A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I'm not usually one for fairytale retellings, but this one resonated with me. Particularly impressed with the switching between worlds, which felt pretty seamless.

Thanks to the publisher for this review copy 👌
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What a wonderful book!

I have discovered that I don't like retelling. The majority of retelling I have read I haven't enjoyed. But I loved this book.
Kemmerer does a wonderful job of subverting the original story and creating 3 very solid characters that we admire and relate to. Harper, Rhen and Grey are all brought to life on the page by Kemmerer's beautiful writing, and unique voice.

Harper's character growth is phenomenal and I admired her strength and resilience throughout the story; her ability to deal with the cerebral palsy is inspiring and extremely important for other readers to see a powerful role model - offering diversity.

Rhen's narrative felt a little like chocolate: hard outer shell but warm and intimate on the inside. I was impressed by how much empathy I felt for him, even in the end! I think that's mirrored in Harper's feelings for him too.

Grey's wit and dark humour seemed to sparkle from the page and I thoroughly enjoyed reading his exchanges; he brought a little dynamic to the story.

No spoilers. Just read it!
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Wow. Just wow. This book was absolutely fantastic and utterly blew me away.

I hadn’t read anything by Brigid Kemmerer before reading A Curse so Dark and Lonely, and I didn’t really know anything about it other than the fact that it’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling and it’s received a lot of hype. I have to say that I was definitely not disappointed! This book is incredible! I read it in one day, which I literally never do, and it’s quite a lengthy book at nearly 500 pages long.

It’s so hard to make this review actually coherent because I just tend to babble on and on when I’ve loved a book, but I’ll try my best!

A Curse so Dark and Lonely follows Harper, and tells the story of a cursed Kingdom. Prince Rhen is cursed to repeat the autumn season over and over, each time courting a new girl stolen off the streets of DC by his commander, Grey, who is able to cross over worlds. Harper notices Grey carrying an unconscious girl, and attacks him to try to save the girl.

Harper is an amazing main character. She’s strong, fiesty and determined, always wanting to help others and do what’s right. She also has cerebral palsy, and this book shines a light on the disability, portraying it as something that is just a natural part of Harper, and it doesn’t stop her from doing anything.

All Rhen needs is one of the girls to fall in love with him and the curse will be broken. But it’s harder than it sounds, as Rhen is doomed to turn into a monster at the end of each season, terrorising his kingdom and family.

The setting of Rhen’s Kingdom, Emberfall, is truly enchanting. The world building paints a complete, beautiful picture of the castle and surrounding lands with an atmosphere of fantasy and fairytale. I was swept into the setting and story right from the first chapter, I immediately knew that I would love this book because the writing style is so easy to read but also beautifully descriptive.

After the curse remains unbroken for hundreds of seasons, Rhen and Grey are given their final chance, the last season at the end of which if the Curse remains unbroken, Rhen will stay as a monster forever.

Grey takes Harper to Emberfall, and she immediately struggles and tries to run away. Harper is different: none of the girls have ever been less than happy to spend a season in a castle surrounded with pretty dresses and lovely food. Rhen and Grey finds themselves confiding in Harper, seeing her more as a friend and less as a girl to win over to break the curse.
I love the characters so much, some of the moments between Harper, Rhen and Grey are just adorable, some are hilarious and sassy and others just warm your heart. These characters are so well developed that you just can’t help loving them and rooting for them throughout the story.

The plot is very well paced, the balance of action, cute moments and plot twists was perfect, every chapter was brilliant and never boring. I devoured this story so quickly, once you’re hooked there’s no going back!

After finishing this I was astounded but also mad that it was over! Obviously I immediately went to stalk Brigid’s twitter and look on Goodreads to find out if there’s a sequel and THERE IS!! I’ve never been more hyped for a book release as I am for A Heart so Fierce and Broken!

Overall, I absolutely adored this book! It has such great characters that you'll instantly fall in love with and a plot to keep you hooked and reading late into the night! A Curse so Dark and Lonely deserves 5 out of 5 stars!
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The retelling of The Beaury and The Beast - and it is working. 

Rhen is a prince of Emberfall - and also a beast, cursed by the cruel witch. The spell is easily to be broken - just find the girl to fall in love with you. Ah yes. Many girls lusts after a good-looking, rich guy, right? Yes. But they do not love him. And at the end of every magic-made season, Rhen turns into a beast and and goes for a killing spree. And then the another season starts and he is there at his castle, with his heart broken and his spirit burdened by the guilt, shame and pain even more. 
Only his loyal guard Grey knows the truth - but the burden of pain is not easy to bear andd their relationship can be a bit strained. 
And this is a last season. If Rhen cannnot find a solution, he will stay a beast forever. 

