Elizabeth Blackwell weaves a compelling tale that equal parts historical fiction and fairy tale retelling.
When Elise overhears her great-granddaughter telling the minstrel tale of Sleeping Beauty she decides to share the truth behind the tale, based on the firsthand account of someone who was there and intimately involved in the details - both joyous and disastrous.
Elise's mother, once a seamstress to the royal family, bestowed upon her daughter education and the desire to move beyond the work and confines of their current farm life. When the plague rips through the countryside, destroying her family, Elise makes the momentous decision to travel to the capital in an attempt to find work within the castle walls. Little does Elise know that the fate of the kingdom, as well as her own life, will be forever altered by this one decision by a simple farm girl.
While Beauty Slept is filled with detailed descriptions of castle life, both above and below stairs, romantic scandals and conquests, evil curses and tough decisions in a legend that will transport you to another place and time and haunt you long after you put it down. Elise’s story is a believable look at how one tragedy can become the roots of a classic fairy tale.
I recommend While Beauty Slept to fans of Downton Abbey and the works of Philippa Gregory. This title is newly released, so look for it soon at a Library near you.