Rose Daughter by Robin Mckinley
::This book review may have spoilers::
So a little back-story before this book review; I know it’s an older book, but I feel like I have an emotional connection to it. That may sound a bit nutty but when I was a kid (think 3rdgrade to 9thgrade) I read and read and read. I didn’t have a ton of friends besides my cousins and I was much happier or content to get lost in a book. I found this book in about 8thgrade and remember checking it out multiple times.
But then I never read or found it again. I couldn’t remember the title or the author, I couldn’t only remember that it was based off of Beauty and the Beast and that the cover looks sort of: Dark blue or purple with a rose trailing up the side. Not a lot of help there, even with Google searches. Then I was on twitter in a hotel room while my boyfriend was at an aquarium convention, and all of a sudden I see the cover that I’ve been searching for! The power of the Internet: Bringing lost books to those who love them.
Now that I’ve told you that sappy lost and found story, this may be one of my first book review posts. I’m still learning + growing + making mistakes so if I say something weird know that. It’s safe to assume that there will be spoilers and I’m going to try to write some later on that don’t. I’m not exactly sure how to do that yet. If you have any helpful tips on writing these kinds of posts or have a blog post yourself about it, please leave your link down below! I love to read posts like this.
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
A magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast. This retelling has more backstory for lovely Beauty and her family that has fallen on hard times. They’ve made the best of their situation but then things have taken a turn for the worse. The introduction to the Beast comes pretty late in the book but that doesn’t dampen his fierceness. The story is full of roses, love and acceptance while showing others how they can adapt to less than great circumstances.
What I Loved About The Book
What I loved about the book, are the same things I loved fifteen years ago. I love anything magical, but I also love thinking of a home/castle doing things for me. Speaking aloud wishing I had something and then finding it behind a chair or under a bed. The bath being drawn for Beauty and the matchy -matchy clothes laid out for her every evening gives me a warm feeling inside.
I mentioned that there is more backstory for Beauty and her family. I think that this added an additional layer to the story that the more traditional telling doesn’t. She also has two sisters, which because of their haughty-ness at the beginning of the story almost reminds me of Cinderella’s awful step –sisters than anything else. Maybe a combining of the fairytales is a more accurate comparison.
The significance and the repetitiveness of the rose was a great adding on to the story as well. If you recall, theres is a rose in the original Beauty and the Beast. But in this story, the rose is almost another character in itself. Its only source of growth is love and magic. But not knowing the difference is an ignorance that most of the town people share. They are begging for another magical being in their midst. It isn’t clear if Beauty is that magical being for them. I think that most of her “power” to grow roses is through her love.
What I Didn’t Love About The Book
I think that it’s really quite a wonderful retelling but there are a couple of things that I could have done without. I think that the pacing of the book could have used some work. There were moments that it felt like it was dragging, that I almost wanted to skip through but kept on. I think as someone that wants to freelance edit, I would have suggested cutting some parts out to make it flow a little smoother.
The second part that I didn’t love goes hand in hand with the pacing. The amount of detail in some aspects of the book I felt could have been breezed over. I enjoyed hearing about the garden and the things that Beauty noticed that changed but there are some aspects of her journey, for example finding the burn area that could have been condensed down due to the amount of detail added. It didn’t take anything away from the story for me, but I felt my eyes glazing over a couple of times.
I Would Recommend This Book To..
Someone that really enjoys imaginative retellings of fairytales or older stories. This book could even be considered a time period novel or fantasy with the magical elements. It also as elements of a love story to it just like the traditional Beauty and the Beast story, but that part is a little hurried so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend if you were looking for romance.
Where you can get this book:
About the Author
Jennifer Carolyn Robin McKinley (born November 16, 1952), known as Robin McKinley, is an American author of fantasy and children’s books. Her 1984 novel The Hero and the Crown won the Newbery Medal as the year’s best new American children’s book.
As of 2015, McKinley has written or contributed to twenty books. Her most recent novel is Shadows (2013). (Source)
I hope that you enjoyed reading my first book review. I didn’t make anything off this review; it was purely for my own enjoyment and practice. I’m sure I’ll start feeling more comfortable doing more in the future and knock some kinks out of my own writing. They say practice makes perfect, so be prepared for more practice! Feed back is always appreciated.