Beauty by Robin McKinley
A Retelling of the Story of Beauty & the Beast.
Fairy Tales
HarperCollins, 1978.



0-06-024149-7 / 247pgs.
Set in 11/14 Video Garamond; formatted by Harriett Barton.

This is Robin McKinley's first published book.
Told in first person and in three parts.


Part I: When Father's merchant ships are captured by pirates or sunken by storms, his warehouses destroyed and shipments canceled, his family is suddenly poor. So plans are made for the family to retire to the country. They auction their lands and house and belongings, and at Ger's offer, move into his house in the country town of Blue Hill, Goose Landing. Quite a change from their life of leisure in the city. Some time later, word is brought that one of Father's ships has arrived back to port and he sets out claim the goods and pay some debts. Asking what he can bring back for his daughters, Beauty asks for rose seeds. A few months later he returns with a little money, a few goods, and a delicate rose — from which drops golden petals.
Part II: In the morning after his return, Father tells the story of the rose. On his trip back, he and his horse are taken by a great blizzard. Lost and cold, they sought refuge behind iron gates and a castle. Entering an open door to the castle he called aloud, but received no answer, but food was prepared for him and he ate. Enjoying great hospitality, he soon left the castle, stopping only to pluck a rose for Beauty. A roar erupted and a Beast appeared — to claim a price for the rose: the life of the merchant for one of his daughters. Upon hearing this story, Beauty volunteers to make her way to the castle in exchange for her father's life.
Part III: She packs her few belongings, mounts Greatheart, and is on her way. It is not long before she arrives at the castle, where everything is prepared — a stall for Greatheart, dinner, a room, changes in clothes — everything for comfortable rich living. And then she meets the Beast….


Grace: the eldest sister
Hope: the second sister
Honour: "Beauty"; the third sister
Father: proude and honorable merchant
Gervain: "Ger"; Hope's intended
Greatheart: Beauty's horse
Robert Tucker: Grace's intended
Beast: a cursed prince

Prequels, Sequels, & Companion Books

Related Title: Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley

LC Cataloging Information

{1. Fairy tales. 2. Folklore}

Offsite Pages

Read an excerpt on Robin McKinley's site.


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