Beautiful

Narrated by: Gemma Dawson
Length: 7 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,023 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

With the Nordic fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon as her inspiration, Juliet Marillier weaves a magical story of a young princess’ search for her true self.

Hulde is a queen’s daughter and lives in a palace. But her life is lonely. Growing up atop the glass mountain, she knows only her violent and autocratic mother and a household of terrified servants. 

Then a white bear named Rune comes to visit, and Hulde learns what kindness is. 

But the queen has a plan for Hulde. When she turns 16, she will wed the most beautiful man in all the world. Hulde has never met her intended husband, and her mother refuses to explain the arrangement. Hulde becomes desperate to find out more and seeks the help of a magic mirror. Perhaps someone is coming to her rescue. 

On her wedding day, Hulde’s existence is turned upside down. For the first time she leaves the glass mountain behind, setting out to be as brave as the heroines in her beloved storybook. 

The journey will test Hulde to the limit. Can she overcome her fears and take control of her own life?

©2019 Juliet Marillier (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

Editor's Pick

A Norwegian fairy tale transformed by two huge talents
"You don’t need to know East of the Sun, West of the Moon to enjoy Beautiful, but listeners who remember the fairy tale will appreciate the twist at the beginning of this Audible Original. The plot twist sends the tale spinning in a new—and deeper—direction. With the glass mountain (and other realms), Juliet Marillier—as she did in her Sevenwaters series—creates a world of simple rules but emotional complexity in Beautiful. Gemma Dawson’s artistry brings Hulde to life as a sympathetic heroine." —Christina H., Audible Editor

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story from my favorite author

Such a fun and full story that I’m excited to have available as an audible original. I listened until late to finish the book I was so interested. The characters are wonderful, as is the changing definition of beautiful throughout

21 people found this helpful

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If you like Marillier, you'll like this book.

The text is beautiful and the approach is unique, which is what you expect from this author. I liked the story. it has a meandering quality, but I liked that approach because it was basically a journey of self discovery from a girl who had a very sheltered life. Any other approach wouldn't have worked so well. I found myself hoping that the main character would not have such a harsh experience on her journey that would ruin her beautiful soul that was so naturally kind and caring and willing to believe in the goodness of others. A worthwhile listen if you want something uplifting and not very intense.

21 people found this helpful

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A Left at the Door review of Beautiful

I love stories told from different points of view.
What if who you thought was a villain really wasn't?
What if she didn't even know your happily ever after was ruined?
What happens to the troll princess after she gives you back your prince and you ride off into the sunset?

This retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon & The White-Bear-King-Valemon is ingenious and fascinating.

The story made me laugh, cry, and left me wanting more. I do hope that one day, Ms. Marillier will consider a sequel to this book so that we can learn more about Hulde’s reign as Queen of the Glass Mountain.

Gemma did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and made the listening to a real pleasure.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a twist on one of the rarer fairytales of olde.

17 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

I just finished listening to Beautiful by Juliet Marillier. The story was wonderful, the character growth was beautiful, and the ending was perfect. And I feel a little sad, I would have loved the story to continue, I will miss them all.

27 people found this helpful

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Absolutely brilliant

A terrific and unique twist on a traditional tale. I know the original story but even if you don’t the author provides enough content for her take, which is both a continuation and yet a completely original take on a fairy tale. Just lovely and the reason I still love fairy tales even though I am no longer a child— the smart brave girl wins not the pretty face. The way life should be.

16 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected, still very good

Excellent narration. Unusual HEA, with an unschooled but kind young lady. There is much that is not explained that I would have liked to know, but the story stands even with the lack of character backstory. Especially the three pets.
This is an adventure story that does not go as planned, but went as it had to. Much to think about.

7 people found this helpful

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Beautiful

I have to be honest, this book was not what I expected, nor what I normally like. Still, I liked that it addresses many topics that are very relevant, especially now. From blind prejudice, to the concept of beauty, kindness and bravery. Overall, I really enjoyed it.

6 people found this helpful

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Juliet Mariller, once again, does not disappoint.

I have loved all of her works so far, starting with the Blackthorn and Grim series, of which I wish she would write more. This tale is filled with unexpected twists and turns, engaging from start to finish, with characters with whom you can empathize. From its title to its plot and subplots, there is deeper meaning. Beautiful is beyond the superficial.

6 people found this helpful

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Fairytale Retold from A Different Perspective

This is a young YA retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon a Norwegian fairytale, but done from the perspective of the troll queen's daughter. I enjoyed the character development, the story, and the narration. The main character has been sheltered so is naive and ignorant of the world, which I feel makes the story feel more like a younger YA. The writing and world building were wonderful. It felt like a fairytale, classic and magical.

5 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed the Story Very Much!

I loved the storyline and the characters Hulde met before and after her 16th birthday. I also think the narrator did an excellent job reading the story and making me feel like I was apart of the journey. My only issue is Hulde herself; at some points I liked her very much, then at others she was barely tolerable. Despite how her mother treated her she grew to be a woman who cared for others well-being and feelings. Again, despite how she was raised, she sometimes came off as a spoiled brat who wanted her way without knowing anything about the consequences of her demands. She rubbed me wrong sometimes, so much so that I rolled my eyes several times thinking this foolish girl, but thank goodness she is more good and brave than spoiled and selfish! Worth the purchase and the time. I enjoyed the journey and the magical creatures and the tales that were told, and I wish I knew how Hulde' s life ended long after the story, but I guess I'll have to make it up myself!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Rebecca Keeves
  • 07-08-20

It's okay but don't get too excited

It was nice to listen too but didn't have much depth or intrigue for a fantasy book. The main character isn't particularly likable and I didn't feel myself cheering for her. There were some odd things about the plot I'm still not sure about. no criticism of the actress at all, but as a casting decision the voice wasn't young enough.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-20-19

Lovely story and well read

I might have mentioned before that I love Ms Marillers writing! This was no exception. Lovely main character. Great narration. My only complaint - it's too short.

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  • Mr G Marsh
  • 09-08-19

good listen

Pronunciation seems not to be a priority for readers. It can spoil a good story.

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  • barry
  • 07-11-19

An easy listen

Narration was OK. Story itself is is an easy listen. The plot is very simple. An interesting idea in the beginning, but no real depth to the characters, or real sense of why.