Beauty by Sarah Pinborough

Just finished reading Beauty by Sarah Pinborough which is the final book in this twisted world of fairytales that this author has created.  This series of books are simply wonderful to read and I think the third one is my favourite out of all of them.

In this retelling, as with the other stories, we have more than one tale combined to make up the complete story and we see characters and objects that have appeared in the previous tales.  That being said, any of these books would read as a standalone.

Beauty combines characters from Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Rumplestiltskin in a twisted rendition of all four tales.  At the start of the story we make the acquaintance of a young Prince, over indulged by his doting parents the King and Queen, who have finally realised that he needs to be shaken out of his indolence by the introduction of an adventure.  A grand adventure to bring fame and fortune back to his future kingdom and provide him with a taste for life beyond his own realms.  And so the spoilt Prince sets out through the forest, accompanied by a young hunter who has been coerced, none too gently, into keeping the young heir to the throne alive.

And so we travel to the realm known to us through the tale of Sleeping Beauty.  A kingdom protected by the forest where a cruel and impenetrable wall of trees has grown around the outer edges to deter would-be adventurers.  Of course, over the years, the tales of the kingdom that sleeps within have become little more than a fairy tale told to children at night, a story of myth and legend that is no more believable than a young woman with a long rope of hair living in a tower with an old witch.  Within the outer walls, however, a different story lies waiting to unfold.

Along the way, the Prince and the Huntsman gather a further traveller – Petra, who, whilst loathe to leave her grandmother alone in her cottage deep in the forest with the ever rising fear of wolves, also longs to make the acquaintance of the person beyond the hedge whose lonely lament she has frequently heard and joined in with on many occasions.  And so the three battle the magic of the hedge in order to discover what lies within.

Again, this is far from a tale that you will want to read your children at night.  This is a tale of blood and lust, tempered with love and longing. The Beauty who charms everyone she meets with her sweet temperament and the Beast who craves blood.

As with previous stories the Prince is little more than a good looking and fickle young man and the Hunter is steadfast and true, his knowledge of the woodlands and its creatures proving invaluable and his reasonable and well tempered behaviour making him an immediate favourite of the story.  Pinborough weaves an enticing story, lyrical and beautifully illustrated, that is difficult to put down.

I’ve enjoyed these three books very much and have no hesitation in recommending them to others in fact I really hope you’ll give them a go.  Yes, they’re fairy tales that we’re familiar with but the author has taken our well loved bedtime stories and given them a dark and sinister twist. They’re a touch of whimsy with a surprisingly sexy, sometimes sinister and incredibly entertaining blend of tales.

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15 Responses to “Beauty by Sarah Pinborough”

  1. jdbookworm

    God I love these books!!

    • lynnsbooks

      I know, ditto, I can’t believe there won’t be more!! Perhaps we’ll have to petition SP – lots more tales out there yet worthy of retelling – the seven swans, the 12 dancing princesses, the princess and the frog – see??
      Lynn 😀

  2. Genki Jason

    I like some of the stories that Sarah Pinborough has written but I wasn’t aware of this one. Sounds fun.

    Actually, reading your review reminded me of Angela Carter. I’d recommend her books to you.

    • lynnsbooks

      Thanks – I’ll look into that. I love fairy tales retold but Pinborough really has managed to bring a whole new twisted darkness to them.
      Lynn 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      Wow – Angela Carter has some rather snazzy looking books out there. Will defo investigate further.
      Lynn 😀

  3. My best reads for 2013 | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] Beauty by Sarah Pinborough – I love this series and it was difficult to choose just one – the others being Poison and Charm. […]

  4. jenclair

    Need to add Sarah Pinborough to my list!

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, I really liked these stories – but, and I want to be balanced here – they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Check out Delia’s review here
      http://wrongspelling.com/?p=1659
      I still love them though – plus, I think you need to read all three because the stories are inter-woven. You can read them as standalones but they’re better read in conjunction.
      Lynn 😀
      P.S. Tried to stop by one of your blogs a couple of days ago on Stainless Steel Droppings review site and it said the page wasn’t there! Would have liked to leave you a comment. 😀

  5. Waffle, waffle, waffle… | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] Pinsborough’s fairy tale retellings (Poison, Beauty, Charm) – these are three great books, all from the same world and interconnected and just […]

  6. To adapt or not to adapt! | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] Beauty/Poison/Charm by Sarah Pinborough – mashed up and twisted retold fairy tales […]

  7. Short and Sweet | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Poison/Charm/Beauty by Sarah Pinborough […]

  8. TTT: Top 10 favourite novellas/short stories | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Poison/Charm/Beauty by Sarah Pinsborough – three books – each one connected, that include a bunch of fairy tales for grown ups.  Wonderful reading. […]

  9. Zezee

    Okay, I need to try these books. I often see them in bookstores (well, mostly the Beauty one) and have been tempted to buy it because I like the cover. I’ll give it a try.

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