Rose Daughter

by robin-mckinley

Paperback, 2008



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Ace Books 2008-07-01 (2008), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages


Beauty grows to love the Beast at whose castle she is compelled to stay, and through her love he is released from the curse that had turned him from man to beast.


Mythopoeic Awards (Finalist — Children's Literature — 1998)
Best Fiction for Young Adults (Selection — 1998)


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Physical description

336 p.; 5.57 inches

Media reviews

Ironically, this reworking has disabled the fairy tale, robbing it of tension and meaning, and creating for her readers a less usable enchantment.

User reviews

LibraryThing member MuseofIre
This is supposed to be McKinley's more considered and mature take on the Beauty and the Beast story, but I think it's clearly lacking something poignant that Beauty captured perfectly. I do like the characters of the sisters, and the way they build their new lives entirely on their own, without the
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help of any men. But I don't buy that the kind of love this story requires can be built in a week (even an enchanted week), most of which Beauty spends gardening; I think the story of exactly who the Beast is and how he became that way is extremely murky and unconvincing; and there's way too much minutia about growing roses -- and that's even before we get to the part about unicorn dung compost.
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LibraryThing member mybookshelf
When Beauty’s father is forced into a bargain with a Beast, giving him Beauty in exchange for the rose she had asked for, Beauty agrees to go to the Beast in his enchanted palace. Alone out of all their village, Beauty has the power to make the roses grow, and, despite her terror of the Beast,
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she determines that her purpose must be to make his roses grow also. And roses, as everyone once knew, are for love.

I am not particularly familiar with the actual story of ‘Beauty and the Beast’; in fact my knowledge of it does not go much beyond the Disney film. But I love to read retellings of known plots, perhaps because of the comfortable assurance of knowing how everything will turn out happily ever after. The author includes a detailed personal ‘note’ at the end of Rose Daughter, explaining how she came to write this novel, its relationship to the original story, and how it turned out the way it did. I also love it when authors share a little of their process and their personal circumstances with the reader, as it helps me to feel closer to them and therefore to their stories.

Since her childhood, Beauty has dreamed of a shadowed corridor, down which she must walk, to face a monster waiting only for her. There are other mystical elements to this story, too: magic is an integral part of the lives of Beauty’s community, though her father has forbidden its use in their home. Yet in many ways this is a domestic story, of how Beauty and her sisters care for their father after the death of their mother. Somehow the author manages to inject a sense of ‘fairy tale’ into the whole story, even though Beauty does not meet the Beast for more than a hundred pages.

This is a story about growth and rejuvenation. In the Beast’s enchanted domain nothing lives or grows, except one rose bush which clings to life inside his glasshouse. With Beauty’s presence, however, new life comes to the palace. She cares tenderly for all the roses, and her efforts are gradually rewarded. She is also surprised by a procession of animal visitors who come to greet her and shelter in her rooms, but she treats all comers with dignity, and installs each creature in an appropriate habitat nearby.

Most of all, this story is about roses. They are rare in Beauty’s world, linked in some people’s minds with sorcery. Those familiar with older folklore claim a connection between roses and love- “not… silly sweethearts’ love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole”. For Beauty their scent is a perfume, one of few enduring memories she has of her charismatic mother. A rose is a paradoxical thing, so beautiful yet surrounded with threatening thorns; a reminder that nothing is perfect, and conversely that no ugly thing is without any redeeming beauties.

