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Publisher's Summary

I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. And so begins Elise Dalriss's story. When she hears her great-granddaughter recount a minstrel's tale about a beautiful princess asleep in a tower, it pushes open a door to the past, a door Elise has long kept locked. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered - and she is the only one left who knows what actually happened so many years ago. Her story unveils a labyrinth where secrets connect to an inconceivable evil. As only Elise understands all too well, the truth is no fairy tale...

©2014 Elizabeth Blackwell (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Blackwell, previously a reporter and romance writer, makes her historical fiction debut with a gripping tale full of romance, secrets, and promises made and broken. This beautiful, original reinterpretation of a classic story is engrossing and often surprising." ( Library Journal Starred Review)
"Narrator Wanda McCaddon clearly understands the emotional arc of Blackwell's story and gives a moving performance." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

EVIL THOUGHTS TAKE STRENGTH IN THE DARK,

WHILE HOPE THRIVES IN THE LIGHT.
Did I read a fantasy with black magic or did I listen to a highly entertaining dark tale with characters who knew how to fool people in to thinking they performed magic? I think I know, but I am not 100% sure.

This is done in first person from the point of view of a servant of the queen and princess. Most things can be explained through deduction, but some things might be magic. This reminded me a lot of Robin Hobb's writing. The main characters are well developed. Young Elsie could easily be confused with Fitz in Hobb's Farseer trilogy. Like real life not everything turns out the way you want it to. The characters are complicated, not cookie cutter cut outs. I loved every minute of it and can't wait for Blackwell to come out with something else at Audible.

This is less fairly tale and more story. Sleeping beauty plays a minor part. It also is a story about a strong woman who like some women of today, had to decide between her love life and her career. If you like books with a strong female lead, this is the book for you. Change a few things and this could easily be a story about a woman of today.

Narrator is exceptional and made the experience that much more.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Great Fairytale Revamp! Very Very Dark

I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say this: surprisingly depressing.

The best parts of this story are the characters. Every character is motivated by complex and completely relatable experiences. No decision ever seemed innately flawed, it's really easy to understand, but the series of choices leads to some dark situations.

I will warn you, this book is not for the faint of heart. It is not light hearted at all. But if you can get through it, it is very very good. It left me with all sorts of feelings for days

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Loved it right up to the end

This re-envisioned telling of Sleeping Beauty satisfied both my need for depth in details and well done characters. Only the end, while the logical conclusion given the characters, felt like a let down. Perhaps it is just a matter of too much happy ending and not enough fulfillment of duty for my Puritanical soul.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Puzzling

I am unsure how to review this book. While it did keep my interest and it did surprise me along the way it also seemed as if it promised something that never quite came to be. I read other reviews of people liking the end of the book, I disagree. I hated the ending. But overall the book was fine and well written. It you are looking for a good listen this is decent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

More historical tragedy than fairy tale.

I was expecting a gritty fairy tale, but instead heard a story with no magic and no real happiness. There is almost no joy in the 12 hour book, and what little there is becomes negated by the incessant doomsday foreshadowing. Overall a depressing book that plodded through tragedy after tragedy.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Different Sleeping Beauty

Would you consider the audio edition of While Beauty Slept to be better than the print version?

Wanda McCaddon's narration was wonderful and brought the story to life

What did you like best about this story?

I liked this updated, revisionist interpretation of a fairy tale. The story retained the feel of a fairy tale but also had scenes of devastation and poverty that gave it realism

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, there were several emotional moments. ( I don't want to give any spoilers)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ellenaeddy
  • Chesterton, IN, United States
  • 12-09-14

Fairy Tale Twist

This is a nice retreat of Sleeping Beauty with some very lifelike twists. It's a pleasant read. Enjoy!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • cristina
  • Somerville, MA, United States
  • 06-12-14

Very Bad Writing

I plodded through 5 hours of the first-person 'narrative,' thinking that any minute the story would 'start,' but simply couldn't take it anymore. Zero character development. Zero originality (I like these sorts of fantasies so the plot seemed to have promise when I read the publisher's summary, but the characters behave along extremely stereotypical lines). The combination made for a very boring listen. I am planning to get my credit back.

Skip this one and read "Enchantment" by Orson Scott Card.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A Terrific Cast of Female Characters

While Beauty Slept is a Sleeping Beauty story told from the perspective of one of the royal family's most trusted servants as she looks back on her years of service in her old age.

Elise Dalriss begins her tale at the beginning of her life. A life that was hard and touched with sorrow when she was a child. After her mother's death she leaves for the castle. Elise quickly rises in the ranks and is soon serving the queen herself.

Elizabeth Blackwell's version of Sleeping Beauty is more realistic than most versions of this fairy tale, and it was interesting to read a version that imagines what Sleeping Beauty would be without the magic and the fairies.

Blackwell populates her novel with a terrific cast of female characters who, although limited in their options and forced to make difficult decisions because of the limitations placed on women in a medieval/ Renaissance setting, are also powerful and capable.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • TBJ
  • miami
  • 03-30-15

Very good Sleeping Beauty backstory

This is the back story of Sleeping Beauty. Wonderfully written and performed. Great reading and entertainment for teens through adults.