While Beauty Slept

Author: Elizabeth Blackwell
Fiction, spin-off on The Sleeping Beauty
Rating: 4/5

Humble farm girl Elise Dalriss joins the household of the castle at St. Elsip and is swept into a world of raging ambition and dark intrigue. She finds a friend in beautiful and lonely Queen Lenore and clashes with the king’s formidable aunt, Millicent. The birth of a princess and a rapid succession of betrayals force Elise to choose sides, make sacrifices and, ultimately, draw her deeper into the affairs of the royal family. As war and disaster closes in, she finds her fate increasingly entwined with that of the castle and, even more, its princess.

So many medieval feels! Palace intrigue, betrayal, revenge, romance and death. Exciting times.

The setting was convincingly portrayed and I liked how the author turned one of the most defining characteristics of the age into a key part of the plot. No, Janet, you have to read to find out. I take a firm stand against spoilers. The realistic interpretation of the events in the classic fairy tale made the story enjoyable to follow, despite the fact that I knew how the story-line must roughly flow.

I liked the plot twists, especially the one right at the end. What did I say, Janet? All of it contributes to the feeling of discovering the story behind the story, reminding the reader that history is written by the winners and that no tale is ever how it is told to be.

I did think that some of the characters could have been better developed, though. Some aspects of the plot were a little vague and left unexplained, too.

All things considered, it was a good read and, for me, put a nice – but dark, quite dark – spin on the classic fairy tale.


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