This is Robyn McKinley’s second novel which retells the traditional story of Beauty and the Beast. If you enjoyed this book I encourage you to read Beauty as well: although written twenty years earlier in the author’s career and therefore perhaps less sophisticated, it is still a joyful, romantic, and magical tale which warms the heart of the reader just as Rose Daughter does.
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LibraryThing member the_hag
Compared to Beauty, Rose Daughter is (in my opinion) softer, gentler and rather like looking at the familiar tale through a's slightly fuzzy and shimmery around the edges. Both versions are slow moving, almost pastoral in nature, there is the beast, but we are absent the menacing feel
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that many retellings of this particular story have. The main "negatives" about Rose daughter are the lack of depth in the Beauty and Beast characters (which I don't know really makes all that much difference in the end) and the utter cacophony of rose talk...there are endless pages of rose gardening, pruning, planting, musing about roses, dreams about them, looking at them, admiring them, talking about the end, I was feeling beat about the head and shoulders with all the rose references and talk. It's clear the author is very in love with roses and the gardening thereof, but I could have done with less of it in the book myself.

In the end, I'm left with the feeling that the individual characters where not so much important as the overall story...the traditional elements are all there...ruined merchant family, three sisters, move to the country, fathers trip to the city for the ship that returned, father gets lost in the woods and finds beast/castle, father takes rose, beast demands daughter, daughter goes to castle/beast and on and on. As in her previous book, the two older daughters are NOT vain, spoiled and mean-spirited nor are any of the daughters all that put out about having such a drastic change of lifestyle. Here again, beauty is hard working, industrious and initially the most helpful of the daughters.

This version is looser, the bones of the original are there and there ARE a lot of similarities between Rose Daughter and Beauty...but where beauty focuses a lot more on the relationship between the Beauty and the Beast, this one feels more focused on the family and how they endeavored and prospered without Beauty and on the back-story of how the Beast came to be...and this time it goes beyond the simple shallow, callousness of a young and vain prince...and I rather liked that about this version. Additionally the use of magic is prominent in both, but is very different in Rose Daughter...darker and more ever present I think is the best way to describe it. There are illusions about a curse and how that all plays out in the end is an interesting twist to the tale.

Overall, I think people who loved beauty and who cannot get past comparing the two may not fully enjoy Rose Daughter...this is a different kind of tale (so very similar, yet strikingly different); its shorter, choppier, doesn't pay as much attention to the main characters as one might think it should, and the ending IS a kind of happily ever after...but not in the way we'd all think, and I think despite it being a good ending, the reality of it is too much for people to accept. For me, I'm good with it, the story is reminiscent of the original feel of fairy tales...Rose Daughter is rich in details and a magically enthralling world but it's vague and fuzzy at the same time. What I mean is that as in most of the original stories there are details or gaps in the story that leave you wondering but...or how...some string of events could possibly work out that way...there is a it of unreality to it that gives the reader pause and for some, that's too uncomfortable a thing to have happen in a story. For me, it comes down to having JUST enough to wonder about (a few loose ends that never really go anywhere) that Rose Daughter lingers, conjuring alternatives that might have been and enjoying over again what was wonderful about this version and in my mind and that's a good think in my book.

