Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Sleeping Beauty and the Beast

Lemon, M. (2014). Sleeping Beauty and the Beast. Self-published.

Adult / Fiction / Fantasy / Romance

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars

In the Kingdom of Cray lives the Princess Eglantine, cursed by a vengeful witch to sleep until her brother frees a terrible beast. This is a task easier said than done because Eglantine is an only child. As Eglantine sleeps, she finds her dreams allow her to visit the Kingdom of Fallund, where she meets Prince Henry -- who can communicate with Eglantine.  As Henry and Eglantine become inseparable, Prince Henry's twin brother, Duncan, finds himself inexplicably drawn to a wild, beastly creature imprisoned and accused of murder.  With kindness and persistence, Duncan finds that beneath the beastly exterior is Ovinia, a woman whose horrible past is strangely connected to Eglantine. As the two princes go into battle, not only their own lives and kingdom are on the line, but perhaps also the fates of Ovinia and Eglantine.  With twists and turns, the stories of the sleeping beauty and the beast come together -- but will they all live happily ever after?

In Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, author Melissa Lemon gives readers some familiar names but with unfamiliar faces and unexpected twists.  The sleeping beauty (Eglantine) storyline somewhat parallels the classic fairy tale, but there are several unique aspects, including the narration.  The story of the beast (Ovinia) is completely different from the classic and was most intriguing. Lemon does a great job with the world building, so that readers can easily visualize the various settings and experiences of the characters.  Especially well-done were Eglantine's descriptions of her being aware of her surroundings but unable to respond.  

The writing flows smoothly between storylines and changing points-of-view, and though there are a fair amount of unexplained events and unanswered questions, they don't really interfere with the direction of the story. Personally, I would have enjoyed having some chapters told from Ovinia's perspective because we really don't get to know her very well. 

Happily, this is a clean read that doesn't have any sex or bad language. There is some violence (war and death but nothing explicit), and there is a very vague reference to possible sexual abuse. As such, I'd recommend this book for middle graders who don't mind romance and older.

Thank you to the author for giving me a review proof copy in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give. 

Melissa Lemon is the author of two other fairy tale retellings: Cinder and Ella and Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem. She is also the author of a sweet romance called Blue Sky. Writing is just one of her passions. She also loves music, reading, baking and exercising. She is wife to a patient man, mother to three spunky girls, and warden to a tolerant cat named Matilda. Learn even more about Melissa and her books on her BLOG.

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