Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

While Beauty Slept
by Elizabeth Blackwell

Publisher: Putnam Adult
Pages: 432
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  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.

Kritters Thoughts:  Told from an interesting perspective - a woman who spent many years in service in a castle and knows the truth behind the sleeping beauty story and is ready to share the truth.  Elise loses her entire family and returns to her mother's home town and previous place in the castle.  She quickly rises to a great position within the castle and has quite some interesting experiences while trying to mix and mingle amongst the elite.

First, I loved how the story was presented - as a story told from a great grandmother to her great granddaughter I loved it.  It allowed for Elise to just tell the story from beginning to end and to give her story purpose and reason.  I also loved the amount of time that her story spanned and although it is set up that she definitely ends up with a family, it doesn't ruin who the family is started with.  Although it didn't end up being quite the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, I loved it just the same.

If you have read fairytale retellings before, then this one is for you.  If you have a love for historical fiction, then try this one on for size.  I grew up reading the fairytales and am a huge fan of historical fiction, so I loved having both genres wrapped into this one book.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Berkley NAL.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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