From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up. Gertrude Stein's famous quote, "Rose is a rose is a rose...," is dispelled by McKinley in her second novelization of the tale "Beauty and the Beast." (Beauty was her first novel, published 20 years ago.) Both books have the same plot and elements; what is different is the complexity of matured writing and the patina of emotional experience. Here, she has embellished and embodied the whys, whos, and hows of the magic forces at work. The telling is layered like rose petals with subtleties, sensory descriptions, and shadow imagery. Every detail holds significance, including the character names: her sisters, Jeweltongue and Lionheart; the villagers, Miss Trueword, Mrs. Bestcloth, and Mrs. Words-Without-End. Mannerisms of language and intricacies of writing style are key in this exposition. The convoluted sentences often ramble like a rose and occasionally prick at the smoothness of the pace. Word choices such as feculence, sororal sedition, numen, ensorcell, and simulacrum will command readers' attention. McKinley is at home in a world where magic is a mainstay and, with her passion for roses, she's grafted a fully dimensional espalier that is a tangled, thorny web of love, loyalty, and storytelling sorcery. Fullest appreciation of Rose Daughter may be at an adult level.--Julie Cummins, New York Public Library Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 6^-12. Almost 20 years after her well-received, award-winning Beauty (1978), McKinley reexplores and reexpands on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. This is not a sequel, but a new novelization that is fuller bodied, with richer characterizations and a more mystical, darker edge. Although the Library of Congress catalogs it in the 398s, the book really belongs on the fiction shelves alongside Beauty. The familiar plot is here, but the slant is quite different, though Beauty's sisters are once again loving rather than hostile as in de Beaumont's original version. A few scenes are reminiscent of Beauty. For example, in the dining room scenes in the castle, Beauty eats but the Beast merely is present: "I am a Beast; I cannot eat like a man." In Rose Daughter, Beauty has an affinity for flower gardening, particularly roses, because of her memories of her deceased mother; it is a talent that serves her in good stead as she nurtures the Beast's dying rose garden. Also, in some nicely done foreshadowing, Beauty suffers from recurring dreams of a long, dark corridor and something--a monster?--waiting for her at the end. Rose Cottage, where Beauty and her family settle after the father's financial downfall, and the nearby town and its residents, as well as the opulence of the Beast's castle and the devastation of his rose garden, are vividly depicted. Among the fantasy elements are a prescient cat, the spirit of the greenwitch who willed Rose Cottage to Beauty's family, unicorns, and preternatural Guardians. There is more background on the Beast in this version, allowing readers to see how he came to be bewitched, and Beauty's choice at the end, a departure from that in Beauty, is just so right. Readers will be enchanted, in the best sense of the word. --Sally Estes