Sunday, July 29, 2012

Beauty - Robin McKinley (Pocket - 1979)

A strange imprisonment
Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. 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 knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?" 

I love this book.  It is one of my favorites and I try to reread it every couple years.  When his business went under Beauty's father moved his family to the north with his future son-in-law.  The area where they moved to is on the edge of a haunted forest.  When Beauty's father has to return to the city, he gets lost on the way home and ends up in the forest.  When he takes a rose to give Beauty, a Beast tells him that he must bring one of his daughters to the castle to live with him.  Beauty volunteers to go.  She is afraid at first because the Beast is large and the castle appears deserted.   She does get the feeling that she is not truly alone.  She finds that the time she spends with the Beast shows her that he is not the terrifying monster that she thought he was.  She discovers that they have a lot in common and enjoys spending time with him.  After a while there, she starts hearing the voices of the enchanted beings in the castle.  When she learns the fate of her sister's fiance she asks the Beast to let her go home and tell the news.  He tells her she has a week, but longer than that and he will die. I really liked the way that Beauty's family was such a loving family, not the poor little girl abused type of family.   I loved Beauty and her independence.  She seemed to be very adaptable, and handled her time at the castle really well.  I also loved the way that she was able to look past the surface of the Beast and see who he really was.  I loved the enchantments in the castle, and how real all of it felt. The library was especially awesome.  There were some really fun parts, like the argument between Beauty and the "breezes" over the silver dress was great. The ending was perfect fairytale. 

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