Friday, March 7, 2014

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

Standalone
432p.
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Published: Available Now
Source: From NetGalley and publisher for review
A beautiful princess lies in a sleep so deep it is close to death. Was Sleeping Beauty revived by a prince's kiss? What really happened in that tower so long ago?

While Beauty Slept re-imagines the legend through the lens of historical fiction, telling the story as if it really happened. A Gothic tale of suspense and ambition, love and loss, it interweaves the story of a royal family and the servants who see behind the glamorous facade, following the journey of a young woman as she lives out a destiny that leads her to the brink of death.

My thoughts:
This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (the Disney version). However, this is a bit different than the retellings we are used to getting. Usually there is a mix of what kind of magic or in a different magical place, however, this retelling is a "what if" kind. What if there was a real historical story behind Sleeping Beauty? What if all the magic is taken out of it and was substituted with real life historical problems?

We see this story through the eyes of Elise a girl who was raised on a farm but later went to the castle to make her own fortune. We follow her trials and her growth into a powerful woman. She was favored by the queen and in her journey became a lady in waiting. We also see everything about the royals through her eyes. The witch, who did seem to have magical powers-- but was really the power of suggestion and ambition mixed with a bit of insanity-- was really the king's own sister denied the throne because she was a woman. There was a curse and a bid for power, but it all happened within the confines of a historical setting.

There are times in which we would be brought out of the story by Elsie to remind us that it is a recollection. This was strategically done to amp up our anxiety at the outcome. The reminding is made to keep you at the edge of your seat waiting for the final battle you know would be gruesome and harsh. The final battle did not disappoint.

There is a twist at the end and one I enjoyed. It isn't completely a wondrous HEA, but one that satisfies and makes sense. I recommend this book to those that love historical fiction or retellings. For those that don't typically like retellings, this one might be the one to try since it is set more as historical fiction. I give the book 4 stars.

22 comments:

  1. I'm a fan of both historical fiction and re-tellings, so this has been on my TBR for awhile. I'm really glad to see you enjoyed it, Melissa - wonderful review!

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  2. Oh, interesting concept! I haven't heard of this one but I like that the girl goes on to become a powerful woman in her own right. And a big battle at the end helps, too.

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  3. Ooooo I'm loving the sound of this Melissa! I don't think I've read a Sleeping Beauty retelling before, so sign me up! I'm mildly concerned about the ending, I might need you to tell me exactly what happens, but aside from that I'm excited:) Plus, that cover is so, so pretty. Want.

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    1. Na, you will be good. The ending won't kill you or anything. :)

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  4. I have not heard of this book and it has quickly capture my attention. I love re-tales so I will be looking out for this one to hit the shelves.

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  5. I do enjoy historical tales and retellings, but I am a bit burned out on retellings as of late, still I have read a couple of good reviews on this and I would be willing to take a chance. Not a fan of the cover, though, it doesn't speak to me.

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    1. This one is a bit different than other retellings so you may not have burn out with this one.

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  6. Sounds very cool. I like retellings and some historical fiction, so will definitely take a look at this book. Thanks for a great review!

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  7. I love retellings and rarely meet a historical fiction story that I don't want to read, so this sounds right up my alley! It's a shame it's not a total HEA, but it sounds like whatever happens makes sense and is satisfying, and what more can you ask? Awesome review, I'm definitely adding this to my wish list! :-)

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  8. Oh Melissa this sounds different and I love the historical spin..adding to my list :)

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  9. Wow, this sounds interesting! I like the idea of it being more of a historical event. I may have to get a hold of this book.

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  10. Ooh, now this does sound imaginative. I'll be sure to keep a look out for it.

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  11. I saw this one elsewhere but I confess even if I love the idea I so not into that cover and at the end I always forget. I'm glad you had a good time with it.

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  12. I love historical fiction and I love retellings so this sounds perfect :) Great review!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

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  13. This sounds really interesting. I haven't read many re-tellings but I like the idea of making it a historical novel.

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  14. I had my eye on this one when I was at the library, but I didn't pick it up because I had enough on my plate to read for this month. I think I will pick it up for April. I love the sound of the historical retelling.

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  15. Wow. This one sounds amazingly well done. :) Thank you!

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