Denise Mealy | The Children’s Book Review | March 13, 2019
A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Written by Brigid Kemmerer
Age Range: 14 and up
Hardback: 496 pages
What to expect: Beauty and the Beast, romance, fantasy, adventure, disability representation
Harper knows a thing or two about hardship. Her mother is dying of cancer, her father ran off after making too many bad deals with gangsters, and she’s endured surgery and constant undermining due to her cerebral palsy. She’s always had to fight to survive and to keep her family safe as they must do unthinkable things to keep the money-hungry gangs off their backs.
One night when Harper, playing the lookout for her brother, sees a woman being attacked on the street, she doesn’t think twice before jumping the guy and laying in to him. But instead of running off, the man accidentally transports her to the fantastical Kingdom of Emberfall. Harper is horrified to find herself in a storybook land filled with curses and magical monsters, starving villagers and marauding invaders. Prince Rhen is the master of it all, with an empty cursed castle full of secrets. As Harper slowly begins to unravel the terrible truth of Rhen and why he and his castle have been cursed, she worries about her family. Is her mother still alive? Is her brother staying on the right side of the gangs?
Break the curse, save the kingdom. Prince Rhen, handsome and closed-off, won’t give enough details for Harper to understand why no woman has been able to fall in love with him and break the curse, thus saving his people and his Kingdom – and she certainly isn’t finding his swagger endearing. Can she find the answers before Prince Rhen’s clock runs out and all hope of the curse being broken is gone forever? Or will she find a way to escape Emberfall to help her family back home, thus leaving Prince Rhen and his people to their curse forever? And what happens when she learns the truth about Rhen – and begins to fall in love with him anyway?
There have been a number of Beauty and the Beast retellings, but author Brigid Kemmerer’s dark and progressive take on the classic is unique and exhilarating. Readers will instantly fall in love with feisty Harper, who is never defined by her cerebral palsy or her family’s terrible circumstances. For Harper, there is always hope, and she never tires of looking for the best answer for everyone. With a vivid, diverse cast of race, ability and LGBQT rep, this inclusive fairy tale is a delight. Kemmerer’s take on the beast’s curse is unique and sad, giving an extra layer of darkness to the tale, and Harper’s own background lends a gritty realness to the narrative. Harper has spunk and charisma oozing from her pores, and readers will gladly follow her through the planned series. Harper takes on the “flawed” hero and turns the idea on its head – what some perceive as her disability has made her stronger in so many ways. I can’t wait to read the next book! A Heart So Fierce and Broken will be released in January 2020.
About the Author
Brigid Kemmerer is the New York Times bestselling author of More Than We Can Tell, Letters to the Lost, and the Elementals series. She was born in Omaha, Nebraska, though her parents quickly moved her all over the United States, from the desert in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to the lakeside in Cleveland, Ohio, and several stops in between, eventually settling near Annapolis, Maryland.
Read our exclusive interview: Brigid Kemmerer Discusses A Curse So Dark and Lonely
www.brigidkemmerer.com | @BrigidKemmerer
A Curse So Dark and Lonely, by Brigid Kemmerer , was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like A Curse So Dark and Lonely by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Adventure, Beauty And The Beast Books, Best YA, Brigid Kemmerer, Disabilities, Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and RomanceYoung.