In the end, I can enjoy both of McKinley's versions of Beauty and the Beast...for different reasons. I give Rose Daughter a sold A, it's just as readable for me and every bit as enjoyable. I'd recommend it in a heart beat for anyone who enjoys reading revisioned fairy tales...for those addicted to McKinley's usual style of writing or who simply adored Beauty beyond all measure, these readers may have trouble enjoying Rose Daughter because it is a departure from her usual writing style.
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LibraryThing member bluesalamanders
I didn't like this much better than the last time I read it. This is one of my least favorite of Robin McKinley's books (second only to Dragonhaven, now). It just doesn't quite fit together. The writing is still beautiful but it seems like either there are a lot of unrelated ideas sort of smushed
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together to make this book or there was some overzealous editing.
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LibraryThing member jjmcgaffey
I do prefer Beauty to Rose Daughter - Grace and Hope and Beauty seem much more like real people, while Lionheart and Jeweltongue and Beauty are more fairy-tale characters, somewhat abstract and unreal. And I still have no idea who/what their mother was - not the simulacrum, not her daughter or
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descendant, but...linked somehow? Or something. Which leaves the story a little unfinished. So with all that - it is only a good story, not one of my favorites like Beauty. The roses are very symbolic, but also very real - I like this Beauty best when she's dealing with the roses and the animals, and resolutely ignoring the oddnesses of the palace. It's a very rich story, for all its fairy-tale flavor - one of those you can spend a lot of time thinking about when you've finished reading it. But being me - I'm now going to reread Beauty.
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LibraryThing member deslivres5
I didn't like this as much as McKinley's Beauty, her earlier retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale. But she ended Rose Daughter as I always wanted this tale to end.
LibraryThing member the1butterfly
Beauty is Robin McKinley's most popular and earlier retelling of the Beauty and the Beast tale, but I agree with Robin McKinley on this one- this version is more mature. I really loved it- the best part being (and this is a spoiler, so stop reading if you haven't read it yet) that the best doesn't
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change back. One thing that bothers me about so many tellings of the beauty and the beast is that when the best changes back to the handsome prince, the whole message about not being superficial is lost. He only changes back to appeal to our superficial tendencies. What's the point of looking beyond the outer appearence if the outer appearance is truly only transitory. McKinley finds the beast's strengths and turns this into a tale of understanding true beauty. You rock, Robin McKinley!
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LibraryThing member EditrixBeata
This book is long on descriptions of deep emotional terrain. The middle of the story, when Beauty is alone for hours on end, was especially saggy for me.

I loved any scene with Beauty and her sisters, though. They undergo transformations of their own when their life of privilege is lost, and
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witnessing those was my favorite part of the novel.
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LibraryThing member Aerlinn
It was beautiful, but didn't have the exuberance of Beauty; on rereading more McKinley I'm starting to realize that the first novel may have been the most joyous.

