Rating: 5 / 5
I have seen so many rave reviews for A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY by Brigid Kemmerer that I was excited to pick up a copy last year. When I saw that one of my reading challenge prompts was to read a book with disability representation, I immediately knew this was the book I would pick. I was super excited when the prompt came up for my May TBR.
A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY follows Harper, a young woman with cerebral palsey which leaves her with an uneven gait, especially when she’s otherwise stressed and tired. Harper’s father has left the family in debt and her mother is dying. To try to make ends meet, her brother is not always making the wisest decisions. One evening, while waiting for her brother, Harper sees a strange man trying to cart off a woman and she intervenes. Suddenly it is Harper who is being taken.
When Harper awakes she’s found herself in a very strange situation. She has been taken by Prince Rhen of Emberfall and Commander Gray as part of an ongoing quest to break a curse. Each season Gray must bring a new girl to the kingdom and Rhen must fall in love to break the curse. Rumor has it a fierce monster comes every season as well and puts everyone in danger.
There are a lot of Beauty and the Beast retellings out there, but this one really hit the mark for me. The original plot is absolutely there, but with enough twists and adaptations to make this feel entirely new as well.
I loved Harper’s character especially. She’s been underestimated for much of her life due to her physical differences, but she isn’t going to underestimate herself. In a strange world and strange situation, she stands up for herself and the people around her, determined to make a difference. She’s torn between wanting to get back home and helping those in need in Emberfall.
Rhen begins the story very burned out after repeating the cycle of the curse over and over again, but he does have a heart for his people and a willingness to go along with Harper’s ideas once he warms up to them. Commander Grey was an outstanding character as well, a loyal friend and not one to take sides when Harper and Rhen go head to head.
This is one that I absolutely recommend if you haven’t had the chance to read it yet and I look forward to picking up book two!
#ReadingWomenChallenge – a book featuring a woman with a disability