty wasn't as spunky or lively as the other two. Just like Beauty I felt their absence after she left home for the castle. The lore McKinley created within the story was interesting and well constructed. The mystery was simply drawn out too long and too focused on growing roses. The hard part is I understand what the author was trying to do. After reading her author's note at the end I see how she was trying to incorporate her love of gardening and struggle with gardening roses into this story. As a plot device though it made the plot meander too many times.Personally, I was glad to finally get to the end of this story. It seems I will always have a love/hate with McKinley's writing. I've adored some of her books and others have fallen flat like this one. We'll see what my next read brings.

  •     Robin McKinley has done it again. Her retelling of this long time favorite is thoughtful and well-written. Everything from the dog to the Beast is brought to life.

  •     This would be good one for live movie and earlier book Beauty for animation. I like both Disney versions as well.


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