In a briefer recasting of Leprince Beaumont's beloved tale than McKinley's fine novelization (1978), Willard grounds the story in the opulent materialism of the late 19th century, with Beauty's father as a wealthy New York merchant; their country retreat is in the Hudson Valley, where the Beast's magical Victorian mansion fits right in with a region renowned for supernatural happenings. Willard's telling is brisk but lyrical, of course, the lovely romantic touches delicately balanced with wry humor. There are but two sisters here, as self-serving as Cinderella's; in an abruptly vengeful conclusion, they become a pair of andirons. Otherwise, the tone is gentle, with much of the interest in the enchanting details of the Beast's magical home and garden. Moser provides 14 wood engravings, handsome but rather austere for attracting much of the book's natural audience. There are telling (but distancing) portraits of Beauty and her sisters; a poignant take on the beast--deformed face, haunted eyes; the brooding mansion; and, representing the denouement, a chaste pair of hands, not quite clasped. A felicitous retelling, in an elegant format that leaves plenty of ""scope for the imagination.