With Disney’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast hitting theaters, I thought I’d revisit my favourite version of the story.
Robin McKinley in Rose Daughter, 1997
“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 dazzled readers with the power of her novel Beauty. Now this extraordinarily gifted novelist returns to the story of Beauty and the Beast with a fresh perspective, ingenuity, and mature insight. With Rose Daughter, she presents her finest and most deeply felt work–a compelling, richly imagined, and haunting exploration of the transformative power of love.”
I adore Robin McKinley books. Her stories are so captivating and magical while maintaining realism with her down to earth heroines. Rose Daughter is McKinley’s second re-telling of the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, following Beauty and her two older sisters Lionheart and Jeweltongue as they adjust to their new life without wealth. One of the things I love about this story is the depth of character that all three girls are given. Despite their background roles in the over all story, Lionheart and Jeweltongue are interesting characters in their own right, not simply existing to further Beauty’s growth. I would love to read about what Lionheart and Jeweltongue did while Beauty was tending roses in the Beast’s glasshouse.
Rose Daughter is probably my favourite version of Beauty and the Beast (yup, I like it better than Disney. Come. At. Me.), which is par for the course because I love McKinley versions. Everything about the story flows naturally, the strength of our characters to step up to their circumstances is shown through their actions, and the theme of love in all its forms (romantic, familial, platonic) are expertly woven through the story. Our leading ladies are clever, witty, engaging, and their growth is a joy a witness.
Can you tell I love this book? Just wait until I do a write up on Spindle’s End.
Be sure to check out SurLaLune Fairy Tales, it is an incredible website with annotated fairy tales and includes versions of the tales from different cultures (I linked to their Beauty and the Beast page above).
This has been according to Hatchet, thanks for being here! ❤
[Featured photo from pexels.com | Synopsis and cover from goodreads.com]