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. If you love a good historical fiction, I would absolutely give this one a shot.
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Lily Pond Reads