Title: Of Curses and Kisses
Series: St Rosetta’s Academy
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Published: February 18th, 2020 (Simon Pulse)
Synopsis: 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 simply no way she 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Simon Pulse, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“A hallowed dream stolen. A world darkly despairs.
A storm, a life, a sudden death heralds the end, the last heir.
As the glass rose dims, so the hope of redemption.
Eighteen years, one by one, until what’s left is none.
Mend that which is broken.
Repair that which is severed.
Or the Northcliffe name is forsaken.
And shall vanish, at last, forever.”
Princess Jaya Rao arrives at the elite St Rosetta’s Academy with a single goal in mind – get revenge on her family’s longtime enemies, the aristocratic Emersons, more specifically, the heir, by breaking his heart, in retaliation for slandering her little sister Isha in the media. Lord Grey Emerson has gone through life believing himself the victim of a centuries-old curse by a Rao matriarch, and his father has always told him that he was doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday, causing him to isolate himself. When Jaya, his known familial rival shows up at St Rosetta’s, wearing a very familiar ruby rose pendant, he immediately questions her intentions. But time is ticking down for Grey, and with each day, the curse seems to be a step closer to coming true.
Of Curses and Kisses is a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but contemporary with a touch of fantasy – in the ‘is it actually magic or isn’t it’ kind of way. And then there was the setting itself, of a boarding school high in the mountains surrounded by snow that gave it an additional fairytale feel. Jaya is the dutiful princess who knows the sacrifices she needs to make for the good of her family and is very dedicated to doing whatever needs to be done to uphold their legacy, considering it her responsibility as the Rao heiress. Grey, on the other hand, has carried not only the burden of his family name, but also the very unfair burden of the curse that his father laid on his shoulders at a young age. It was wonderful to follow both their POVs as they begin to realize that there might be something outside duty and fate that they can choose for themselves, how they don’t have to stick to the lines society has defined for them.
I mentioned in my review of There’s Something About Sweetie that I seem to uniformly describe all of Sandhya Menon’s books as adorable, and this was no exception. Jaya’s attempts to pursue him are cringe-worthy and hilarious all at the same time and had me in fits of giggles. What I liked most about Jaya though was her fierce protectiveness and love for her little sister and how that eventually wins out over the many familial obligations and traditions she is bound to, despite coming off as a little controlling at first. Grey is an equally interesting character, initially the grumpy recluse, but as Jaya begins to get past his defenses, we see the loneliness and pain that he hides beneath it all. The side characters, though we only got to know them a little, were all amazing, particularly Isha, the princess who aspires to be an engineer.
This was certainly a change of pace from Sandhya Menon’s previous works, but a delightful read all the same. This is definitely a must read if you’ve enjoyed her other books. Of Curses and Kisses is a complete feel-good book and if you’re in the mood for a light and fun retelling of a classic tale, I would highly recommend this!
Of Curses and Kisses releases on February 18th, 2020.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!