While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
About this book: The telling of Elise Dalriss’s story begins when she hears her great-granddaughter recount a minstrel’s tale about a beautiful princess asleep in a tower, pushing open a door to the past that 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.
About the author: Elizabeth Blackwell contributes a weekly column to TheStreet.com and is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parenting, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications.
Judge this book by its cover? This darkly romantic, eerie cover aptly portends the story that follows.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG-13. No profanity, some sensuality and violence but nothing gratuitously graphic.
Reminds me of… Did you see the 2013 movie Jack the Giant Slayer? This is like that. The publisher touts it as The Brothers Grimm meets The Thirteenth Tale–also very apt.
You’ll want to buy this book if … You are a woman who enjoys imaginative historical fiction. Though it doesn’t release until February 20, you may preorder here.
Why did I read this book? For Amy Einhorn Books for review
A word about the publisher… From their website: “The overarching tenet of Amy Einhorn Books is to hit the sweet spot between literary and commercial—intelligent writing with a strong narrative and great storytelling. The first title published in the imprint was the number-one New York Times bestseller The Help by Kathryn Stockett.” They also published one of my favorite reads from 2013, The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty. So far so good! Now I keep a sharp eye out for more from this innovative publisher.
Would I read another by this author? I hope to
My take: This is a gorgeous read for these long, winter evenings, ideal for cozying up with in your favorite reading chair, cup of tea at hand. The prose is lovely yet unadorned. Rich in historical detail, the beautifully paced story never feels rushed as the author lavishes equal amount of care on each and every page. I especially enjoyed the creative names the author gave her characters. Only a small handful were familiar–Elise, Rose, Lenore, Marcus. Almost everyone else received a name that was just off the mark of something familiar, adding to the tale’s fabled feel.
Though I would read this book for its title alone (and did), it is perhaps a bit misleading as the story itself is hardly at all about what actually happens “while Beauty slept.” Nonetheless, I found it to be a read worth savoring–a lush retelling of the classic fairy tale, with an imaginative twist of an ending.
Thanks to Amy Einhorn Books for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
Now your turn: What is your favorite fairy tale remake, either in book form or on screen? Back in the day, I liked 1998’s Ever After: A Cinderella Story. It was even more fun when I recently watched it with my daughter.
Next I’ll be watching for Maleficent, the movie based on Sleeping Beauty, arriving in theatres this summer.