This is the beginning of a journey for me. I fell in love with Robin McKinley years ago (I can’t remember exactly but it was probably around 4th or 5th grade) with The Hero and the Crown, which will probably always be one of my favorites. So when we got the author study assignment well my first choice was obvious. I’ve procrastinated a bit so these will be coming pretty quick. So be ready for a whirlwind of 10 Robin McKinley wonders!
Beauty’s real name is Honour, she got her nickname when being told about her and her sister’s names when she was a small girl, but she feels her older sisters would be more deserving of the title. Her father starts out as a wealthy merchant but their fortune takes a sudden turn for the worst and one of their lost ships had the eldest Grace’s fiancee’ on it. So they set off to live with Ger a young blacksmith in love with Hope. Then father goes on a trip one day and on his way back gets lost in the mysterious woods and stumbles upon a castle where he is greeted with invisible hospitality. Beauty wanted some rose seeds and when he sees beautiful roses he takes one without asking and incurs the wrath of the Beast. He returns to his family but in one month he must return to die or one of his daughters must go live in the castle. Okay I’m rambling. We all know the story though most of us know the Disney version. As always McKinley’s descriptions are sensual and detailed. This may be a retelling but the plot is filled with depth and is character driven. Even though Beauty must go alone there is still a strong family relationship. She is a strong female protagonist but not so strong that she loses her resemblance to average young women in their doubts and fears. This is why I love fantasy: This was McKinley’s first novel published in 1978 and yet you have no awareness of this when reading it. Fantasy is timeless. It does not get dated.