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While Beauty Slept
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While Beauty Slept

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,656 ratings  ·  872 reviews
The Truth is No Fairy Tale.

I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. Those of humble birth suffer their heartbreaks and celebrate their triumphs unnoticed by the bards, leaving no trace in the fables of their time....

And so begins Elise Dalriss's story

When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a tale about a beautiful princess awakened by a handsome

Hardcover, 432 pages
Published February 20th 2014 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published February 2014)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,656 ratings  ·  872 reviews

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Annette (booknerderie)
Have you ever stood in line for a ride {Tower of Terror, perhaps}? Have you ever felt overcome with anticipation? Have you heard the screams of the thrill seekers before you, wanting to know what they know, allowing it to build up the excitement inside of you? Then comes the ride and you're completely and utterly awash with happiness that you were not let down? This book...was NOTHING like that. It was more like standing in line at Walmart. Shuffling idly, letting your eyes peruse the candy that ...more
Robin (Bridge Four)
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
I love fairy tale re-imaginings. I like seeing how a story teller can take core elements and then make it into something entirely new and entertaining. I really didn’t like this re-imagining as it really wasn’t one.

What I expected was more along the lines of
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But what I got was
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The story is told by a grandmother to her favorite grandchild. I thought I’d get some new insight into the story through this telling but instead it seemed like the story could have been of almost any servant
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
****ARC recieved with Thanks from GoodReads First Reads****

This book just made me happy.
I adore her writing style, taking it back to not just content but a certain art work the way the words flow. I would have liked reading it out loud.

Elise was just so real to me. I LOVE my kickarse heroines but Elise had her own quiet kick.
She was strong and knew what she wanted, did what she needed to do and didn't cry about it all the time (and I will love her forever for that simple reason)! She went throu
Noelle VanVleet
Feb 27, 2014 rated it it was ok
Imagine you're a 17-year-old girl, and you're telling an old lady's life story. But you're telling it from your perspective, like you're 65 years old. That's what this book is like.

It's told from the perspective of an old woman, but she remembers all the tiny details of the story as if it all is happening right now, in this moment. And she's giving gloomy hind-sight hints, which add a sense of futility to the story rather than suspense or foreboding. You're like, is ANYBODY going to be okay by
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
*****Received with thanks from Goodreads Firstreads*****

Where do I begin? I LOVED this book! It has easily become one of my favorites.

This is an imagined story of the true events surrounding the well know fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. It was so much better than I even expected....the synopsis of this book does not do it justice!

Elise is born to a life on the farm, a life she detests. Her dream is to go work in the castle....a dream that becomes her reality when her family falls to the Pox. Here we
2 stars... maybe?

Hm....I really dunno what to say about this book, since I pretty much skimmed though the entirety of it. Unfortunately, nothing in this acquired my interest and I regretting picking it up, hence the skimming.

I'll have to come back to this another day, so I can properly review it... That time I'll read it word-for-word.
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I raced through this book -- I think I started it around noon and finished it before dinner time -- and it was a satisfying, emotional read. I love fairy tale retellings, and Blackwell's is solid.

I've been struggling with this review only because I don't know where to start with the squeeing and gushing. I actually read this book in December and my estimation of has grown since then. (Also, this is a good reminder to never put off reviews!)

Blackwell's setting is an ambigu-medieval world, vaguely
May 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fiction
BRILLIANT....! I absolutely LOVED this story. I have always been a huge fan of fairy tales gone wrong - the stories that tell the supposed "truth" behind the happily ever afters that are told to children. This is the story of Sleeping Beauty told through the eyes and life of Beauty's close companion. It has all the elements of a great fairy tale - royalty, tragedy, rescue, even romance - but the elements are grounded in a base of gritty reality. It is easy to see how the details of this story, t ...more
Molly T
May 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fiction, hated, 2014
I was really excited to read this book…and maybe that was its downfall. It disappointed from the the start. What could have been an awesome story was horribly written and somehow managed to plod along too slow and too fast at the same time.

Elise is telling the story to her granddaughter so there is hindsight. And Blackwell doesn't let us forget that. Every other sentence is "If I had known then…" and "the terror she would bring to the castle" and yet for me, that big moment where all the fears
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I so wanted to like this retelling of an old fairy tale. I was on the hold list at the library for a long time to get this. Now that I've read it, I feel extremely disappointed.

A poor little country waif rises to run the kingdom, to come and go as she pleases into the king's and queen's rooms, gives advice freely to the king for which he is always so grateful for, uncovers conspiracy, gains confidences and marries well, not just once, but twice, and so on and so on. It was so fluffy.

This was t
Diane S ☔
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it
3.5 Not my usual type of read, but it is written by a young author from the Chicago area, and I could not resist. Found it was very much my kind of read, because instead of a classic retelling of the Sleeping Beauty, it was written in the style of historical fiction. Very well written too. Sometimes it is good to branch out, in this case I am glad I did.
Jan 31, 2015 marked it as dnf
NOPE not for me. I know it's wrong to make snap judgements but trust me when I say, I tend to know when a book will hold my interest after only 50 or so pages now. ...more
Lily (Night Owl Book Cafe)
Original Post:


Let me tell you. Not at all what I had expected. When I read the summary of this book on Penguin's website, I loved the fact that the book was written through the lens of historical fiction and retelling it as if it could have really happened. Gone are the fairies, the dragon and evil magic and replaced by something more realistic and dark.

