I just finished a marvelous book. It completely took me by surprise; I wasn't expecting anything. That's probably what made it so great. I tend to be disappointed by honor books, but this isn't one and is fantastic! The book is Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast. Honour is a plain young woman who has the ironic nickname of Beauty and two knock-out sisters. She and her family are forced to leave their comfortable city life for the country, but they are together, so all are content. The forest they live near is supposedly enchanted, but Beauty's father discovers just how enchanted it is. He makes an unfortunate mistake, the penalty for which is death, but Beauty intervenes and sacrifices her life with her family for the life of her father. A Beast lives in a beautifully mysterious, and Beauty goes to him to pay her father's debt. The Beast is a true gentleman, though he is never described, and Beauty lives comfortably, waited on by charmed servants. Her life, however, is never completely whole without her family. And after several months with Beast, she is allowed to return home temporarily, and everything changes.
Truly, the story isn't written for children, though it could have been; it was refreshing change from the books filled with profanity and unnecessarily thorough descriptions written in for the shock factor. Also refreshing was the character of Beauty herself. She is a strong woman who, for once, plays the heroine and isn't pretty. Not only that, but her feelings for Beast are so wonderfully gradual. The book is beautifully written, and connections (which I love) are made throughout the story back to the familiar tale everyone thinks they already know. This is not just another fairy tale with a twist; its a classic fairy tale in itself.