Monday, December 8, 2008
Retelling of: Sleeping Beauty
Spindle's End by Robin McKinley
The heroine of this tale is Rosie, the infant princess who is cursed to die on her 21st birthday by spindle prick. The baby Rosie is spirited away to live with a peasant fairy, Katriona, in a rural village in the hopes that she may be kept safe from the curse. Rosie grows into a headstrong, willful young lady and possess an uncanny ability to communicate with animals. Preferring breeches to ball gowns, Rosie despises her golden hair and loves the life that she grew up having. This novel illustrates the theory of nurture over nature in the development of an individual's personality traits, rather than being defined by her birthright Rosie is defined by her actions and upbringing. This retelling introduces new characters to a familiar tale in Peony, Rosie's best friend, Narl the blacksmith and an assortment of incredible animal friends. McKinley illustrates a strong, independent heroine who can take care of herself and is far from the archetypal meek princess. A must read for all who wished they could talk to animals, here's your chance to experience the inner thoughts of hedgehogs and horses!
Other fairy tale novels by Robin McKinley include:
Beauty was McKinley's debut novel published more than twenty years ago, but still remains one of her most popular books. This is the story of a widower and his three daughters, Grace, Hope and Honour. The youngest sister, Honour, decides that her name is boring and would rather be beautiful than honorable. Thus, the nickname sticks and she is from then on known as Beauty. However, despite her name change, Beauty grows into a gawky and plain young woman but cares little for her lack of beauty instead taking pride in her ability with horses. When the family's business goes bankrupt they must uproot themselves and more to a cottage in the country. Remarkably, the family adjusts to their new lifestyle and thrives. That is until one day when their father makes an unexpected stop at a curious manor where he is received by a mysterious host...
Rose Daughter is another adaptation of the Beauty and the Beast tale. Jeweltongue, Lionheart and Beauty are three sisters living in a cottage with their father. Beauty possesses an affinity for gardening flowers, particularly roses, as they remind the girl and the family fondly of their deceased mother. This is a talent that serves Beauty very well as she nurtures the Beast's dying rose garden within his manor. Now, you might be thinking that two novels of such similar concepts from the same author might be a little redundant, but McKinley shows her literary prowess and the reader will not be disappointed.
The Door in the Hedge is a collection of four short stories, two original fairy tales and two re-imaginings. "The Stolen Princess" and "The Hunting of the Hind" are McKinley's own creations, while "The Princess and the Frog" and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" show McKinley's skill in refashioning an old tale.
Deerskin is a retelling of a little known Charles Perrault fairy tale, Donkeyskin. Princess Lissar is the heir to her mother's great beauty and becomes the victim to her father's desire when his grief plunges him into uncontrollable madness. Lissar flees her father's house with her devoted dog, Ash, to seek solace in the great forest. A goddess of the forest, called only "the Lady", heals Lissar and transforms her hair from its deep black to a stark white. Lissar then travels to a nearby kingdom and falls for a handsome, dog loving prince. But will her horrific past destroy Lissar's chances to make a future?
Get updates on Robin McKinley on her website!