Book Review: “A Curse So Dark and Lonely”

A Curse So Dark and Lonely 
Brigid Kemmerer

In an instant, Harper’s life changed from one of deadly danger, as lookout for her brother’s nefarious doings, to a life of deadly danger, trapped in a castle with a lethal man-at-arms (Grey) and a monster/prince (Rhen).

Rhen’s father, while he was alive and ruling Emberfall, made the mistake of systematically slaughtering all of the mages in his kingdom.  Naturally, he missed one.  This one, strengthened by deaths of all the rest, has created a curse and bestowed it upon Rhen and Grey.  Each season, Grey leaves Emberfall and goes to “the other side,” fetching a woman they hope can fall in love with Rhen.  Each season, they fail.  Each season, Rhen is transformed into a monster who ravages his own people, his castle, and his people’s trust. 327 times. This is the last season.  

In this last attempt to save the prince and the Kingdom, Grey goes to Washington D.C. to grab a girl to end the curse. He is interrupted by Harper – and ends up with her, instead.  Harper, whose smart mouth and fighting spirit have gotten her in and out of trouble for years.  Whose father has abandoned her family.  Whose mother is dying of cancer.  Who has cerebral palsy.  Whose brother is playing thug in attempt to keep the wolves away from his tenuous situation.  

The traditional Beauty and the Beast fairy tale is only one thread of this brilliant retelling.  Loyalty, love, hope, fate, strategy, danger, and the value of a life complicate and enrich this complex, engaging story.  I have not been so utterly involved in a book in years, and this is by far my favorite fairy tale retelling ever. 

Review by Andrea Terry, who works at the Circulation Desk.

To request a copy, click here.

This book and its sequel, A Heart So Fierce and Lonely, are also available through the Cloud Library.

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