Which is not to say Rose Daughter isn't wonderful - it is. It tackled the story in a totally different way, with never an echo of the
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first book. (I wonder if that isn't why it seems somewhat more studied; she must have trod very carefully over the ground she'd already covered to avoid stepping in the same footprints.) I suppose this and her other novels are more "adult" in tone... Still appropriate for young adults, but more mature. Or something.
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LibraryThing member aprildt
This author's other spinning of Beauty & the Beast. I think I like Beauty better. This one was really good, though, and perhaps better developed. The Beast is clearer drawn, Beauty has a larger role in the breaking of the spell. Sometimes McKinley gets swept up in her grand descriptions. I think
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she forgets that lucidity should be one of a writer's goals, not just turning out beautiful phrases one has to wade through.
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LibraryThing member Demiguise
Ms. McKinley decided to revisit the story of 'Beauty and the Beast'. This new story, totally unlike her first try, is interesting but doesn't have the same charm and appeal as 'Beauty'. In places I found it rather confusing and had to interrupt the flow of reading to repeat passages. This is a more
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mature telling of the story, but I still prefer 'Beauty'.
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LibraryThing member kidlitlist
Very different in feel to her original re-telling of this story. Didn't appeal quite as much.
LibraryThing member KarenIrelandPhillips
You know the story of the Beauty and the Beast. Of course you do. Disney even made a movie, right?
You know nothing.
Rose Daughter is a lyrical, fantastic and grounded retelling of the fairy tale. Three sisters, reduced by penury by their father's bankruptcy, remake their lives in a remote cottage
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surrounded by rose bushes.
The oldest daughter disguises herself and becomes a groom to work with the horses she loves, and the middle daughter discovers a passion and talent for sewing and becomes a renowned seamstress. The third daughter, Beauty, tends their ailing father and makes the cottage garden prosper and the roses bloom for the first time in decades.
This is a YA, so not all that long, and I can't really bear to tell you more of the plot because it's just so beautiful. And I'm not being ironic here. The language made me want to put on slippers of gold cloth and dance, or dig my fingers in the dirt - go read it. There are strong themes of family – the three sisters who learn to value themselves – and family - the three sisters who learn to value each other – and the glory of love.
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LibraryThing member phoebesmum
This is cheating on Ms McKinley’s part – she’s already written her own version of 'Beauty and the Beast', why do another one? This is not so very much different from the earlier book, although the stuff about roses was quite fascinating. I’m sure there’s more to growing cuttings than just
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sticking twigs in the ground and adding fertiliser, but really, who knows?
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LibraryThing member The_Hibernator
Beauty and her two sisters were living in the lap of luxury with their successful father when suddenly everything changed. Her father's business failed, and they were left destitute. They made a new beginning in Rose Cottage, where things weren't quite what they seemed. The coming of Beauty's
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family to Rose Cottage was the first step to opening an ancient curse that would change their lives forever. This was an adorable little story...just as enjoyable as McKinley's first retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story. I was skeptical that McKinely could tell the story twice but, although there were some similarities, the two stories were very different. THIS Beauty used her magical gardening capabilities to change the world...
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LibraryThing member ssadar
The story of Beauty and the beast has always been one of my favorites, and I eagerly read different variations to discover each author's individual take on the story. This author has written two, this and the more traditional 'Beauty'. She succeeds in taking the two dimensional characters of the
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fairytale and making them well-rounded, balanced human beings. The most surprising thing about this version, and the only time I have ever encountered it, is the ending. As is usual in the story, the Beast used to be a man until he was transformed by a curse. However, when Beauty agrees to marry him and breaks the curse, he does not turn back into a man. It's a nice change from the 'marriage to a handsome prince equals happily ever after' typical fairytale ending, though it does raise some questions about the mechanics of marriage to a non-human. Beauty is intelligent, caring, and resourceful, but still humanly fallible; this makes her an engaging heroine and enjoyable role model for not only young women, but anyone.
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LibraryThing member Sorrel
Rose Daughter is a beautiful retelling of The Beauty and the Beast. McKinley’s focus on relationship building is what appealed to me the most, and not just between Beauty and the beast: I really enjoyed reading about Beauty’s family as well. On the whole, the writing is good, but toward the end
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of the book I found myself tripping over some of the author’s stylistic choices. There is a lot of repetition and rephrasing that began to draw attention away from the story and more toward its construction the more I noticed it.
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LibraryThing member BugsyBoog
In this beautiful and graceful novel, McKinley retells the fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast. Typical of McKinley’s books, the prose is grand and poetic, truly a joy to read. While this has many of the traditional elements of Beauty and the Beast, it includes other intriguing additions like
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sorcerers, a greenwich, unicorns, and Beauty’s green thumb for roses. Beauty’s father offends the Beast, whose palace provided him safety in a winter storm. The beast made him promise to bring him one of his daughters. When Beauty comes to the castle, she is terrified but intrigued by the Beast, but even more so by his dying rose garden in a greenhouse. Beauty dines with the Beast each night and gently tells him no every night when he asks her to marry him. Beauty tends the gardens until she gets the roses to bloom, and then goes back to her family, promising the Beast she will return before the last petal on his rose falls. Almost too late, she declares her love to save the Beast when she returns. This version has a surprising ending that shows true love: the beast does not turn back into a handsome prince, but he and Beauty live happily ever after in a simple life.

