Grace, Hope and Honor have lived the finest life in the city, well taken care of by servants and, most importantly, their father. Honor, the youngest, goes by the name of Beauty, although it does not fit her, as she is the ugliest of the three sisters.
When trouble strikes and the family is forced to move into a small house in the country, Beauty hears stories of the Beast who lives in a castle in the woods behind their house. She is unsure if she believes the stories...until her father returns from a trip, claiming that he has seen the Beast, disturbed his presence and now must pay. Either he must return to the Beast, or one of his daughters must take his place. Beauty, and only Beauty, just might have the courage - and the love - to change the lives of everyone she knows.
MY THOUGHTS -
I love books like this. Slow, like thick, sweet honey pouring from a jar. Or like melted chocolate drizzling over strawberries. I don't even know. Just sweet, lovely, and very savory. Wow!
The beginning of Beauty was really good, but the end was good times great. Beauty doesn't even leave for the Castle until after 100 pages in, but I was hooked from the first page! Beauty, her family, their story - all intrigued me. I wanted them to be well. And I love how everything was so perfectly set up and how everything tied into the end.
McKinley's writing is seriously beautiful. It's all-encompassing...like, the words surround you when you read them. I'm dying to get to reading more more more!
CHARACTER NOTES -
Beauty (Honor) is a wonderful character. She's sweet and stubborn and loves without restraint. She's consistent, but I also saw character growth as I read. She made an impression on me and I won't forget her, no matter how many heroines I get around to reading about in life.
Beast is somethin' else. He isn't like the Disney Beast, who goes from "loser" to "lover". I don't want to say anymore abut him and spoil it...but - wow. I loved him from the moment Beauty first met him. Seriously, my heart started pounding!
There are some fun minor characters - Ger, Hope, Grace, the father, even the horse Greatheart. They added to the story and I cared for each one of them individually. I was especially hoping for Grace's story to end happily - read the book to find out if it did!
STORY NOTES -
This is a slow story, but not in a boring way. It draws you in and doesn't let go - but it also gives you room to breathe and just enjoy.
Beauty has some seriously beautiful imagery, especially regarding the gardens. The one scene that talked about the sunset causing the garden to glow a golden color....that's just one instance that had me melting with love for the beautiful descriptions.
The reasons I give this book 4.5 stars and not 5 are not big things, or even issues to begin with - just a few things I wished had been different. I am, still, entirely satisfied and loving this book. I guess my main thing is that I wish the change of feelings in Beauty hadn't been so sudden. I could tell it was coming based on the scenes, and because, DUH, everyone knows how this story ends, but it was a bit too sudden for me when she realized she loves him. Which brings me to my other thought - I wish the last few pages had been more passionate. It was so wonderful and gut-wrenching and lovely and then it was like, "Yay, we're happy. The end."
But despite that, when there was passion.... ACH! Beauty made my heart ache. The nightly proposals, the learning to trust, the sweet, beautiful moments shared... I'm seriously already looking forward to reading it again!!
SUMMING IT UP -
Delectable. I'm still thinking of golden sunshine, red roses, and Prince Charming. That's what Beauty promises, and it delivers perfectly.
For the Parents -
Nothing! A kiss or two. Verrrrry clean. Recommended to 12+!