Harper is a modern girl. But not the typical one - as she is suffering the effects of her cerebral palsy, her leg does not work properly. But this also makes her both a fighter and a compassionate person. She is trying to survive in her world of missing father with debts, her brother trying to cover the said debts with the shady works and her mother dying of cancer. So when she sees a strange man taking the girl at night, she acts. Only the man is Grey and so she is taken into the world of Emberfall instead of the previous girl. 
And maybe the unplanned choice is the best!

I loved all things Emberfall here. The broken man, who needs just a fierce girl to have his spirit reawakened. Only a spark of hope to start to act like a prince. 
I also like that the Harper´s fierceness is not enough. So often we see fierce (read: rude) girls in novels to solve the issues with some shouting and rebellion. Not here. Harper´s heart is good, but she needs (and she quickly does) to realize that her naive resolution also need to backed up with experience, knowledge and healthy self-esteem. 

Also the romance works well! Rhen and Harper just belong together. 

And I love that this is a clean read. So many YA books are just erotica. Here we finally see a man who values the girl´s trust more than her body. 

On the other hand, I dislike Jake, Noah and the modern world parts. I feel that the modern world characters are just (modernly stereotypical) props to serve the story and also their characters seem to be quite spoiled and immature for the life experiences they have had.  

But having said all that - this is an YA book to be recommended.
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Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall is cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over. He knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Harper is a girl that really hasn’t have an easy life. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Wow, what can I say now that has not been said in previous reviews? This book was really just amazing and I enjoyed every word, every minute.

The structure is very nice. You move from Harper’s story to Rhen and back. This way you really get to know both characters well, but that little bit of mystery remains. The writing style is pleasant, really young adult style. It reads incredibly easily and quickly.
 Before I started reading I knew it was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and that was (partly) noticeable in the book. Yet it was also a story entirely by itself. Only the basis of the original story has been used and the writer has built a great whole new story around it.

The characters are described so well, so much sympathy is generated for the right characters. But at the same time they are not all perfect. They clearly have their mistakes and these too are well emphasized. This makes it much easier for you to put yourself in the characters and this makes them a more real. And yes, secretly I thought it was really cool that the “bad guy” in this book is the sorceress Lilith, a name that we have lovingly given to our daughter!

All in all, this was definitely my favorite book this year (so far). The second part has already been ordered, even though we have to wait for it for months. And I would really recommend this book to anyone who loves fantasy and fairy tales, but also just wants to read a good story.
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Firstly, thank you to netgalley for providing a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review. 
I must admit, I was a little on edge when I first started reading this- expectations for a well loved fairytale can be high, and sometimes retellings just don't do the original justice. But boy, I needn't worry about that at all. 
I loved the storyline, the characters and setting. Brigid's writing style is just beautiful and it really draws you into the lives of the characters. Yes, there was a lot of romance (heck, that's what beauty and the beast is all about) but there was so much more.... the love was not just a romantic love, but had the love of family and self love too- which I think is just as important, if not more. 
The only gripe I have with this book is the fact there's a sequel. It's very rare nowadays to have a good standalone novel, especially when it comes to YA fantasy. It's only my personal opinion, but I get a little feed up of reading a good book, to then find out in over a years time, there'll be a continuation- I'm just not a fan of waiting Haha! 
All in all, a very well written story- I give it 4 stars! 🌟
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Thank you Bloomsbury for the review copy!

I've only read Brigid Kemmerer's contemporary books before so I was really interested to read her first fantasy. Really enjoyed the book overall and will definitely be checking out the sequel!
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When another book box supplier suggested I read this book and stated 'it was the best thing I have picked up all year ', I was instantly dubious . Not being a fan on retelling type stories, I read through this book with a critical attitude and quickly found myself falling in love with this book myself. On my recommended must read list....this is a book you dont want to miss out on !
Thanm you for allowing me to review this title .
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Trigger Warnings: Sexual Assault/Threats, Abelism & Suicide.

This was an interesting twist to a classic. I love that this was turned to portal fantasy, which added another layer to the story. The world was well developed and very creative. I really enjoyed being in this world and discovering more about it through the book. I can’t wait to learn more in book 2, A Heart So Fierce and Broken!

