While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
What really happened to Sleeping Beauty? Did she really sleep a hundred years? Was the castle really surrounded by thorns? Had it been a spinning wheel that had brought about her curse? One woman knows. She’s just a merchant’s wife, and elderly at that, but she had been the Queen’s companion and even a noble at one time. She had known the real Rose.
Elise watched her entire family, excepting the man she called father, and one of her brothers die of the pox. Her mother’s final words had told her a name at the castle, where she could go, away from this house. She first spoke to her aunt. Then went onto the castle, where she was accepted into service quite readily. She also found that her father was not her father. It had been someone in the castle.
Soon, Elise was the waiting maid to the queen herself. The queen had wanted a child. She listened to an aunt of the king, Millicent, who took the queen on a strange pilgrimage. The queen ultimately revealed she was pregnant, when the king’s brother was to be named as heir to the kingdom.
The baby was born and it was named Rose, the Rose. Millicent, angry at being excluded from the festivities, was put under house arrest and later banished, but not before uttering a curse against the princess. Safety measures were taken to protect the princess, but she grew anyway.
Elise was flirting with romance, but could not pull herself away from the castle to her beloved Marcus. She stayed. Later some romance found her again, aided by her parentage, which turned out to be more noble than she could have expected. Circumstances brought hard life upon Elise and the entire castle. Would the princess sleep? Would a prince come to rescue her?
What I liked
I don’t know how I managed to read two books about Sleeping Beauty in such a short time. They were both very good. This book was intriguing and interesting. I loved the different take on Sleeping Beauty. Elise is an interesting person. There was political intrigue in this book, which isn’t usually something that stories about Sleeping Beauty usually have.
I also liked that the princess doesn’t end up all princessy. Her life contained hardships. It wasn’t all palaces and riches.
I might have believed the lands in the book were real. Elizabeth did a good job of creating fictional kingdoms and making them believable.
What I didn’t like
I quite enjoyed it. Maybe Elise could have been a bit more damaged and Rose’s story a bit sadder, but I did enjoy the whole book.
A real, well fictional, princess, but it feels more real…
What would Sleeping Beauty be like as a story today?
What other real life problems do you imagine that Sleeping Beauty faced?