Updated: May 2
It's almost the weekend and I'm here with a review of a contemporary, Beauty and the Beast retelling for young adult readers. It is the first book in a new series by Sandhya Menon author of When Dimple Met Rishi. Of Curses and Kisses just came out in February and I couldn't wait to get my hand on it. Thankfully, I was able to get it through my local library, and it didn't disappoint.
Continue reding for my spoiler-free review:
The first novel in a series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simplyno wayshe and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can't shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.
Of Curses and Kisses is the second novel by Sandhya Menon that I've read and I was curious about her take on The Beauty and the Beast with her twist as a contemporary novel.
Set in a private school in Colorado, Jaya begins the school year with a goal in mind: break Grey Emerson's heart as revenge for a scheme that ruined her sister's reputation. I must admit I had a little trouble reconciling Jaya's stubbornness to see her plan through and her logic of how it was going to actually work, but I enjoyed her attempts to make Grey fall for her through Grey's POV. They were such different characters, and yet, I could feel their chemistry which is what kept me turning the page.
The diversity in this book is outstanding. I enjoyed the South Asian culture that Menon wove in through Jaya's POV the different backgrounds in the other characters that gave it a little more life.
This book doesn't only focus on the Grey/Jaya plot. It has some subplots that I'm pretty sure will have their moment in the sequels (there are two more books books planned ahead). I also loved the feminist message that made its way into the book through Isha's subplot.
The rose, Jaya's love of books, Grey's curse, and the uncanny familiarity with the side characters made this story carry the essence of the familiar fairy tale many of us love. I can't wait to see how Sandhya Menon brings to life another fairytale with the sequel.
If you like fairytale retellings, a strong female lead, and an enemies to lovers trope, this book is definitely for you.
Here is all the info for Of Curses and Kisses :
Reading Challenge No.:12 /45
Publication Date: February 18, 2020
Length: 361 pages
POV: #ThirdPersonPOV - Grey & Jaya
Series or Standalone? #FirstInSeries - St. Rosetta's Academy # 1
"Just outside Aspen, Colorado, nestled between the sentinel mountains and an inkblot lake, lies St. Rosetta's International Academy."
Favorite Character: I think Grey was my favorite, but Isha is right behind.
Add Of Curses and Kisses to your Goodreads shelf, here.
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I hope you're doing alright with the quarantine.