Twenty years ago, Robin McKinley dazzled readers with the power of her novel "Beauty". Now she 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.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In this second retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Robin McKinley writes a much darker story than her first one. It starts out the same: Merchant looses all he has, and the family moves away to another smaller town, where Beauty discovers and grows beautiful roses. But they move to a town where magic no longer exists because of what happened a thousand of years ago. No one knows the original story, but when the town discovers Beauty is showing signs of being a greenwitch (for only greenwitches, sorcerers, and other magic practicers can grow roses), they have hope that the curse may be lifted. But after getting lost one winter day, the merchant makes a deal with the Beast to send Beauty to him.
This beautiful retelling should not be compared to Robin McKinley's first retelling of Beauty and the Beast, for it is the own creation, completely separate. This novel is much darker than the first one. There are monsters, prophecies, and the constant plays between darkness and light. The house is not a friendly entity, where it will change the number of doors, or send you where it wants you to go. Nothing is consistent, and you almost have a sense of going crazy as Beauty walks through the house.
Beauty in this story is a gentle woman, who has little confidence in who she really is. After all, her sisters are given names that represent the strengths they have, but Beauty is sometimes feels like the only form of worth she has is in her beauty and in how she can grow roses. The Beast himself seems to be a gentle creature from the start, he is a painter, and though he can't paint well with his beastly hands, he has found other ways to do it.
This novel also doesn't end like any of the other Beauty and the Beast. It ends in a way that you really don't expect. But again **Spoilers, darling, aren't allowed.
Highly recommend this book (especially since I've re-read this book several times).