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ROSE DAUGHTER by Robin McKinley Kirkus Star


by Robin McKinley

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1997
ISBN: 0441005837
Publisher: Greenwillow

This luxuriant retelling of the story of the Beauty and the Beast is very different from McKinley's own Beauty (1978). While sticking to the tale's traditional outlines, this version by turns rushes headlong and slows to a stately pace, is full of asides and surprises, and is suffused with obsession for the rose and thorn as flora, metaphor, and symbol. Beauty can make anything grow, especially roses; her memories of her dead mother are always accompanied by her mother's elusive rose scent. The Beast's aroma is also of roses, as is the scent of a sorcerer and a greenwitch. Eroticism, comfort, hard work, and the heart's deep love are all bound in rose imagery, from the curtains and tapestries of the Beast's palace to the Rose Cottage home of Beauty's family. Roses stand for all the many different facets of love (the text is specific on that): Beauty's for her father and her vividly etched sisters Lionheart and Jeweltongue; for a family hearth and safe home; for a puppy named Tea-cosy; and most incredibly but satisfyingly, for the Beast who has haunted her nightmares since childhood. While the story is full of silvery images and quotable lines, it will strike some as overlong and overblown; for others, perhaps those who were bewitched by Donna Jo Napoli's Zel (1996), it is surely the perfect book. (Fiction. 12+)