Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Publish Date: February 20, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. Those of humble birth suffer their heartbreaks and celebrate their triumphs unnoticed by the bards, leaving no trace in the fables of their time....
And so begins Elise Dalriss's story
When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a tale about a beautiful princess awakened by a handsome prince, 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 the truth of what happened so many years ago.
As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back in to the magnificent world behind the opulent palace walls. Fleeing a hardscrabble existence and personal tragedy, she builds a new life for herself as a servant to the royal family and quickly rises within the castle hierarchy. As Elise proves herself a loyal confidante, she is drawn into the lives of an extraordinary cast of women: a beautiful queen who wakes each morning with tears on her pillow, an elderly spinster who in heartache shuts herself away, a princess who yearns to be free, and the ambitious and frightening sister who cannot accept the fact that she will never rule. Elise has guarded their secrets - and her own - for a lifetime. While Beauty Sleeps is her story."
My Two Cents:
"While Beauty Slept" is a wholly original fairytale retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Oh guys, I love a good fairytale retelling. I love seeing an old favorite story turned on its head into something new and fantastic. This book is definitely one of those. The story is told from the perspective of Elise, a servant in the household of the Queen and the King, who are fighting for their reign. Not all is happy in this world. The Queen seems to be potentially barren and it is imperative that she provide an heir for the kingdom or she and the King could lose their grip on the kingdom. The Queen starts conspiring with and consulting with Millicent (who you will of course remember as the witchy woman from the Sleeping Beauty fairytale). Action ensues.
This book has a historical feel but obviously there is a fantasy-type bend to the story with it being a fairytale. I loved the world that the author created. This is a world where who you know and who you are affiliated with can change your life. All of the matches between the different characters really pulled me in. When the Queen finally has a daughter, Millicent will do anything to get her hands (and her influence) on Rose, the now heir to the kingdom. We see how Millicent tries to work her own influence to get what she wants when it comes to Rose.
I loved that the story was told from the point of view of Elise. Although she is a servant, she is intimately involved in caring and protecting Rose, a job which she takes very seriously. Elise is a study in how a person who on the surface may seem of little consequence can save the day. Overall, I really enjoyed this story!
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