Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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?"
Robin McKinley's beloved telling illuminates the unusual love story of a most unlikely couple: Beauty and the Beast.
My Thoughts: I picked up this book because it was the selection for the online book club I am a part of. I love the Beauty and the Beast fairytale (who wouldn't) so I was very excited to read this one.
It started out a little slow for me. In fact, it took all of Part One before I really got into it. The first part was all the background which is, of course, important but I was slightly bored with it. After Papa comes back and tells his story and Beauty decides to go to the Beast, it was hard to put down. I loved the enchantments and, while I found myself imagining the helpers as a teapot and cup (courtesy of Disney), I found that they were still very fun and I loved that it was a clean read. It is suitable for young readers as well as older readers.
I do wish that the ending had a little more to it. It felt a little rushed and crammed into a couple of pages. I would have liked another couple of chapters on the transformation of Beauty, her family and the castle and Beast. When Beauty left her family, they were not big fans of the Beast and then, after the transformation, all was wonderful and her family was at the castle in loving, happy moods. I would have liked to have known how that happened, how the family knew, how Robbie got there so quickly and so on. Did the transformation take months and Beauty just fell asleep or what? Last we heard, it would take 12 weeks for Robbie to get back to the family and then they all magically appear within minutes. Maybe I just missed a key point (it was late when I finished it) but I just felt that something was missing there.
All in all, I think it was a very sweet retelling of one of my favorite fairytales. I would recommend it to my friends and students at my school!