Published by
Amy Einhorn Books (2014-02)
Current material
Final Pages
Original language
Historical adventure fiction


by Blackwell, Elizabeth

Charming fairy tale novel. The Brothers Grimm meet The Thirteenth Tale as the legend of Sleeping Beauty is turned on its head in this Gothic retelling of the real story behind the cherished childhood classic.

I am not the sort of person about whom stories are told. And with this, Elise Dalriss, who began life as an impoverished farmhand, pushes back the curtain on one of the most famous fairy tales of all time. Folk songs and storybooks say that Sleeping Beauty pricked her finger on a spinning wheel and fell asleep for a hundred years, only to be awakened by true love’s kiss. But the truth is no fairy tale. As her great-granddaughter excitedly recounts a minstrel’s song about a beautiful princess asleep in a tower waiting to be awakened by a handsome prince, aged Elise opens the door to her past, ready to confront the history that inspired a legend.

Elise, the onetime companion to the real girl who slumbered, 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, opulent world behind the palace walls that she left behind more than half a century earlier, a labyrinth where the secrets of her real father and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an inconceivable evil. While the servants may be invisible to their masters, the masters are not invisible to the help. Elise saw it all—the beautiful queen who awoke each morning with tears on her pillow, the elderly spinster who in heartache shut herself away, the brother of the king second in line to the throne yet first in line for revenge, the princess yearning to be free, and the ambitious and frightening sister of the king who cannot accept the fact that she will never rule.

As Elise succumbs to the palace’s charms and riches, she may pay the ultimate price for abandoning her heart. Elise has guarded these secrets for a lifetime; WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT is her story. In this rich and compelling novel of love and terror, friendship and fate, we are introduced to a heroine of extraordinary determination—the true heart of a legend—who reveals what it really takes to reach happily ever after.

Elizabeth Blackwell holds a B.A. in History from NorthwesternUniversity and a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. In 2006, she won Harlequin’s “Everlasting Love” writing competition, and her first novel, The Letter, was published by Harlequin in 2007, followed by The House of Secrets (Harlequin, 2009).

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Sebastian Ritscher

Available View on Rightsdesk



Not your grand-mère’s Sleeping Beauty: Do you love fairy tales? Elizabeth Blackwell’s enchanting While Beauty Slept is like no version of the Sleeping Beauty story that you’ve read before. Told from the perspective of Elise, a peasant girl who sets out to make her fortune while hiding a secret past, While Beauty Slept is a rich and immensely satisfying reimagining of the classic fairy tale, one that looks at the ageless struggle between love and duty, and asks whether it’s possible to be true to both.

Quote: Alma Katsu

Intelligent escapism that should please Brothers Grimm lovers…

Review: Kirkus

…a gripping tale full of romance, secrets, and promises made and broken. This beautiful, original reinterpretation of a classic story is engrossing and often surprising.

Review: Library Journal (starred)

Blackwell is faithful to the original while offering a fresh interpretation. . . . The twists that resolve the women's stories are both convincing and moving.

Review: Publishers Weekly

fantastic feature on Elizabeth Blackwell!

Quote: Chicago Tribune

Elizabeth Blackwell is a story-telling genius. Her mesmerizing writing weaves a spell that will enchant you. While Beauty Slept breathes new life into the fairytale genre with a historical twist that will take your breath away.

Quote: Meg Cabot

…Elise’s emotional journey is charted with intimacy, and life inside the castle becomes vividly real. With its palace intrigue, romance, and death, this is no fairy tale but enchanting nonetheless.

Review: People Magazine

Blackwell treats readers to a retelling that makes historical fiction of the fantasy…The story is dark and enchanting… and Blackwell’s rendering of the medieval setting is rich and detailed. Following in the inspired footsteps of Gregory Maguire’s fairy-tale twists, this debut novel puts a spellbinding new spin on a classic yarn.

Review: Booklist

Elizabeth Blackwell’s writing is magical in this complex, dark, and sensual re-telling of Sleeping Beauty. Imaginative, evocative, full of surprises, this is a captivating debut. And like all great fairy tales, this one has the kind of happy ending that requires tissues to wipe way the tears.

Quote: M.J. Rose, international bestselling author of Seduction

A twist on Sleeping Beauty's tale. Reimagining a well-trodden fairy tale is tricky business. Rely too much on the tropes of the original story, and the plot becomes wooden, predictable and dull. Drift too far, and it’s easy to lose the point of the exercise. Few writers can pull off this balance, but…Blackwell proves she’s one of them.

Quote: Bookpage

WHILE BEAUTY SLEPT was also featured in DailyCandy’s “Best Books of March” slideshow.

Quote: DailyCandy

Portuguese (Brazil): Arqueiro/Sextante Spanish: Lumen / Random House Mondadory Russian: Family Leisure Club

Quote: Client


Quote: Kirkus

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