Source: I received a copy to facilitate my review. The opinions expressed here are my own.
I love fairy tales. I love them eve more when someone has taken a fairy tale and put such a spin on it that it stays with you for days. “While Beauty Slept” is one of those fairy tales. This is the Sleeping Beauty story with major changes. I have to say that out of all of the fairy tales I grew up with, Sleeping Beauty was one of my least favorites, until now.
The main character Elise has lived a hard life up to the age of 14. It is after someone in the market calls her a name, that her mother tells her the truth about her father that helps her understand why her father treats her the way he does. Her mother has always expected so much from her because she wants her to go far in life. Her mother had worked as a seamstress in the castle until something happened. Elise is determined to work at the castle. After the death of her mother and several of her brothers from illness she leaves home and heads to her aunt’s house. There she stays for a couple of weeks being groomed for work in the castle. This is just the beginning of her new life. She moves quickly up the ranks becoming the personal maid to the queen. Don’t think this is one of those feel good Disney type books because it is not. This one is full of love and love lost, betrayal in all forms. There are the friendships formed and lost, and so much grief. The emotions throughout this book bring you right into the world. I could visualize all of it. It isn’t often that I am that involved in the story. I was hooked from the moment Elise catches her granddaughter Raimy in her trunk. With everyone else asleep she pulls her on her lap and says to her, “I will tell you a tale….”
If you are someone who loves fairy tales and fairy tale retellings then I would say this is a must read. It would definitely be for the older Young Adult reader, New Adult Reader or Adult. I look forward to reading much more by this author.