Author: Elizabeth BlackwellSummary: I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. And so begins Elise Dalriss story. When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a minstrels tale about a beautiful princess asleep in a tower, it pushes open a door to the past, a door Elise has long kept locked. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered—and she is the only one left who knows what actually happened so many years ago. Her story unveils a labyrinth where secrets connect to an inconceivable evil. As only Elise understands all too well, the truth is no fairy tale. ~powells.com
Publication Date: February 20, 2014
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Genre: Literary Fiction
Bottom Line: Not a re-telling but a re-vamping of a popular fairy tale
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Review: I wasn't sure what to expect going in to this book but when I closed it I am so happy I picked it up. While Beauty Slept takes the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty and turns it on it's nose. Sure the story is about the beauty who sleeps but it isn't the same story we are familiar with.
The story is told in flashback by Elise, who was once the close confidant of both Queen Lenore and Princess Rose. Elise is the backbone of this story. We see everything through her eyes. We feel everything as she does. When she arrives at the castle she is quickly taken in by Mrs. Tewkes and shadows a young chambermaid, Petra. Elise is a quick study and is quickly assigned to Queen Lenore's quarters. Due to her nature and hard work, she lands the coveted spot of handmaid.
As with most kingdoms, there are one or two family members who are not happy with the way King Ranolf is handling the affairs. Not only that but there is no apparent heir to the throne, so that goes to his younger brother, Prince Bowen. We all know that there ends up being a Princess, Princess Rose to be exact.
Ms. Blackwell follows the story we know well about the beginning of Rose's life but it's the in-between and end that she takes liberty with. I loved this about the novel. I loved learning about Rose's life in the castle. She was a bold, young girl who turned into a bold young woman. She wanted to be less sheltered, than she was and took some risks to test the limits.
It's hard to review this novel without giving away key plots. Ms. Blackwell is a gifted storyteller and she makes the story of Sleeping Beauty hers. I look forward to her next novel. I will say if you are a fan of fairy tales and/or re-telling of them, then While Beauty Slept is for you.