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Sleeping Beauty

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  741 ratings  ·  70 reviews

Once, a long time ago, Coco Wild learned to never allow a man's kiss to move her, for that way led to downfall. A slender beauty with alluring eyes, she built impregnable defenses around her emotions. The men who came to adore her, fought to conquer her and learn her mysteries, made her the toast of London, but none were able to rouse her passions.

But that hard-taught less

Paperback, 379 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Avon
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  741 ratings  ·  70 reviews

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Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once upon a time, discriminating HR readers had a lot of choices in their romance-reading matter. For example, we had Judith Ivory, Laura Kinsale, a Mary Jo Putney who actually wrote good books, a Mary Balogh who didn't bore the socks off me, and more. This book is a 1998 Judith Ivory work and it stands up to the 21 years since its publication.

This is my second read. The first one was many years ago of my paperback edition. A couple of years back I snapped up the Kindle edition at a good price b
Feb 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lyuda by: Wollstonecrafthomegirl
Shelves: victorian, favorites

4.5 stars

After reading Untie My Heart I wasn’t ready to part with Judith Ivory just yet. Thank you, Wollstonecrafthomegirl, for bringing this story to my attention. I loved it.

As with most of her work, the author departed from nearly every romance formula in creating this wonderfully nuanced, multilayered romance –romance that paired a “retired” courtesan with a young explorer, darling of the society.

This is a character-driven romance at its best. The author made me care for the characters. I w
Tammy Walton Grant
3.5 stars.

Dammit, here's what happens when you accidentally read too many books with the same theme in a short period of time!

WARNING: BIG TIME SPOILER for anyone who has read The Duke but not this book, or this book but not The Duke

I quite enjoyed this book -- the writing was good, the characters different than the norm, and the setting was Victorian rather than Regency, which makes a HUGE difference in terms of setting. I really liked both characters and their relationship (and the conflicts t
Jul 28, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This was a decent and fairly non-typical historical romance. The writing was a bit distant, but that did not hinder the story too much as the characters were well drawn, likable, and had believable issues with their relationship. Not a lot happened outside of the romance so the pacing of the story felt a little slow. Fortunately is was slow, but not overly dull.

Fresh from his successful geological trip to Africa, where he returned with gold in abundance, England's new hero James Stoker has just
Jane Stewart
Way too much pondering. Needed more depth of plot and depth of relationship development.

It seemed like nothing happened in the first half of the book.

Too often the author used artificial means to draw out conflicts. Someone in love did not act the way someone in love would act. Example: a bad guy is going to frame James for two crimes. Coco hears this. She and James are in love. When Coco next sees James she does not warn James about the bad guy’s plans. She thinks to herself James is smart he
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
Really beginning to think Beast was a fluke. I really enjoyed my first Judith Ivory novel and because of that, I immediately downloaded everything else of hers that was available to me. Only to be very meh about the second one and end up DNFing the third out of sheer boredom. She does have a very unique take on retellings, but she'll have to do better than that to hold my interest.
Wicked Incognito Now
Feb 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Judith Ivory has a gift for making her characters sparkle. I feel as if I could reach out and touch them. These characters react to situations in a manner that I WANT THEM TO, and I love that.

It took me awhile to get through this story. For one thing, I kept trailing off into reverie as I read. I would think about the setting and time, and how unjust it was to women and lower classes. I would think how fortunate I am to live in contemporary times. I would think about how well Judith Ivory acknow
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This one gave me all the feelings. Everything you want in a romance. The right amount of wit, description, angst, sex, fear, love, happiness. It was perfect. Couldn't put it down, must know what's going to happen: perfect. Coco, the heroine, is An Experienced Woman. She's essentially been a high priced prostitute for most of her life but she's unashamed of it. She's finally made some serious money after marrying well and now she's living the life she wants. She has agency and she is a fully draw ...more
Lady Wesley
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lady Wesley by: Mrs. Giggles
Shelves: listened
This is a lush, romantic story of a (retired) courtesan who falls in love with a younger man. And the man just happens to be England's current hero, having returned from three years in Africa bearing valuable scholarly research as well as a fortune in gold.

James has a brilliant academic career, and perhaps an earldom, ahead of him, but none of that will happen if he publicly takes up with Coco. As for Coco herself, she's become wealthy and entirely independent and has no desire to subject herse
Jun 17, 2017 rated it liked it
A historical May-December (older woman, younger man) romance that starts with a meet cute... in a Victorian dentist's waiting room. Cool, but also, shudder. Anyway, Ivory is a pleasure to read, even if this one didn't wow me as much as some of her other work. Still, Sleeping Beauty is a nice change of pace for those tired of ballroom Regencies.
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I didn't think I would like this but I did. The hero was great sweet, brilliant and in many ways naive. I was a little unsure about the heroine before reading the book but she did win me over, she was jaded, manipulative and yet hopeful. She did her very best to not fall in with the hero but she did. I did like how she made no apologies for her life choices. She was a young girl swept away by a man and afraid to live the tough life her sisters led. So as a mother of an infant, she did the best s ...more
Amanda Westmont
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I love Judith Ivory. Everything she writes is magic.