This book is multi POV following Rhen & Harper and was done really well. It was very easy to distinguish between the 2 POVs. I’m also glad this book was multi POV rather than just following Harper or Rhen. This book was the best seeing both sides, both characters struggles and the truth from both sides.

“I am always surprised to discover that when the world seems darkest, there exists the greatest opportunity for light.”
– Freya (A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer)

This book is very suspenseful & adventure filled. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the book which kept the book very interesting. It was hard to put down and was a very easy and quick read.

“My father once said we are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose–just as a poor hand can win–but we must all play the cards fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”
-Rhen (A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Birgid Kemmerer)

As many of you know, I am not a huge romance fan, but as this is a retelling. I knew from the start that there would be a romance & who it would be between so when it came to pass I didn’t mind it. It was well done compared to most YA romances.

Our 3 main characters are Rhen, Harper & Grey. My favourite out of the 3 is actually Grey, who while plays a major part is a side character. All the characters are fierce, loyal & determined to do what is right. Grey especially is extremely loyal to those that he trusts. He is also quick witted & brave to a fault.

Also I really enjoyed the disability rep (Cerebral Palsy) in this book! There are very few books I have read that have MCs with disabilities in the physical realm. So it was interesting to see this in the book. It never stopped Harper from braving what needed to be done and she shut anyone down that doubted her ability because of it.

“Failure isn’t absolute. Just because you couldn’t save everyone doesn’t mean you didn’t save anyone.”
-Harper (A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
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Thank you to Bloomsbury for my copy of this via Netgalley. I also got a copy of this in my February Fairyloot box.  I ADORE Beauty and the Beast so I was stoked to get a special copy of this from Fairyloot. I flicked between the netgalley copy and the Fairyloot copy. 

I was a little scared to read this just in case it was terrible and ruined BATB for-Evermore. However, I had nothing to worry about. This book was AMAZING! It was different, yes but I loved it.  The chapters are told from alternating points of view with the characters name after the chapter number to let you know who's POV you are reading.

Harper is a strong character. Despite her cerebral palsy, she is determined not to be a victim. She is brave and confident but also stubborn as hell. She made a great Belle. I loved her chapters so much. 

Rhen is 'The Beast'. In this retelling, Rhen isn't a beast all the time. He only turns into a beast near the end of the season. Rhen has done everything he can to protect his people but the kingdom is in real danger. I really loved Rhen from the beginning. He was damn easy to fall for. I so wanted things to work out between Rhen and Harper. I also loved his relationship with Grey. Grey has been there for him since the curse began and he has never given up. 

I really loved the ending of this book and I CANNOT wait for the next book
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I think this book was more of a 3.5 than a 4 star read but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I think I’m used to more action packed fantasy novels but I loved how this was based on Beauty and the Beast, one of my favourite Disney movies. I loved the characters, especially Harper and Rhen, who just seemed to jump off the pages. I rooted for them so much and just wanted everything to end happily. There were a couple things I didn’t expect in the plot and was pleasantly surprised by. 

I really enjoyed the writing style and how the world was built. While it wasn’t vast, I could picture everything thanks to the descriptions. As for pacing, it felt a little slow in places, which I think is why it took me so long to read, but I flew through the last 20% of the book. Overall, this was an enjoyable read for me.
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I love retelling books and as a guilty pleasure, I've always liked beauty and the beast. I liked this book but didn't love it as I just felt like different parts of the book were missing such as the romance.
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First of all, I want to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. I didn't end up reading the e-arc and purchased the book when it came out because I have trouble reading pdf-files.

I was in a huge reading slump when I started read A Curse So Dark and Lonely but I couldn't put this book down! I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the characters and I'm always drawn to retellings and Beauty and the Beast ones are my favourite.

Brigid Kemmerer's writing style is really captivating and got me hooked from the very first chapter. There are two main character Harper and Rhen who get their own point of view. I hope to read more about Grey soon, another interesting character we meet right at the beginning of the story. Harper is a very strong female character and even though her weaknesses are explored it does not diminish her in the least.

The magical elements were amazing. I wouldn't mind living in that enchanted castle, I especially liked the kitchen (food just magically appears!) and Harper's room. 

