by Robin McKinley
336 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Taralin

A fun retelling of a fairytale, with only a slightly unbalanced plot line.


Beauty and her two sisters, Grace and Hope, live happily with their prosperous merchant father. But when heavy misfortune falls on their family and forces them to abandon their high style of living, their lives are filled with new challenges and difficulties. While on a journey to regain the family fortune, Beauty's father offends a strange creature living deep in the woods, and a troubling choice is presented to Beauty. Does she have the courage to forsake her family in order to save them?


Good is good and evil is evil. Beauty's family is kind and loving, and she herself is also a good heroine.

Spiritual Content

Beauty mentions going to church, but nothing else is said about it. Beauty's captor has a mirror with some magical properties, and there is one enchantment. She also has a pair of invisible maids who chatter around her and help her dress.


None, other than Beauty's father being threatened by the creature in the woods.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Because Beauty is rather tomboyish in nature, she participates in events like plowing and building. She remarks that the men see her as one of themselves and would give her beer upon completion of a hard job.

Sexual Content

One of Beauty's sisters mentions marrying her betrothed and "start[ing] a baby" before he leaves on a sea voyage. A young man kisses Beauty; at another point she unknowingly falls asleep in the Beast's arms, though when she wakes she runs away.

Crude or Profane Language or Content



Overall, I immensely enjoyed this classic tale retold. The author did a superb job of developing Beauty's character and creating her warm, sympathetic family; however, I didn't feel that the Beast's personality was as well-developed. Also, the book seemed slightly unbalanced, spending more time on Beauty's history and not enough when she lived at the castle. Aside from these small objections, this book provided an excellent read.

Fun Score: 4
Values Score: 4
Written for Age: 11-12

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