Tale as Old as Time
I love the old fairy tale Beauty and the Beast. In college, I found Beauty by Robin McKinley and it quickly became my favorite version. That is until I stumbled across her Rose Daughter a few years later and it stole the place of honor in my heart and on my bookshelf.
Luckily, even though it also stole my daughter’s heart, when she was
stealing “borrowing” books she accidentally took the wrong one, so I was able to re-read this story to share for our little book club this month.
I think she needs her own copy.
I still love the book Beauty and encourage you to read it during this spring of social distancing. It’s absolutely beautiful and will feel familiar to fans of the Disney film (it pre-dates the film in case you were wondering).
Rose Daughter is different. In happy ways.
The Rose Daughter
Unlike most fairy tales, Beauty’s sisters are both beautiful and loveable. Like most versions of the story, Beauty’s father is a successful businessman who loses everything.
His resulting breakdown leaves his daughters desperately working together, each drawing on their own strengths to support the family. I absolutely love the way they draw closer and learn to appreciate each other more through their difficulties.
And then, as the story requires, the father makes a grave mistake, and Beauty must pay the price. And as required, she leaves behind poverty and a tiny cottage for a luxurious castle, and the companionship of a beast.
This story is a perfect fit for spring, and social isolation, and difficult times. Beauty quickly finds her purpose in the Beast’s castle, in restoring life to an enchanted world where the last living things are slowly dying.
It’s beautiful. And inspiring.
An Even Happier Ending
And in the very happy ending, Beauty ends up with everything she loves. But it looks different from what you (or she) expected. And that, my friends, may just be my very favorite thing of all about this story.
This April, while you’re practicing responsible social distancing, try exploring an enchanted castle. I hope you’ll find it as inspiring and hope-filled as I do.