While Beauty Slept

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Published by: Berkley
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Pages: 464
ISBN13: 978-0425273845



I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. Those of humble birth suffer their heartbreaks and celebrate their triumphs unnoticed by the bards, leaving no trace in the fables of their time…

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.

As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back into the magnificent world behind the palace walls she left behind more than a half century ago, a labyrinth where the secrets of her real father and the mysterious fate of her mother connect to an inconceivable evil. Elise has guarded these secrets for a lifetime. As only Elise understands all too well, the truth is no fairy tale.

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"Old-fashioned story-telling and historical fiction create a charming alchemy in this clever reimagining of Sleeping Beauty. . . . With its palace intrigue, romance and death, this is no fairy tale but enchanting nonetheless."

“Elizabeth Blackwell is a story-telling genius. While Beauty Slept breathes new life into the fairytale genre with a historical twist that will take your breath away.”
—Meg Cabot, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Princess Diaries and Heather Wells mystery series


How I used to dream of the castle, imagining an edifice of soaring turrets and polished marble that bore little resemblance to the hulking fortress I would later know so well. My girlish fascination extended into imagined conversations with elegant ladies and gallant knights, fantasies my mother did her best to suppress, for she knew all too well the dangers that came from putting on airs above one’s station. My mother rarely spoke of her youth, but I hoarded the few stories she told me like a ragman collecting scraps, wondering why she had given up her position as a cosseted royal servant for a life of crushing drudgery. The only times I remember her smiling were during the private moments we stole together, in between the baby feedings and the planting and the harvesting, those precious hours when she taught me how to read and write. I practiced in the dirt at the side of the house, using a stick to form the lines. If I spotted my father approaching, I would hastily rub out the scribbles with my feet and scramble to find a chore to occupy myself. To him, an idle child was a wicked one, and a daughter had no cause to learn her letters.