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Robin McKinley
book cover

Who recommends: Preeti, Lori, Edith, JW, Barbara, Julie, Laurie, Julie, Linda, Shelley, Rebekah, Lynn, Danielle, Catie, Kathleen, Isabel, Suzanne, Tanya, Shelly, Margaret
Who discommends: Leila

One of the first Fantasy I ever read (ok, so I had a misspent childhood. ;)) and still one I pick up often. A lyrical beautiful retelling of the classic Beauty and Beast tale, a book which I measure all other Fairy retellings by.--Rebekah

Well after all the hype, what could I be but slightly disappointed? Please add me as a recommend for this book. I have already recommended it to my daughter as a light and happy read for when she's in that mood. But I do have reservations:
- I think the story really suffers from being de-villainised. Everybody is too damn nice.
- The sense of place seems insecure. Domestic scenes seem rather "Little House"-ish but other indicators suggest that the book is supposed to be set in Europe.
- Although the telling is very fine in places the feeling of the book seems somewhat stodgy and unadventurous. The story is being re-told by padding out rather than being re-invented.
- And (this is a personal thing) while I know that the horse is a very useful beast in a pre-industrial society, I really hate cuddly horse scenes. I tend to think that little girls who love horses need to see the doctor. This may have something to do with my little sister being horse-mad. Anyway there was too much of the horse stuff, and the scene where the horse is forced to approach the Beast struck me as downright cruel. Rather odd in a book where, as noted above, everyone seems extraordinarily nice...--Catie

Still one of my all-time favorites. A great "comfort read."--Kathleen

The first book I read by McKinley and still one of my favourite retellings of this fairy tale. Most of my poor nieces have been handed this book by me as soon as they are old enough to read it.--Isabel (31 Jul 99)

A beautiful retelling of the fairy tale - 'Beauty' is presented as a real person, with real concerns and interests, rather than a pretty cipher. (Love that library. Want to *join* that library. The one with all the books that *will* be written someday..)--Tanya (30 Jul 99)

I adored BEAUTY. I read it so much my copy fell to pieces and I had to buy another one. It's looking rather tatty now, though, so maybe I'd better get another. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy-tale and I think BEAUTY is my favorite retelling.--Margaret (19 Mar 01)

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