Beauty Sleeping by Farha Hasan

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“Relax and let your mind go blank. Focus on one feeling at a time.”

   But, this only makes her feel trapped, grates on her nerves. How do people focus on one feeling at a time? There is never just one. Safia has become accustomed to either emptiness or a flood. How do people pull them apart, disentangle one silk thread from the other?”

Something about ‘either emptiness or a flood’ when it comes to our emotional state was such a lovely way to phrase it. Beauty Sleeping is the first in the Make A Wish series, fairy-tales for adults. It took a while for me to separate the characters in my head, confusing until I could find a quiet spot where I could read undisturbed. I enjoy all things supernatural and magical, with our sleeping beauty being a patient in a coma, Laila runs the story and seems to have abilities and control. Somehow fates are linked in this tale and guilt is a cloak some wear but why? How is Laila, trapped in a dead sleep in all appearances but fully alive in truth at the heart of two could be lovers? Just who is really sleeping through their lives, with their careers? Who is the girl Aiden keeps dreaming about?

Both Aiden and Safia are hard-workers that are stuck, going through the motions of life in the business world. Sofia, an executive with an advertising firm and Aiden a Wall Street success. But both are damaged, both are heartbroken. Life has mystery in store for them, and fate is brewing a special treat and somehow Laila the main ingredient. Laila, whose beauty overwhelms anyone who stumbles upon it.

Sometimes going between the characters confused me and the ending left me a little adrift. I really enjoyed The Mother-In-Law Cure by Farha Hasan, and in fact recommend it. Certainly with Beauty Sleeping the author has modernized the tale and that is no easy feat. The spin of our sleeping beauty having more purpose in her life and every character’s  is a great bend, she isn’t so useless after all. She isn’t simply beauty unaware, as in the original tale. What a curse though, to be both aware and trapped- relying on others actions, even if you can influence them. I am torn because there are elements I loved and the narration. I wonder if she could have just stuck with one character’s perspective if it would have translated more clearly. It’s a lovely tale, and unique so don’t be put off. The cover is gorgeous, and Hasan is a talented writer. If you enjoy magical realism she is one to watch.

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