This book wasn't quite as memorable as Untie My Heart, but it was still excellent. It made me think about how lucky I am to live NOW instead of THEN and those thoughts really endeared me to the heroine. I would so TOTALLY have been a whore if I had been born in the 1800s. It was the only way for a woman to be truly independent (sexually and financially). I even empathized with her bad tooth since the same thing happened to me two years ago and
Susan (the other Susan)
What a dear, courageous, breathtaking beta hero we have in James. May he and Coco live the fairytale ending she demanded... When I rated this from memory, I gave it four stars instead of five, only because Judith Ivory has written alpha heroes who stayed more vividly in my memory. But after relistening to the audiobook, superbly narrated by the perfectly named Violet Primm, I'm adding the fifth star it deserves for making me cry and laugh and yearn.
Aly is so frigging bored
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
This book enforces something that I always knew: atypical HRs aren't for me. I just couldn't get lost in the story, the characters weren't as captivating... All in all, it didn't work for me.
Mar 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
This is a "must read", a classic even, in romance reading circles. So, I did my duty and read it and must say a lot of the book left me cold. The characters, though not always entirely likable, aren't your standard hero/heroine. The heroine is a mistress and a bit older than the hero but she's a bit too standoffish for my liking. Still, the writing was quite beautiful and I can see why it's held in such high regard.

I have this on audio and will reread it one day when I'm in a better mood (ha, ha
Two of this author's books are ones that I rather like quite a bit, but I can't say that this author is one of my favorites because she doesn't have enough of a collection for that, and some of her books are only all right to me. But she is definitely memorable, and this book is a feast for the senses.

This was the second time I tried to read this book, and the first time I gave up because I didn't like the idea of a prostitute heroine who (gasp) actually enjoyed her work. The squeamish aspect of
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
While this book doesn't supplant UNTIE MY HEART or THE PROPOSITION as my favorite Judith Ivory novels, it was memorable enough to revisit in the future.

Coco was an original heroine, and I enjoyed both her independence, her maturity, and her unrepentant past. Ivory was particularly clever with how she signaled Coco and James's happily ever after (normally a heroine sleeping with the hero is the sure sign of their devotion and HEA-ness, but for a former courtesan, that won't work).

As much as I e
Oh goodness! the last time I read a book by Judith Ivory was almost 8 years ago, and it wasn't a very good one (now that I look back on it) Angel in Red Dress. I was expecting her to write similar to how she did the book I mentioned, but little did I know it was her first one. regardless, this book was amazing! I've never read an omega hero so well written! James James JAMES you ... sigh soooo cute James. I'm really glad Coco didn't make him suffer too much as I expected , he didn't deserve anyt ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
First honest to god "fallen woman" in historical times. Loved it, but some aspects could have been so much better. I wish the end resolution had been fleshed out more, I didn't think it was done well enough, as a result of which I couldn't like the hero 100%.
Big points for 30-year-old geologist hero and 37-year-old illustrator heroine! Then James goes from being happy to ragey, and the sex scene is a major ridiculous turnoff, and it’s all downhill fast. Plus some nice period-appropriate colonialism, which she was probably gonna rectify, but the library took it back before I could get that far and I didn’t care enough to download the audiobook again.
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another intricately woven and emotionally charged love story by Ivory. Coco, the wise seductress, and James, the empassioned Golden Boy, shaped by his experiences in Africa make memorable characters.
Lea's Audiobooks Hensley
Narrated by Violet Primm

Sleeping Beauty is one of my historical romance favorites and, as such, I eagerly purchased the audio version two years ago, although the sample assured that James’s nasal almost effeminate voice, as performed by the narrator, would prove a challenge for me. As I mentioned in our first Speaking of Audiobooks column, my initial listening session was over quickly – I just couldn’t handle my James speaking in that manner. However, since that post, two of our readers have men
Newly knighted Sir James Stoker has just returned from an expedition to Africa in which he found treasure and tragedy. Coco Wild is an older, scandalous courtesan, who's locked her heart away from anything that might hurt her. James could ruin himself by associating with her, yet they find each other irresistible.

This is my first Ivory, and I liked it quite a lot. Fairy tale associations are usually a plus for me, of course, but mostly, I really liked the hero and heroine and how well Ivory fit
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book took me forever and it's the first Judith Ivory romance I didn't get into. Maybe it's the older woman/courtesan scenario (I am a bit of a snob when it comes to this sort of storyline) or maybe it was the fact the storyline was so jumbled! I liked Coco, and I liked James, but I just didn't feel the chemistry between the two, and it took forever for the story to get anywhere! Oh well, all her novels can't be winners and I never really saw the parallel between this storyline an Sleeping B ...more
Jan 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Great start to this book. Humor, honesty, sexual tension. Everything lining up well for another book to add to my keeper list. Then it just started to fizzle. The sexual tension was broken, the social maneuverings took over and I completely lost interest in how it all would end.

I do really love Ivory's writing but she is either hit or miss with me. This was a miss.

Aug 26, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People who like romance novels
Shelves: audiobook
When I checked this book out from the library I was in a hurry and thought I had grabbed the original story of Sleeping Beauty. I was unpleasantly surprised to find a romance novel. I really don't care for straight romances.
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book combines the best qualities of historical fiction, in all its lush details, with historical romance, which is… well, romantic. These characters were flawed and tender, smart, conflicted, and told the truth almost as often as they lied. I will be looking for more by Judith Ivory.
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of the best May-December historical romances ever. Much older woman and a studious, kind younger man have a grand love affair.
Great start and then it started to meander away...but wow I can really see Ivory's influence on some current authors...
Jerry Jares
Apr 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a different type of story that captures the reader's interest quickly. Dr. James Stoker has just returned from a harrowing trip to Africa -- and he's the only one of his large group to return to England. All of the other scholars and scientists died in Africa.

James is all that is good; he's from lowly beginnings and was helped along life's path by his mentor, Dr. Phillip Dunne. Now all kinds of good things, including money, are coming James' way. However, James meets a beautiful, somewha
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Judith Ivory "accidentally" acquired two degrees in mathematics, then sold her first novel in 1987 and closed up the math books for good. She lives in Miami Florida, with her two children, two cats and a dog.

"Judith Ivory" is the pseudonym of author Judy Cuevas (real name).

The pseudonym was first used by her after publication of her last book as "Judy Cuevas," in 1996 - Dance. Her first book, Star

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