In the novel, Beauty by Robin Mc Kinley, the family of a wealthy merchant looses their wealth when the shipment boats get lost at sea. There are three daughters named Hope, Grace, and Honour, whom is nicknamed Beauty, and a father. The family is forced to move to the country and start a life more modest than accustomed. After the family adapts to country life, one of the older sisters gets married to an iron worker who used to work at the shipyard owned by the father. They have babies. Life goes on in the country.
Three years after their arrival in the country the families receive notice that one of the lost boats has returned to port. The father leaves to the city to see if anything could be rescued and before leaving asks his daughters if there was anything they wished from the city for him to bring back. The older daughters make silly request but Beauty asks for rose seeds to plant a rose garden around the house. Upon returning home, the father is caught in a blizzard and stumbles upon a welcoming enchanted castle.
The next morning, as he leaves the castle he breaks a rose of its stem and the Beast appears. Beast is angry with this intruder's thanklessness and tells the man that he will spare the man's life if he returns in a month to give him one of the daughters. The man returns home and tells the whole family of the enchanted castle and the promise made to the Beast. Beauty steps up as the daughter that will give up her freedom for her father. When the month is up, Beauty enters the castle to await her fate.
The castle is as inviting to her as it had been to her father. The Beast is welcoming and not the ogre that she had originally thought he would be. Slowly as time goes by, they develop a bond of companionship. Belle starts to look forward to seeing him everyday.
One evening after almost of year of living together, she observes in a looking glass that her unmarried sister's fiancée is alive and desires to tell her of the news before she gets engaged to someone else. The Beast grants her the wish on the condition that she must return within a week. She agrees and goes home. Everybody in town goes to see her upon her return. The week passes quickly and after telling her sister the reason why she had come back she decides to stay a couple of extra days. In the middle of the 10th night back home she has a dream of the Beast dead in the garden. Without saying goodbye, she gets on her horse and sets out to the castle.
After getting lost in the forest for a couple of nights, she finally gets to the castle but everything is strange. The gates don't open to invite her in, the lights in the garden are dim and the stable would not open. She runs in to the castle and desperately tries to find her Beast. Upon finding him, she realizes that she loves him and the enchantment is broken. Her beast becomes the handsome man, whose portrait she had seen in the gallery. They agree to marry and her whole family is sent for, including...