Beauty is retelling of Sleeping Beauty with several other fairy tales mixed in.
(I started this review after reading the first chapters, then finished the book, and have had a huge delay in completing the review because my pleasure didn't continue.)
3/31/12 I've decided to take a few notes as I read because the Foreword intrigued me and then, in the first few pages, other incidents caught my attention.
The Foreword is written by Carabosse, "the fairy of clocks, keeper of the secrets of time." Carabosse remarks that Beauty was given many gifts when she was born, "Though it is regrettable that no one gave her the gift of intelligence (a gift not highly valued in Faery, she has a practicality that often makes up for that lack."
Now, intelligence is rarely mentioned in fairy tales, so I'm curious already.
A few pages into the story, Beauty describes the education she receives from her aunts. She is taught sewing by her Aunt Marjoram "(who was herself educated by the Sisters of the Immediate Conception at St. Mary of Perpetual Surprise)" and music by her Aunt Lavender "who, though tone deaf, plays upon the lute with great brio and a blithesome disregard for accuracy."
Tepper has my full attention now and has made me smile.
The first section was so charming, so delightful. Unfortunately, the rest of the book, although interesting, was not at all charming. I was so disappointed.
With the first incidence of time travel, things degenerate. Up until Beauty leaves her own time period for the first time, the story was a delightful alternative version of Sleeping Beauty--unfortunately, that was only a very small percentage of the book.
While Tepper makes several points with which I completely agree, the book becomes an unpleasant polemic. While I can understand and completely agree with her views about our lack of care concerning the environment and her distaste for books that celebrate violence and abuse, her bitterness defeated the purpose for me. Tepper's inclusion of violence and abuse, her completely dark view of the fate of the world--leaves a feeling of despair.
What would have pleased me much more would have been a story that presents alternatives and inspiration for working for a change.
From such a bright beginning, the book turned into a struggle to read and on finishing it, a feeling of having accomplished nothing.
Fiction. Fairy Tale/Time Travel/