Wednesday, August 13, 2014

While Beauty Slept - Elizabeth Blackwell

Title: While Beauty Slept
Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Pages: 432
Published: 2014 (first published 2013)
Challenge: I Love Libraries, Historical Fiction, Bloggers Summer Reading
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: The Truth is No Fairy Tale.
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.
In this rich and compelling novel of love and terror, friendship and fate, we are introduced to a heroine of extraordinary determination - the true heart of a legend - who reveals what it really takes to reach happily ever after. (from Goodreads)
Thoughts: I quite enjoyed the book, even if I didn't see elements of Sleeping Beauty within the book (after reading some reviews of the book through Goodreads, I do realize that I did miss them, even though some of them were quite clear as day and it probably doesn't help that I am not as familiar with the story of Sleeping Beauty, as I am with Snow White and Cinderella).
I really like Elise's storyline and was drawn into it more than those of the aristocrats, but for some reason I struggled with the book, even though it took me five days to read it from start to finish; clearly there was some sort of pull with the story that allowed me to be drawn into the story and complete it.
Bottom line: If you prefer a different re-telling of a fairy tale, I would recommend that you give the book a try. Recommended.
Rating: 3.25/5
Pages for 2014: 10900

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