The story is told from Elise's point of view. A young woman who grew up on a farm, survived the on
Nov 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
The tale of Sleeping Beauty is a widely-known fairytale about a beautiful princess cursed by a wicked sorceress and a kingdom held in thrall. Elizabeth Blackwell takes the traditional legend and toys with a more realistic situation in which the princess and her kingdom could have found themselves. A vindictive royal aunt and a deadly plague come into play in this fascinating retelling of a beloved story, and is told from a refreshing perspective.

Elise was born on an impoverished farm in a backwa
Meg - A Bookish Affair
"While Beauty Slept" is a wholly original fairytale retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Oh guys, I love a good fairytale retelling. I love seeing an old favorite story turned on its head into something new and fantastic. This book is definitely one of those. The story is told from the perspective of Elise, a servant in the household of the Queen and the King, who are fighting for their reign. Not all is happy in this world. The Queen seems to be potentially barren and it is imperative that she provide ...more
Ashy Khaira
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-pie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
*3.5 stars

Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite Disney films so I was excited to read this re-telling. I liked the 'behind-the-scenes' look into what really happened to Beauty. Told by Elise, companion to the princess, whom I liked more at the beginning of the story than towards the end. Sometimes her story was too much at the forefront than the royals, which I guess I was expecting more from them. Also, too much foreshadowing! That quickly got annoying. I also thought there were times that noth
Feb 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: year-two
My rating: 3.5 of 5

Fairytale retellings are one of my favorite types of books. I love to see what authors can do with a classic story to make it their own new fascinating tale. So when I found this book while looking through the list of e-advanced readers I could download, it stood out. This story was to be different from other fairy tales or even their revised versions. This one was said to be the “true” story of Sleeping Beauty, not of magic or witches, but of a curse brought on by events that
Nov 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kayt

Brought to you by OBS reviewer Kayt

This is a wonderful retelling of an age old fairy tale that gives plausibility to the story. It seems that retooling fairy tales has become the new thing, yet most do not live up to the old standard. While Beauty Slept does more than justice to the tale of Sleeping Beauty, it brings more character and life to the story. Not only does this book explain the story, it also adds more twists and turns to it to bring even more
While Beauty Slept is a difficult book to review because part of its charm lies in the unfolding of its well-known story. To spoil any bit of the story would be to ruin its impact and the pleasure derived from experiencing it.

That Rose ends up being a secondary character to Elise’s primary one is an unexpected twist given the title and the subject matter. It does not diminish one’s enjoyment of the story, nor does it thoroughly enhance it. Rose is a weak character, pampered, sheltered within an
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty (the Disney version). However, this is a bit different than the retellings we are used to getting. Usually there is a mix of what kind of magic or in a different magical place, however, this retelling is a "what if" kind. What if there was a real historical story behind Sleeping Beauty? What if all the magic is taken out of it and was substituted with real life historical problems?

We see this story through the eyes of Elise a girl who was raised on a farm b
JoAnne Pulcino

Elizabeth Blackwell

Recently I’ve felt that I have had my fill of royal historical fiction, but this one appealed to me as a “truthful” retelling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. Told from the viewpoint of Elise Dalriss, a poor farm girl who through hard work and her ability to read and write rises to the position of the private maid of the queen and the legendary princess. The book begins as Ms Dalriss is telling her great granddaughter her version of the story as she lived
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful!!!! I love reimagining fairy tales but this author has done something a little different. This is written more like historical fiction given how she has removed all the magical and witch elements of Sleeping Beauty and tells the "real" account of what happens to Princess Rose and her kingdom.

As told through Elise to her great granddaughter about her life spent in the royal castle as Queen Lenore's attendant and about her fierce friendship to Princess Rose she explains is not a tale for
Tracy Hollander
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
4.5 An amazing retelling of sleeping beauty. I have read a few other retold fairy tales but this one by far has been the best.
Apr 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very plausible and very entertaining updating of the fairy tale!
Jul 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, fantasy
Very different take on a traditional fairy tale. My one comment would be that I didn't like the constant portents of doom that littered each chapter. ...more
Oct 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
This was a retelling of Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of a maid in the castle in a manner that is quite believable. I love that the sleeping illness is actually (view spoiler). I liked that Millicent, (view spoiler) is described in a believable manner, and that the characters, especially (view spoiler), are shown to be affected by the fear of Millicent and her curse. It's also clear that various event ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
A retelling of the fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty", with a bit of a twist at the end. Though it's also the story of Elise, who became lady-in-waiting to Queen Lenore, mother to Rose who was nicknamed by her father Beauty.

I put the book down several times and frankly skipped through the ho-hum pages. The well-known fairy tale transformed to realism telling more of historical devastation sweeping through the kingdom than any sort of magic.
Honestly I thought I would really love this. But
It’s a slog to get through, and while it’s definitely more character based than plot based...I felt that it was just not enough. The middle was way too convoluted and drawn out for me to really be concerned with any of the characters. Maybe had it been shorter I would have liked it more, as over 450 pages for a sleeping beauty retelling was way too long in my personal opinion.
Bre Clouse
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Okay so I'm going to say it. This book is a tortious on its back slow. But the ending is worth it all. In the beginning the main character irritated me I won't lie. But when she bloomed into the woman who ultimately saved the kingdom and gave freedom to two young women?!? Dang girl you work!!!

Take the time and you'll see what I mean!!
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Any other good fairy tale retellings? 29 88 Jul 10, 2015 12:37PM  
Didn't anyone else find the ending completely disappointing? 3 45 Aug 02, 2014 09:50PM  

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As the daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service officer, Elizabeth Blackwell grew up in Washington, D.C., interspersed with stints in Africa, the Middle East and Europe--pretty much always with a book in hand. She majored in history at Northwestern University (hooray! more reading!) and received her master's in journalism from Columbia University, which led to a career as an editor and writer for a numb ...more

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