While Beauty Slept

While Beauty Slept

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While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell, Wanda McCaddon

From Elizabeth Blackwell, historical fiction at its best-The Brothers Grimm meets The Thirteenth Tale.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781452617893
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 02/20/2014
Edition description: Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 5.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Blackwell works as a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Ladies' Home Journal, Parenting, and the Chicago Tribune, among other publications. She lives in the Chicago suburbs.

Wanda McCaddon has won more than twenty-five AudioFile Earphones Awards, including for The Seamstress by Sara Tuvel Bernstein, for which she also earned a coveted Audie Award. AudioFile magazine has also named her one of recording's Golden Voices. Wanda appears regularly on the professional stage in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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While Beauty Slept 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
MouseyBL More than 1 year ago
WOW! 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-slaughter of Pox that claimed almost all of her family and escaped to a small town in hopes of getting a position in the castle. Thanks to her mother's background and previous history of working for the castle, she is welcomed by the woman in charge of the maids. Elise started out as a chamber maid, but her mother's teachings and the ability to read had progressed Elise into eventually becoming the Queen's personal attendant. Thought she now lives in a lifestyle that she felt she was born to of lavish and glamor. Only the royal family and it's servants know what's underneath the facade, and the dark secret's inside the castle walls. Especially Elisa, a girl who came from nothing but become the most trusted lady in the castle with both the Queen and her family. The sacrifice the Queen had to make in order to bare a child and a heir to the throne. Her journey itself was long and perilous. What was offered as a help from the aunt Millicent had turned into something that had cost the Royal family and it's people far more upon Princess Rose's birth. A story filled with suspense, secrets, sacrifice, loyalty, love and devotion. Blackwell takes us on a beautiful yet a dark rendering of Sleeping Beauty that had me savoring every page. The story did not read lightly, it was complex yet gorgeous. I didn't devour it in one sitting, it took me a few days allowing the story to sink in bit by bit, relishing the amazing storytelling. I jumped into the story head first. Thinking I knew exactly what was coming and I was rewarded with so much more. I loved Elisa and hated her at the same time. She poured her heart and soul at serving her Queen and eventually becoming Lady-in waiting to Rose. Her devotion to both the Queen and the Princess ran far deeper then her own feelings. She had put aside her own life, her own love in order to serve the Royal family and the result was beyond astronomical in the effect she has had on Rose in the end. The ending took me by surprise, once again thinking that I knew exactly what was coming but Elizabeth Blackwell has managed to blow everything out of the water. Ending up with a conclusion that was not what I expected after all. I did like this different take on Sleeping Beauty ending. I could keep on talking about this book, but there was just so much in it that I do not want to give away. Thought the pacing was a bit slow sometimes, I took it as an opportunity to fully enjoy the story. If you love a good historical fiction, I would absolutely give this one a shot. I got a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange of an honest review. Thank you Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam for providing me with a physical copy.
sneps More than 1 year ago
Out of all the Disney princess movies, Sleeping Beauty, was one of my least favorites. So, I really had no idea what to expect from this book, but I am glad did read it! I love the way Elizabeth Blackwell takes a treasured children’s story, and expands on it in such a creative and genius way! Even if you have not read Sleeping Beauty or seen the movie, like me, you will understand this story and appreciate the direction that Elizabeth takes this book. With Elise’s point of view, readers gain an insider’s view to the Queen, Maleficent, and even Princess Aurora. The story truly reads as if it is based on an actual historical event, or at least a real place, which is what makes this book so special. Regardless of a “fantasy” place, readers will genuinely love the relationship Elise develops with different palace workers, the Queen, and her own love story, that is weaved in. Overall, a beautiful story and one that will delight readers!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Told from an interesting perspective - a woman who spent many years in service in a castle and knows the truth behind the sleeping beauty story and is ready to share the truth.  Elise loses her entire family and returns to her mother's home town and previous place in the castle.  She quickly rises to a great position within the castle and has quite some interesting experiences while trying to mix and mingle amongst the elite. First, I loved how the story was presented - as a story told from a great grandmother to her great granddaughter I loved it.  It allowed for Elise to just tell the story from beginning to end and to give her story purpose and reason.  I also loved the amount of time that her story spanned and although it is set up that she definitely ends up with a family, it doesn't ruin who the family is started with.  Although it didn't end up being quite the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, I loved it just the same.
Justpeachy1 More than 1 year ago
While Beauty Slept has been touted as a re-telling of Sleeping Beauty fairy-tale. It is written by Elizabeth Blackwell and though there are elements of the original tale, this story is so much more than your average re-telling. It has substance, emotion and brings back the original Grimm's fairy-tale feel. It does not rely on a happy ending and is more believable and realistic than the Disney classics most of us grew up with. A wonderfully, refreshing story that will have readers more interested in the maid than the princess! What I liked: Elizabeth Blackwell tells the Sleeping Beauty yarn with a totally different perspective. Elise Darliss is a maid in the king's household. She is devoted to the royal family and eventually becomes the companion to the sleeping princess, but her story is anything but a happily-ever-after tale. This book is dark and edgy. There is everything from witchery to betrayal and the secrets abound. Blackwell has taken the framework of the classic tale and turned it on it's head. I don't even think "re-telling" is the word I would use to describe it. It is more like a re-imagining. It takes the essential details but transforms them into a totally different story. In a few words, I loved it. Blackwell is so expressive. Her details of medieval life were dramatic and stark. She didn't shy away from the uncomfortable details of life on a farm, or life in the castle. There was a definite distinction between those who worked in the castle and those who lived in the castle, but Elise's interactions with the royal family were poignant and felt very realistic. There was back-biting and broken promises and everything you would imagine going on in a royal court, as well as, emotional moments that were as beautiful as they were unexpected. I