It’s official. Mismatched Socks now has a whole separate category for reviews of books based on Beauty and the Beast. In addition, I formally announce my quest to find the best retelling. I’ve already said how much I love Beauty and the Beast, and I figured it’s only fair that I give it the attention it deserves. Also, an avid Beauty and the Beast fan I have a duty to warn other Beauty and the Beast fans against all the TERRIBLE retellings out there, and bring good ones to their attention. Therefore, I formally announce my quest for the best Beauty and the Beast retelling. May the best retelling win. (And may the odds be ever in your favor.)
Sorry! Sorry! I promise that is the only Hunger Games reference you will ever encounter on this blog. Let’s move on to the review!
In this retelling of Beauty and the Beast, the author kept close to the original narrative of the story. The story follows Beauty and her family after her father’s shipping business falls apart. Per the original story Beauty’s father hears that one of his lost ships has returned to port and he asks his daughters what he can get them. Of course Beauty asks for a rose, and we all know what happens after that.
I think the reason I enjoyed this story so much is because of the positive family relationships. Normally Beauty’s father is portrayed as a weak-willed, hapless fool and her sisters are made into jealous harpies. In this story, however, Beauty’s father is a kind man who truly takes his daughters’ happiness into consideration. Furthermore Beauty’s and her sisters are friends and confidantes, each looking out for the others’ best interests. All the secondary characters in general had well-written personalities; they didn’t feel two dimensional to me.
Of course, equally as important as Beauty is the Beast, and Robin McKinley did a seriously good job of writing his character. Throughout the book he is a complete gentleman, and almost from the start him and Beauty become friends. Also I liked that the author kept the original plot line of the story where each night the Beast asks Beauty whether she will marry him.
All around I really enjoyed this retelling, and it’s definitely one of the best I’ve read. Also for some reason I was surprised when I realized this book was published in 1993. I have no idea why.
P.S. This book also reminds me of a french Beauty and the Beast movie made in 2014 that I had watched. It had really great costuming and visuals, and also kept mostly with the original plot of the story. Plus I’m a sucker for foreign movies…