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While Beauty Slept

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While Beauty Slept Cover

ISBN13: 9780399166235
ISBN10: 0399166238
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

“Elizabeth Blackwell is a story-telling genius. Her mesmerizing writing weaves a spell that will enchant you. While Beauty Slept breathes new life into the fairytale genre with a historical twist that will take your breath away.” —Meg Cabot, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries and Heather Wells mystery series

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 Dalrisss 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.

 

As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back into the magnificent world behind the palace walls she left behind more than a half century ago, a labyrinth where the secrets of her real father and the mysterious fate of her mother connect to an inconceivable evil. Elise has guarded these secrets for a lifetime. As only Elise understands all too well, the truth is no fairy tale.

 

Synopsis:

Historical fiction at its best — The Brothers Grimm meets The Thirteenth Tale 

I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told.
 
And so begins Elise Dalrisss 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.

About the Author

Elizabeth Blackwell

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

The Lost Entwife, July 9, 2014 (view all comments by The Lost Entwife)
I've said time and time again that I have a special fondness for fairy tale retellings. I've been fascinated with The Brothers Grimm since I was a teenager and, having grown up on Disney cartoons and musicals, it's no surprise that I leap for anything that looks to have even a hint of an association with fairy tales. That's, unfortunately, led to some pretty gnarly reads (Ninja Cinderella, anyone?) but I'm happy to say that WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT was just nearly perfect. So nearly perfect that I may have shed a tear when it came to an end.

Let me give you an example of how engrossing this book was. The hardcover edition has 432 pages. Last night, I curled up in bed having read 70ish of those pages throughout the day. I thought... how in the world will I put this book down? And that was the last thought outside of the story I can remember having. I closed the book at 1am with a tear and a sigh and I woke up this morning completely engrossed in the story, still. The book may have finished last night at 1am, but my imagination is still blooming. That, my friends, is what I love about a good book.

Now, WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT is not perfect - don't get me wrong. There were some issues I struggled with, such as the cheesy way the narrator continued over, and over, and over again to foreshadow some great tragedy ahead. I also struggled a bit with the ending as everything seemed to tie up very neatly for a story that had been so convoluted. Also, by the end of the book, I wasn't sure who exactly the story was being narrated to and why and I had to revisit the beginning to get a sense of that (although I'm still not really sure).

But all those things aside, WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT is a strong re-telling of the Sleeping Beauty story that fits magnificently into a world that's welcomed Frozen and Maleficent into being in the last year. Strong female characters, an intriguing way of dealing with the fabled curse, and a story that is more real than the fairy tales of my youth, WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT reads like a strong, historical fiction novel that will ring very, very familiar in the imagination of the person reading it.
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Melinda Ott, February 20, 2014 (view all comments by Melinda Ott)
I can't help but feel the hand of providence a bit with this book--it is as if this is the book I was meant to read right now.

I've always been a fan of fairy tales, although I've become a bit cynical of them since I've become the mother of a daughter and have had to fight the onslaught of the Disney wave. As it is, I've been reading many of these tales to my children lately and to find one for an adult--that doesn't fall into the cesspool of erotica!--was just too good a thing to pass up.

While Beauty Slept is a re-imagining of Sleeping Beauty, a story nearly everyone knows. However, Elizabeth Blackwell has taken this tale a bit further and developed it into a skillfully written novel full of twists and turns (which is all I'm going to say about the plot!). I was quickly swept into the book and it held me through to the very last page.

The decision to have the story told through Elise's eyes was a wise one. It allowed Blackwell to create a fully human narrator and still give the "major players" of the tale an iconic feel that could place them either in the realm of reality or the world of fantasy. Elise, herself, is an excellent character. While she has had a hard life, she finds herself rising to a station she could never have imagined. She isn't perfect--and she realizes it--but she keeps the reader's attention and loyalty.

My one issue with this book--well, it is an issue with me rather than the book--is that this is so realistically written that it feels like historical fiction. Since I read more historical fiction than any other genre, I had moments early in this book where I felt a little uneasy with this book. I felt as if I should be able to anchor this to a specific place and time in history and I had to keep reminding myself that this was the stuff of fantasy. I can't blame Blackwell for this as it is my personal issue, but I would offer it just as a heads up for other fans of historical fiction who might (and should!) read this book.

There were also a few aspects of the plot that I felt could have been explored a bit more--namely, Elise's parentage. I felt that it should have had more of an impact than it did. Still, I can say that I had only very minor quibbles with this book.

This is Elizabeth Blackwell's debut novel and I don't know if she plans to continue retelling fairy tales in later books. I enjoyed While Beauty Slept so much that I hope she does, but I also think that she has a great future as a novelist and I'll be awaiting her next book, no matter what it is.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780399166235
Author:
Blackwell, Elizabeth
Publisher:
Amy Einhorn Books
Subject:
Romance - Gothic
Subject:
Maleficent
Subject:
Mythology-Folklore and Storytelling
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20140231
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Romance » Gothic
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling

While Beauty Slept New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$25.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Amy Einhorn Books - English 9780399166235 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Historical fiction at its best — The Brothers Grimm meets The Thirteenth Tale 

I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told.
 
And so begins Elise Dalrisss 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.

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