felt like this was a story about a young woman who was determined to make something of herself. To live a life worth living despite whether or not she got her happy ending. I think we as readers often believe every fairy-tale had a happy ending. Have you read the original Grimm version of the fairy-tales we know and love? They were hardly tales of perfect romance and sappy heroines. They were dark and dangerous in their time and I think Blackwell conveys that same urgency and direness that the Grimm brothers made famous. Just an excellent book in every way. Bottom Line: The publishing industry, as well as, television and movies have been inundated with such an influx of fairy-tale retelling and stories that twist the fabric of the original stories so much they are hardly recognizable. While Beauty Slept is very different. It boils it all down to a coming of age story of a young girl who wanted a better future. But what she found was heart-breakingly real. I loved it from start to finish and you will too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ending was a huge letdown...waste of time reading as the book summary makes it out to be so much more dramatic than it is. Boring is a great word to describe this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful story. Makes you believe in happy endings.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interesting dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty, I appreciated a different approach. But there's no Aurora in this book!
StephWard More than 1 year ago
'While Beauty Slept' is the beautiful and tragic fairy tale reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. The novel follows main character Elise - now an old woman - as she tells her great-granddaughter what really happened behind the story of Sleeping Beauty. Elise should know it well - she was the princess' companion when everything happened. The novel is Elise's story - of her life before and while at court, the lives of several powerful women, and the secrets of the princess herself - and what really happened during that fateful time. I'm rarely at a loss for words while writing a review, but this book has left me completely speechless. Nothing I write will do this novel the justice it deserves, but I'll do my best to share my thoughts and opinions. Where to start? The entire book is magical. I was hooked from the very first line and I didn't quit reading until I had literally read the entire thing - which happened to be all at one time. The cast of characters that we meet in the story is unusual - a haphazard mix of the poor and the incredibly wealthy, a blend of men and women who search for happiness but remain lost, while others find exactly what they were looking for - even if it means not having the life they thought they wanted. Each character in the story - mostly the secondary ones - have distinct personalities and quirks that make them unique. The author wrote about each one in such a personal way that I felt as if I saw them - knew them - even if it wasn't more than an acquaintance. I don't even know how to describe Elise along with the other major characters in the book. Elise is determined to make something out of her life by working as a servant in the castle. She makes her way there and eventually starts moving up the hierarchy. She's humble, smart, and devoted - to her mother and later to the princess and the other women at court she becomes a confident to. Elise matures completely throughout the span of the story - in the beginning of her tale, she is a mere girl, but by the end she is an old woman telling her story to her great-granddaughter. Elise grows and matures in all ways - emotionally, physically, mentally, and any other way possible. I loved watching her character grow and expand throughout the story. The plot of the novel is phenomenal. It's said to be a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, but it's so much more than that. It's a story of love, loss, grief, hope, dark secrets, fate, and friendship - just to name some of the themes that run throughout it's pages. Almost all readers know at least the basics of the Sleeping Beauty fairytale, so parts of novel do match up with the story we've known for so long. I liked it when the two synched up because it made me remember the old adage that says in every lie (or legend) is a nugget of truth. Those words are more than appropriate for the story and I think it made the book just a bit easier to believe - that what happened in the story may have really happened. The writing was phenomenal. The author used just enough detail and imagery to make me jump inside her world, but she didn't overdo it. There weren't overdone descriptions or flashy imagery that could mess up a story and the reader's experience. It was written with a simple beauty and a natural flow that carries the reader away on the journey with Elise without even realizing that it happened. The simplicity of the imagery and details only enhanced my reading of the book. It had a perfect balance of the two that kept the readers fully engrossed in the story without overstimulating their senses. As I mentioned above, I absolutely loved every aspect of this book. Every. Single. One. I can't find a bad thing to say about it at all. I got so caught up in the story and was so far into the world the author created, that I had major visceral reactions to situations that happen. I don't normally react so strongly to a book - very rarely do I actually cry or get so mad that I don't want to read anymore. When I come across a novel that can get that kind of gut reaction out of me - I know that it's something amazing. And this one had me on an emotional roller coaster of feelings - I was laughing at times, sobbing during others, and so mad that I almost flung the book across the room and started ranting at the characters. Even after finishing the book, I couldn't get it out of my head. The characters, the story, the world that they lived in - I couldn't stop thinking about them or certain parts of the story line itself. This is one book I know for sure I will be re-reading time and again because of it's magnificent writing style and enchanting story. I can't recommend this book highly enough! Every reader should give it a shot - even if you're not a fairy tale type reader - because the quality of the writing and the story itself will sweep you off your feet. Fans of fantasy, fairy tales, retellings, and historical fiction need to read this book NOW. I swear you won't be disappointed. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am, and always have been, a huge fan of the Sleeping Beauty story. This book brought the myth and fantasy to life and made me wonder...Did it really happen??? It's so well written, with surprises, twists, and "aha" moments throughout. You won't want to put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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arbjamesAJ More than 1 year ago
Forget the story of Sleeping Beauty that you've heard all of these years. The truth, as told by Blackwell, is quite a different tale. Told from the perspective of Elise, a woman who worked as a maid to the royal family and became a lady in waiting after marrying a knight. Elise was more than just a servant; she was a friend and confidant to both the Queen and the beautiful princess Rose. Their story was not a fairy tale but rather a story marked by heartbreak, suffering, and death.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very enjoyable read. I thought this was a well written re-imagining of what might be behind the Sleeping Beauty myth. I really enjoyed it and hope Elizabeth Blackwell follows it up with another.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago