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While Beauty Slept [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth Blackwell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $25.95
Kindle Price: $12.99
You Save: $12.96 (50%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Hardcover $16.91  
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Book Description

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 Dalriss’s story. When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a minstrel’s 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.

Editorial Reviews


""Blackwell, previously a reporter and romance writer, makes her historical fiction debut with a gripping tale full of romance, secrets, and promises made and broken. This beautiful, original reinterpretation of a classic story is engrossing and often surprising."" ---Library Journal Starred Review

About the Author

Elizabeth Blackwell works as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Ladies' Home Journal, Parenting, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. She lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Wanda McCaddon has narrated well over six hundred titles for major audio publishers and has earned more than twenty-five Earphones Awards from AudioFile magazine. She has also won a coveted Audie Award, and AudioFile has named her one of recording's Golden Voices.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1274 KB
  • Print Length: 433 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0399166238
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (February 20, 2014)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #135,192 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've been recommending this to everyone!! February 23, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
My review: I was so excited to read this book. Bracing for the second snowstorm in two weeks, I stocked up on supplies and we all planned on just hunkering down at home. I snuggled up and read the best retelling of Sleeping Beauty I could ever imagine. I'm not a fan of sweeping, sighing romances and too often fairy tale retellings are too sappy for me. The main character of While Beauty Slept is not the princess but instead a village girl who leaves her childhood farm to work in the castle. Beginning as a chambermaid and rising through the castle caste system to become the closest person to the royal family, Elise Dalriss is constantly questioning everyone's motives. This story has everything a great fairy tale should have: a castle, doting townspeople, and a loving king and queen, but also: twin sisters practicing herbal medicine and dark arts, womanizing knights, and betrayals. I compare this book to Mists of Avalon with an upstairs/downstairs theme because Elise is a servant but in direct contact with the royal family. 55 years ago, Disney adapted Grimm's Sleeping Beauty for the big screen and this year Maleficent releases in May. Blackwell's timing for this release is perfect. I read this book in paperback version and I suggest reading it in the same format if possible because this book begs you to cuddle up with it at night for a grown up bedtime story.

** I received this book in exchange for an honest review **
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars led to some pretty gnarly reads (Ninja Cinderella July 9, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
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).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the version of Sleeping Beauty I want my daughters to read!

Since entering adulthood, it has been my strong conviction that much of what ails American culture in particular but perhaps on a more global scale are Disney movies. The idea that good always conquers over evil, and that the princess always gets her handsome perfect prince in the end is ludicrous. But we grow up with those notions. Cautionary folk tales have been morphed into unrealistic brainwashing fairy tales.

Thank God for authors like Elizabeth Blackwell who have the good grace and wonderful creative ability to weave a more complex tale more reflective of real life.

Now that is not to say that I don’t enjoy some escapist reading on occasion—I do. But Blackwell’s revisioning of this classic fairy tale story is refreshing and refreshingly honest. From page one through to the very last page, Blackwell kept me eager to read the next line. Most apparently Blackwell borrows from Sleeping Beauty but there are also elements of Cinderella. Blackwell skillfully tells her story through the eyes of Elise a servant of the royal household, instead of through the princess. This device allows Blackwell to add dimension and depth to the story, allowing the reader to see the royals as people instead of heroes or idols and allows regular people to have heroic moments.

There is pain and suffering in this tale—Blackwell sugarcoats nothing. But there is also a tremendous amount of hope and redemption here that reflects a life worth living even without the guarantee of a happy ending.

While Beauty Slept is a superb modern interpretations of the classics and a welcome addition to my library. For the Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland lovers, this should be an absolute hit.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful re-imagining of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale February 20, 2014
I raced through this book -- I think I started it around noon and finished it before dinner time -- and it was a satisfying, emotional read. I love fairy tale retellings, and Blackwell's is solid.

Despite the Sleeping Beauty plot frame, I'd argue this is really a coming-of-age novel. Our heroine, Elise, grows up in a complicated world of protocol where friendships are easily bruised by betrayal and romantic entanglements cost more than one's heart. A medieval career woman, in a way, Elise is dedicated to the royal family, potentially at the expense of her own happiness. I was frustrated with Elise while reading -- I wanted her to behave differently at times -- but a few month's distance from my active reading I feel nothing but like and admiration for her.

The joy of this novel is the balance Blackwell finds in creating an engrossing original story that has all the elements, icons, and touchstones of the famous fairy tale. It is both new and familiar. The bones are Sleeping Beauty, but the meat of the story is a creative, emotional, and haunting tale of a woman who hopes to gain some measure of happiness in finding that for those she loves. Un-put-down-able and unforgettable.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars This was a really good story, drawing me in from the start
This was a really good story, drawing me in from the start. I really liked the author's writing style: intelligent, great descriptions, nice flow. Read more
Published 5 hours ago by MKV
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely, fun read!
While Beauty Slept is a lovely story. it is light and enjoyable, with characters that are relatable and well developed. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Jamie Burnett
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful historical fiction retelling of Sleeping Beauty
This was a very well done fairy tale retelling that is done as historical fiction with no magic. This was really well written and I enjoyed it a lot. Read more
Published 10 days ago by K. Eckert
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
I loved this book. I was sitting in a hospital waiting room, and it sucked me right into the story and took me away. I could hardly put it down and read it in one day. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Sandi
2.0 out of 5 stars Beauty Never Slept
I love fairy tale re-imaginings. I like seeing how a story teller can take core elements and then make it into something entirely new and entertaining. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Robin Snyder
3.0 out of 5 stars A retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
This is a retelling of the fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty". Elise Dalriss begins telling the story when she is a great grandmother. Read more
Published 23 days ago by JerseyGirl
4.0 out of 5 stars Sleeping Beauty as it could have happened
I've been reading about and reading a lot of retellings lately, which is what drew to me to this book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Wallace Rinkelhaus
5.0 out of 5 stars Come in to the castle!
Avid readers love to plunge into a book and freefall into new worlds. Bending back the front cover of Ms. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. David
3.0 out of 5 stars Realism Kills the Magic
"While Beauty Slept" by Elizabeth Blackwell retells the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale from the pragmatic standpoint of Elise, first attendant to Queen Lenore, mother to Rose AKA... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Diana F. Von Behren
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thoroughly enjoyed this version of Sleeping Beauty#
Published 2 months ago by Connie M. Shirey
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