5 Stars—beautiful imagery of the ever-changing magical castle, a well-told tale that shows Beauty as a deep, thoughtful and kind person.
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LibraryThing member RivkaBelle
Where Beauty is a sweet, simple retelling of the story, Rose Daughter reflects a more complex and detailed telling. It was engrossing, reminding me of the way I felt reading Pegasus - it was a story that got deep inside me, invading my dreams and making me think. There's more magic, more danger,
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more development of both characters and the story. It's a complicated story that tugs at the heart and gets into your head. It's a story that requires more of you, as reader, than Beauty did. And I like that. Actually, I love that - I want to get involved with the books I'm reading. (Though I will say I'm very glad I didn't end up crying my eyes out while reading this one like I did during Pegasus!) I was swept up in the story and carried along until the ending - which caught my entirely by surprise. And yet, even though I wasn't expecting it to end the way it did, I was pleased - delightfully happy - with the ending.
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LibraryThing member thelorelei
"Rose Daughter" is Robin McKinley's second take on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, and boy did I have trouble with it as a teenager. I think it is because it is definitely a more mature look at the story; I just reread it for the second time after several years and this time around I
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understood the intent behind this new rendition.
This isn't intended to be cryptic, just to explain that as an idealist teenager, there were some things I didn't "get" about McKinley's new version.
One very interesting aspect of the story is that it is much more directly allegorical than her first book, "Beauty." In this retelling, Beauty's sisters are named "Jeweltongue" and "Lionheart," and they interact with characters such as the seamstress, "Mrs. Bestcloth," and the squire, "Mr. Trueword." The core of the story is the familiar arch of the merchant's family that loses everything in financial ruin, and moves to the country in their hardship. Of course Beauty sacrifices herself in order to save her father when he steals a rose from the castle of a mysterious Beast, and of course she ends up falling in love with this Beast. But the depth with which McKinley paints the experience of loneliness, regret, and heartbreak is something quite beautiful to read, and hard to describe in just a few short paragraphs. Read this for a moving love story (one with a lot of beautiful descriptions of roses).
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LibraryThing member Cassiphone
I love the original Beauty by Robin McKinley, but I love this one more - the story is just a touch more sophisticated and satisfying.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
The most amazing thing about this book is that it is so completely different from Ms. McKinley's first re-writing of beauty and the beast. Almost everything about the first book is turned on its head in this re-telling - and yet, I love it equally well. Some things I thought were fun: all the names
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of people (and even places) are descriptive (Lionheart, Jeweltongue, Longchance). They all suggest things about character and fit well with the main characters (whose names are certainly roles too). The roses are a treasure trove for any rose gardener - there is so much about them. The scents and colors and personalities are all loving described as only someone who loves roses could do. I liked the ending - the idea that love can transcend appearance and it doesn't have to be rewarded in the end with perfection (physical or otherwise). Very satisfying to read this re-visiting of the famous fairy tale - and the author's note at the end is a bonus!
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LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Everyone knows the story of Beauty and the Beast. What makes McKinley's Rose Daughter different is the treatment of Beast. Yes, the moral of the story still stands that true love is blind and even a beast can find love...eventually. Yes, Beauty is selfless and kind, a lover of all nature (even bats
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and toads), but missing is the feeling she is a prisoner; that she is trapped with the beast. In Rose Daughter she can go home at any time. All she has to do is tend to the Beast's roses to repay him for the dark red one her father stole. The other major difference is that Beauty does not end up with a charming prince at the end. I greatly appreciated the choices she had to make, especially the one at the end.
As an aside: Straight away you know you are in for a treat when a bad-tempered dragon on a leash is introduced on the very first page.
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LibraryThing member Karen_D
This is my favorite retelling of Beauty and the Beast! No offence to Beauty (by the same author) but this book is one that I usually read once or twice a year. The story tells of three beautiful sisters who move to the country after their father looses his fortune and how they forge a new life.
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Jeweltounge and Lionheart each take on jobs in town while Beauty tends to the garden. To her surprise the ugly bare bushes bllom into beautiful roses and everyone believes that she is a Hedgewitch. The sisters are not evil as they are in the original fairy tale and they grow as characters and sisters. The story becomes even more interesting when Beauty is sent to the Beast's castle and is there for seven days, each day brings a new animal: a bat, hedgehogs, toads, and even kittiens. We all know that Beauty is going to fall in love with the Beast but the ending is a twist that is beautiful and sweet. Go and read it!
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LibraryThing member wyvernfriend
After Beauty I didn't think that Robin McKinley could do a comparable retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story, I was wrong, it's not better, it's as good, slightly different, more mature but still a good yarn.




½ (723 ratings; 3.9)
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