While Beauty Slept
By Elizabeth Blackwell
Amy Einhorn Books, 2014. 424 pages. Fiction.
In this retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Elise comes to the castle as a lowly housemaid and slowly works her way up to become lady's maid for Queen Lenore, herself. From her privileged position, she is able to see the longing of the King and Queen for a child, and the machinations of the king's aunt, Millicent, to wrest the kingdom from her nephew's grasp.
This was a beautiful retelling of a very classic fairy tale. Set in medieval times, the story stayed true to the time period and focused on creating the real life story that would eventually be lost to legend, magic, and fairy tale. Blackwell's imagining of Princess Rose's "cursed sleep" was ingenious and the end of the story was riveting. The book was slow in starting; the amount of detail provided at the beginning makes the story plod in the early chapters. But you will be thankful you read them by the end of the book, because everything described early on has its purpose by the final pages. A very atmospheric read.