Judith Ivory brilliantly revises the fable of Sleeping Beauty into an updated, sophisticated tale that reminds us that Sleeping Beauty was 100 years older than the prince when he awakens her, though true love of course knows no boundaries of age.

As a renowned African explorer, Sir James Stoker has fame and fortune, but not love-until he meets the older and perhaps wiser Mrs. Coco Wild, a woman with a certain "reputation."

With a son nearly as old as Sir Stoker, Coco knows she is playing with fire when she meets the handsome, vibrant young man. Against her better judgment, she allows herself to be drawn into James' world, for she is intrigued.

James is immune to the rumors about Coco's past and he even sets aside his knowledge of her former lovers. He is obsessed by her wit, charm and beauty...the difference in their age matters little to him. James also has been a bit of an outcast before, so Victorian mores matter less to him than to others. Their unorthodox affair leads to some interesting and complex issues, but these intelligent characters find the means to work through the scandal and find the true happiness they deserve.

Become immersed in this unusual retelling of a classic. Ms. Ivory brings a new dash and a fresh viewpoint that attracts readers seeking a different, sophisticated tale filled with smooth elegant prose. This one intrigues the mind as much as the heart. Not a book for every reader, but a magical read for the daring. VERY SENSUAL (June, 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin