Robin McKinley's Beauty external image 51F2TT3G2ZL.jpg

beau·ty [byoo-tee] –noun, plural: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind

Beauty, written by Robin McKinley is a retelling of the classic story, Beauty and the Beast.


A girl whose birth given name was Honour, never liked her nickname...Beauty. The nickname was given to her when she was young and she kept it, even though she did not feel like it suited her. She was thin and awkward and was not as gorgeous as her two older sisters, Grace and Hope. Grace the eldest, was 7 years older than Beauty. Grace was stunning with wavy blonde hair and beautiful blue eyes. Hope, Beauty's other sister, was 5 years older than her. Hope had chesnut-brown hair and smoky green eyes. Both were tall, slim, and elegant. Unlike her two older sisters, Beauty did not consider herself beautiful. She had mousy, unruly hair and muddy hazel eyes.

Beauty's father was a merchant, one of the wealthiest in the city. They lived in a huge house with eighteen rooms maintained by several hired servants. When Beauty was around the age of sixteen her father got news that all of his ships had gone missing. They began to lose money and were forced to move to the country. It was a long and tiresome six week journey. Five of them, Beauty, her father, Grace, Hope, and Gervain, moved into a decent sized four room house, but it was a drastic change for all of them. They were now considered commoners.

One day Beauty's father got word that one of his ships had returned. He traveled back to the city to see what remained of the ship. Beauty asks her father for one thing to be brought back from his visit to the city, some rose seeds. On his return home, Beauty's dad gets caught in a blizzard. He is lead to a castle and spends the night there. Before leaving the castle, he sees walls near the castle overflowing with roses. He then remembers the rose seeds. He climbs off his horse and picks just one rose. This angers the resident beast that has been watching him from within the castle. In return for the rose, Beauty's father must choose to return alone or with one of his daughters. He must choose his fate, death or surrendering one of his daughters to live with the beast. The father returns home and shares this horrifying situation with his family. Beauty knows what she has to do to spare her father's life. She agrees to live with the beast even though her father forbids her to. He would rather have his own life taken, than give his youngest daughter a life she does not deserve. A conclusion is made that Beauty will go and live with the beast.

After one month, Beauty and her father return to the castle. At first Beauty does not feel comfortable near the beast. He makes her feel scared. Beauty and the beast begin to grow fond of each other, after living together for much time. One night Beauty asks to see her family. The beast agrees for her to go, as long as she would return within a weeks time or the consequence would be his death. Beauty returns to the castle a little over a week later, due to travel time. She makes it back just in time to save the beast's life. The curse is broken. The beast transforms into a handsome gentleman. They soon get married and live happily ever after.


Beauty: Main characer, lives and falls in love with the beast
Grace: The eldest daughter and Beauty's oldest sister
Hope: Beauty's other older sister, second eldest daughter
Huston (Father): Beauty, Grace, and Hope's father, wealthy merchant
Gervain: Hope's fiance
Beast: A cursed man that is a beast, Beauty goes to live with him in his castle and they fall in love


I enjoyed reading Beauty, although I questioned how another novel could be so similar to the original Beauty and the Beast. It was a great story and I liked the romantic ending. I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I wouldn't have already seen the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. I compared many aspects of characters and the setting to those in the movie. The unfortunate part about reading this well written novel, is that I could predict what may come next. It was an easy, entertaining book and it made me want to read more. I would give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

About the Author:

Jennifer Robin Carolyn McKinley (Robin McKinley) was born on November 16, 1952 in Warren, Ohio. Her father was in the United States Navy and they moved around frequently. She had a passion for reading and according to her, it was one of the only constant things in her life. She then began writing stories based on events, places, and time periods in books that she read. She attended Gould Academy, a preparatory school, as well as Dickinson College from 1970-1972. She began her writing career at age 26 and her first novel was Beauty. After Beauty, her writing career continued with several other stories. Some of them include Dragonhaven, The Blue Sword, and Sunshine. She now lives in England with her husband, Peter Dickinson.

Works Cited:

McKinley, Robin. Beauty. HarperCollins Publishers, 1978.
Beauty book cover. 4 Jan. 2008.
Ridder, Amanda J. "Robin McKinley". Robin McKinley Official Home Page. Jan. 1997. 25 Jan. 2008.
"Books by Robin McKinley". 6 Nov. 2001. 25 Jan. 2008.