The book has some surprising and interesting twists and an incredible ending!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a fun and captivating retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I adored it! So excited to read the sequel! I highly recommend this book and I gave it 5 stars! And that in combination with a spectacular cover!
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To start this, I should inform you that I absolutely love Brigid Kemmerer‘s books and Beauty and the Beast so I was very excited when I heard that Brigid Kemmerer was writing a retelling. I simply had to get my hands on it and read it – because I was absolutely sure I would love it. Fortunately, once again, Brigid did not disappoint and I can not recommend this book more. It is a light fantasy but it has everything about Brigid‘s writing that I love; most importantly being strong, relatable, and incredible characters that you cannot help but fall in love with with. Coupled with a very strong, moving plot and a brilliant backstory, it is difficult not to thoroughly enjoy this book. It will take you on a true journey and will end with you wanting to return, time and time again – I know I do!

While this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, it is also very different from the tale that we all know and love – (the Disney version!). In this book, our heroine has been kidnapped against her will, and is aware early on that to break the curse she must fall in love with the Prince. A hard feat considering she has been stolen from the world she knows and loves. On top of that, the curse in this story is also very different. Instead of being banished and becoming a monster for life, Prince Rhen is only a monster during one season. The rest of the time he is a “human”, and it is in this state that he must try and get the females that are brought to his castle, to fall in love with him. When he fails, he turns into a monster and does unfortunate damage on innocent bystanders. Damage that does not reverse when the seasons change – something he found out far too late. The final piece of this plot is simply that this season is set out to be Rhen’s last. If he cannot convince Harper to fall in love with him, he will be doomed to spend eternity as a monster.

It is a wonderful, well-thought out and incredible plot that just works incredibly well. I devoured the story easily and just absolutely loved the journey that the book takes us on. From the integral plot, to the little subplots and details that are thrown in, this book is truly worth the read. I don’t want to say too much as I do not want to spoil the book for those willing to read it but lets just say that I am very much looking forward to the next book and that I am 100% invested in this story and its characters. Which is another reason that I absolutely loved this book. Brigid Kemmerer just has a way to create amazing characters that you cannot help but become engrossed with. She writes their emotions in a way that hits you with your very own emotions. Good or bad, you simply cannot help but invest in her characters.

So, obviously, I absolutely adore this book and think it is one of my absolute favourites. Though I may always have a soft spot for the Storm series! If you’re looking for a heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, intense and emotional rollarcoaster of a fantasy read then I highly recommend giving this book a read! It will take you on a true journey and will give you new characters to love and cherish. I cannot speak more highly of this book and everything in it. There are just so many things about it that I could talk about – but I don’t want this review to be too long – so instead I am just going to repeat that you really should give this book a read if you haven’t already. Especially if you love Beauty and the Beast but want something that is just that little bit more.
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(Sorry for the late review and thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC)

4,75/5 Simply awesome.

I have read many retellings of The beauty and the beast, but I have to say that I've loved this story from the beginning till the end.

Both the story and its characters have kept me hooked. So much so that I had read the book in just two days.

Briggid has given a touch of originality to the story and has created some very complete, strong and courageous characters, who do not let themselves be overcome by obstacles, but with a fragility that makes them very human.

I really want to read the next book, because that ending has left me speechless.
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For the good of Emberfall. For the good of all.

I'll be honest, when I first heard about A Curse So Dark and Lonely I thought, no, not another Beauty & the Beast retelling, but given how everyone was losing their shit over it I thought I should give it ago. Boy, did I enjoy the ride!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely started strong out of the gate and while I admittedly got a little confused initially about what was happening in the world of Emberfall, I quickly found my stride and was 100% committed to going on this journey with Harper, Rhen and Grey (I think I'm crushin' on the Commander).

The book is told from duel perspectives and follows Harper, a girl from DC living with Cystic Fibrosis whose family is caught up in a world of violence and desperation and Rhen, the Crowned Prince of Emberfall who has been cursed to relive the season of his eighteenth birthday over-and-over again until he finds a girl to break the curse. The crux of that curse? At the end of each season, he becomes a monster who terrorises Emberfall with disastrous personal consequences.

I really enjoyed what felt like a new take on the Beauty and the Beast world. Harper isn’t your nice and polite lead, she is a firecracker full of stubbornness, heart and tenacity that gives Rhen and Grey a run for their money. I loved that she was a strong lead and while it may have be spawned out of a need to survive, I felt like by the end of the book her character had developed and inner strength she’d been feigning in the beginning.

In the same vein, Rhen comes across as a bit of a bastard in the beginning however he begins to lean into the more tender parts of his personality as the story progresses and what you’re left with is a true leader, someone I’m excited to explore more in the sequel.


Kemmerer has done an incredible job of crafting a complex and vivid world that even with all its magical realism, still feels very established in a real world setting. I could easily see the changing landscape, picture the intricate details of the Castle and place myself right in the middle of all the fierce drama. I loved it all.

