As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

May 10, 2012

ROSE DAUGHTER, by Robin McKinley, 1997

Once upon a time an enchanting young woman named Beauty nurtured a rose garden in barren soil. Her gift for cultivating such rare flowers was truly magical and her roses adorned homes throughout the village, bringing joy and love to all who chanced upon their exotic scent. But one summer, Beauty’s roses did not blossom. Without their presence her family and neighbors became ill-tempered and nature itself lost the light and warmth of the season. Even more heartbreaking, the roses no longer protect Beauty from her nightmares of a monstrous Beast—a Beast it is her destiny to meet and whose heart and soul she must nurture with love… (Goodreads)

Reviewed by: Laina, a bookworm

I found this beautiful book at a library sale. I have been an ardent fan of Robin McKinley's books ever since. At the back of my copy is an author's note by Robin Mckinley. She says that someone once said that in every author there is one story. It is up to the author to tell that story better again and again. Robin McKinley says her story is Beauty and the Beast. She wrote Beauty twenty years before Rose Daughter. She says life taught her things and she wanted to rewrite that story again.

I would say roses hold this story together. Rose was the scent of Beauty's mother's perfume. Rose Cottage was the name of their little home. Roses covered their cottage, growing under Beauty's loving hands. A rose is all Beauty's father took from the Beast's home. Roses were the reason Beauty stayed, so she thought. And a rose brought her back to the Beast.

I think one of my favorite parts about this book is how the names all reflect their people. Lionheart and Jeweltongue are Beauty's sisters. Lionheart is the wild, tomboyish sister, she roars when she is angry. Jeweltongue has a way with words. People say that Lionheart will give you a real beating, while Jeweltongue will give you a verbal one. Beauty says all she has is beauty, but she is so much more. She holds her family together when tragedy strikes. She is sweet and kind and hopeful.

This story has Robin McKinley's unique magic. It follows the same lines as the original Beauty and the Beast, but it is much more full of life and love and magic. There is one difference in this story, but if I told you it would ruin the ending. Read this beautiful book. I've read it twice already and it was only better the second time.

Market: if you can read, you can probably read this book
Language: none
Sensuality: none
Violence: none to speak of
Themes: fairy-tale retelling, love, magic, roses

Book formats:


Anonymous said...

I adore Robin McKinley's work. BEAUTY was one of the favorite novels of my girlhood, and I remember being really puzzled by ROSE DAUGHTER, which seemed so similar to BEAUTY. With your quote in mind, that "life taught [McKinley] things and she wanted to rewrite that story again," it all makes sense!

Thank you for sharing this book!

E. C. said...

Oh, I love this book. I want to acquire it for my collection someday. Of course, I have a long, long list of books that I want to acquire ... a looooong list, I'm afraid. But this one is so good. I love it. And I loved the ending - it made so much sense to me!