|| Award-winning author Robin McKinley returns to one of our most enduring fairy tales to tell an enthralling story of love and redemption Once upon a time, a wealthy merchant had three daughters . . . and when the merchant's business failed, he and his three daughters left their grand house in the city and moved to a tiny cottage buried deep in the countryside. The youngest daughter, Beauty, is fascinated by the long, thorny stems of an unknown plant that overwhelms the neglected cottage, and she tends it until, the following summer, its rich, fragrant flowers are the most glorious things the sisters have ever seen: roses. An old woman tells Beauty: "Roses are for love. Not . . . silly sweethearts' love but the love that makes you and keeps you whole. . . . There's an old folk-tale . . . there aren't many roses around any more because they need more love than people have to give 'em . . . and the only thing that'll stand in for love is magic, though it ain't as good." There's no magic in the town of Longchance, but, the old woman adds, Beauty may not know that this is the result of a sorcerers' battle that happened many years ago, a battle that left a monster, or perhaps a beast, in an enchanted palace somewhere in the deep forest . . . and a curse concerning a family of three sisters.