“Ha! It would be a fine trick indeed to fell a royal daughter with a needle, then see her revived by a single kiss. If such magic exists, I have yet to witness it. The horror of what really happened has been lost, and no wonder. The truth is hardly a story for children… Does anyone believe that a woman can survive a sleeping death and emerge unscathed? How we tried to heal her, those who loved her most. But some damage is too deep to reach.”
While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell is a reinvented story of Sleeping Beauty. Instead of following Rose (Sleeping Beauty) or Millicent (Maleficent), this story follows a young girl that came up from a poor upbringing to eventually become a lady in waiting for the Queen, Rose’s mom. Elise’s mother once worked in the castle, but because her maidenhood was sullied and she became pregnant out of wedlock, Mayren had to leave the comfortable job in the castle. Her journey takes her and her daughter (Elise) into the country, living on a farm of her new husband, who has been harsh on the little “bastard” of Mayren. Elise doesn’t really mind the life she has, because she doesn’t know better. One day Elise becomes terribly ill, after losing consciousness for days, Elise wakes up to a house that has been contaminated by the Pox. After 4 of her brothers die, along with her mother, Elise runs away in search of her mother’s sister in the city, in order to get a job in the castle, per her mother’s last wishes.
Elise, at 14, becomes a chambermaid; however, she catches the eyes of Millicent (the King’s aunt, aka the bad witch in this story) and of Queen Lenore because she is sweet, does her job, and she is very discreet. The story takes place over a span of 60 years. There is more realism in the story, than fairytale. It was all quite believable for the most part. The interactions of the characters were good (unless they were throwing curses at each other, and even then it was good), the narrator was not someone I wanted to throttle, and the love triangle made sense, was tastefully done, and at the end of the day readers got to have their cake and eat it too. I loved Marcus, and it devastated me what happened between he and Elise; I hated Dorian for what he did to Petra, but I loved him the most at the end… sigh. The ending was very interesting, and I really could not have predicted it to end the way it did.
Thank You Edelweiss. 3.5 stars out of 5.