As anyone who has read this blog for any length of time could probably tell you, fairytales are a favorite of mine. Or in the words of Miss Dorcas Lane, they are my “one weakness.” To be truthful, like the beloved character on Lark Rise to Candleford who loved that phrase, ‘tis true I do actually have more than one weakness, but fairytales are certainly high on that list. When I discovered that blogging friend Amber Stokes was going to release her loose retelling of Sleeping Beauty, needless to say I was elated. It was time for a new story from her. (Selfish as that may sound, it’s true.)
The 50-some page novella tells the story of Ava, a young entrepreneur, who has suddenly become like honey to a group of bees. Every time Ava tries to go to sleep, the bees that somehow took up residence in her home seem to haunt her. Then there is Keagan. Keagan works at the local coffee shop Ava frequents and despite virtually knowing nothing about each other, the pair form a kind of friendship… with a possibility of so much more.
While You’re Awake, by Amber Stokes | Novella Review
Because it’s so short, saying anything with ease about this novella isn’t fair. Giving away too much will essentially give away what you could simply discover for yourself in an hours’ time. Baring that in mind, my best intention is to keep this short. As with any novella length, from a reader’s perspective, the author already has an uphill battle from the very beginning, no matter the plot. Somehow this story feels very “full” irrespective of that. It’s beautifully told, hitting all of the right highs, and offers a poignant backstory for its hero that slips in unexpectedly to sure up the gaps and appropriately, tugs at our hearts.
‘WHILE YOU’RE AWAKE,’ BY AMBER STOKES #FWarchives Click To Tweet
On a whim, he placed a tender kiss on her lips, lingering for a moment in the sweet space they shred. – Amber Stokes, While You’re Awake
The fairytale elements are few in a traditional sense, and the contemporary setting suits the characters and their motivations. With deft pacing and charming capabilities at telling the story, While You’re Awake is one of those pick-me-up reads you can enjoy in a matter of minutes. It has all the qualifiers of being on the edge of a more complete novel yet what it needs to say, it says and does so with skill. Bees may play a pivotal role, but leaving behind anything other than the sweetness of honey they do not.
About the Book:
Author: Amber Stokes
Publisher: Seasons of a Story (Indie Publishing)
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere: Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Novella (Novelette), Contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5
Sincere thanks to the author for providing a complimentary e-ARC copy of this book for reviewing purposes.