Thursday, February 20, 2014

While Beauty Slept - Book Review

Who doesn't enjoy a good retelling of an old and cherished fairy tale? Disney may be the most successful at bring the stories to life for children and there are several authors who have reinvented the stories for young adults but even adults enjoy a fairy tale now and then.

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell is the artful retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty story. Elise overhears her great-granddaughter telling the tale of the beautiful princess asleep in the tower and she recalls her own role in the adventure. Elise, the queen's handmaiden, shares her story--the true story. The story of her service in the castle and her friendship with the queen and the cherished baby daughter.

I appreciated the twists and turns within this retelling as well as the attempts to stay true to the beloved classic. While involving less "magic", the story is filled with secrets, evil plotting and bewitching characters. Being told from the perspective of the servant was a unique divergence that lent the story a human side and I enjoyed watching Elise come of age.

Elise is only 14 years old at the beginning of her story and for the first one hundred pages, I felt like I was reading a young adult novel, not that that's bad, per se. While Elise grows up the novel grows up too. Fortunately, it grows up without being full of erotica.

Early on in the story there was some awkward foreshadowing. While it compelled the reader forward in the story it also felt amateur and was actually misleading. I was surprised by the conclusion since I thought it was heading in a different direction.

Some of the characters weren't overly developed and for me that affected the emotions at the surprising yet ultimately satisfying ending. Without giving anything away, as a reader I would have liked to have known and felt closer to some of the other characters. Considering it's length I feel like that should have been accomplished.

For adult lovers of fairy tales, While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell will hit the spot.  Overall, the novel is an entertaining tale of romance, royal intrigue, and adventure.

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell is published by Amy Einhorn/Putnam and was released on February 20, 2014.

**I received a complimentary copy of While Beauty Slept in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. No additional compensation was received.**


Melinda Ott said...

I really enjoyed this book as well. I'm hoping that Ms. Blackwell's next book will be along the same lines.

Susan said...

Hm, underdeveloped characters is one of my big reading pet peeves. This one sounds fun otherwise, though, so maybe I'll give it a shot. Thanks for the review!

Anita LeBeau said...

I skimmed your review, because I'd still like to read this one. It does sound lovely.