The only bad thing about reading this book is that the sequel isn’t out so I can’t binge read it and I NEED TO. I JUST DO. Hey Brigid Kemmerer, can you give me that sequel now? I’ll be your best friend. Please and thank you.
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4.5 stars

Prince Rhen of Emberfall has been living under a curse from an enchantress for several years. 
His attempts to get a girl to fall in love with him fail again and again, each failure leading to Rhen transforming into a hideous creature. His family dead by his own hand, Rhen lives in the castle with only his guard for company.
Harper's life in Washington, DC isn't easy - her mother is dying from cancer, her father disappeared after getting into trouble with loan sharks, and her brother is doing bad things to get them in the clear. Despite her cerebral palsy, Harper is tough. When she sees a young woman in trouble, she ends up in a strange land with a cursed prince.
Can Harper break the curse?
Will Rhen be able to save his land from invasion?

Where to start?!
I'm a fan of Brigid Kemmerer's contemporary books, so when I saw that she had a Beauty and the Beast (my favourite fairy tale) retelling coming out I was super excited.
I'm so glad that I liked this so much!
Harper was a fantastic protagonist - she was tough, kind and caring. This was the first book I've read with a character that had cerebral palsy and I thought it was handled well.
Rhen was likeable and I felt sorry for him. Grey was another character that I really liked.
I loved Harper and Rhen's relationship, Harper and Grey's relationship and Rhen and Grey's relationship. All their interactions pretty much had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
The romance wasn't over the top, which I appreciated. I thought it was sweet.
The plot was interesting and had some good action scenes. There were some twists I didn't see coming. The scenes with Lilith, the Enchantress, were tense and she was so messed up that I had no idea what she was going to do next.
The writing gripped me straight away and I didn't want to put this down.
The only thing that bothered me was how much Harper blushed, but hopefully some of these were removed for the finished book.
I can't wait for the sequel!

Overall this was a fantastic read that I would definitely recommend.
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(Sorry for the late review!) I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Brigid Kemmerer is one of my new favourite authors after reading Letters to the Lost and More Than We Can Tell. I knew that this book would be completely different to those two but I love a fantasy book and this seemed to be perfect for me after reading the synopsis. I enjoyed it so much that it is one of my favourite books of 2019 so far. I cannot wait for Brigid's next book, I'm ready to read anything by this incredibly talented woman.
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I liked the idea of a different kind of Beauty and The Beast retelling but unfortunately this one fell a little flat for me. It wasn't really fantastical enough to be fantasy for me (I need more magic!) but it wasn't contemporary enough to be a pure contemporary, so it sat in this sort of weird in between space where it wasn't doing either well. I also found the romance a bit lacking, though it did improve towards the end. I did love the main characters though, I thought Harper was amazing, seeing a disabled protagonist kicking butt in a fantasy book was brilliant and she was such a fun, feisty, fiery character. I also enjoyed Angry Grey, I loved that he was really a softie on the inside. Rhen fell a little flat for me though, his character didn't feel quite fleshed out enough for me, nor did the main villain Lilith.
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When Harper tries to save someone on the streets of Washington DC she finds herself transported into another world plagued by a vicious monster and a powerful enchantress. Prince Rhen is heir to Emberfall, he has been cursed by an enchantress and in order to break this curse, a girl needs to fall in love with him. Harper has been taken to be that girl. As the two spend more time together, Rhen discovers that Harper is not just another girl to be charmed, and Harper learns that there is a lot more at stake than she realised. 

Before I started A Curse So Dark and Lonely I saw so much hype, unfortunately, it sort of missed the mark for me. That isn’t to say that it is a bad read – far from it, it definitely had some entertaining aspects. A charming prince, a moody knight, a powerful enchantress, and a badass protagonist. The character dynamics and interactions were actually the best part of this for me. I really enjoyed the friendships and I thought the romance was decent and I am, and always will be, a fan of the enemies to lovers trope.

What didn’t really do it for me was that the plot itself was a little… stagnant. It focused heavily on characters, which is fine but just isn’t what I’m usually looking for in a fantasy. The world-building was next to none and was just so generic and really not my cup of tea.

Also, sidenote, the main character Harper has Cerebral Palsy.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a charming story with a great cast of characters and if you are a fan of Beauty of the Beast retellings and don’t necessarily want an expansive world, then this is probably a book that I would definitely recommend to check out.
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