By Robin McKinley, 247 pages.
This is a beautifully told version of Beauty and the Beast. Beauty is a young woman whose life changes dramatically when her father's business fails suddenly and her family moves to the countryside. After living in their new home for a while, her father returns one night with a terrifying story of encountering a beast in an enchanted castle. Worse still, he must return there to remain the beast's prisoner. Beauty refuses to allow it and insists on taking his place. Upon arrival at the castle, mysteries abound, not the least of which is the mystery of her host's true identity. I found this story mesmerizing, it is familiar but McKinley lends plenty of herself to the story making it firmly hers. A must-read for anyone who enjoys fairy tale retellings.