After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.
In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.
And Grayson has gone missing.
No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.
Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.
I am not ashamed to admit that I have a deep-seated love for historical stories. In middle school and high school, I literally devoured everything historical romance; there’s just something about the setting, the history, the way the world worked back then, that really speaks to me and catches my interest. Throw in something paranormal – in this case, gargoyles – and I’m immediately sold. As soon as The Beautiful and the Cursed was brought to my attention, it instantly went on my to-read list, and I then proceeded to wait impatiently for its release. I am so happy to report that my wait was worth it, because I really loved this book a lot.
One thing I love that seems to be fairly prominent in historical tales nowadays are the headstrong ladies who tend to be our main narrators. In The Beautiful and the Cursed, we actually get two of these ladies: The Sisters’ Waverly, Ingrid and Gabby. Both girls were strong, stubborn, and dealing with some personal emotions that made them feel very human and real, and really pulled me in. Ingrid is hurting because her twin brother, Grayson, is missing, and no one seems to be the slightest bit interested in finding him. She’s also dealing with some interesting abilities and strange occurrences, not the least of which is finding out that Luc, one of her families’ servants, is a gargoyle who’s sworn to protect her and the members of her family and household. For Gabby, it’s a disquieting feeling that she doesn’t quite belong, and some feelings for a certain arrogant Scotsman who drives her crazy. Romance is definitely an important aspect of this book, but it’s not the only thing that drives the story and keeps the plot moving, which was another thing that I really enjoyed. Also, this seems to actually be a case where the forbidden love trope is used exceedingly well, as is the love triangle. I might have a favorite boy to root for, but I can’t wait to see how everything plays out and ultimately ends.
This book has a fantastic gothic atmosphere underlying everything going on, from the town of Paris itself to the secret societies hiding in plain sight. Of course, nothing says gothic quite like gargoyles, right? The fantastic thing is, these aren’t your usual gargoyles. Named The Dispossessed, there is a fascinating mythology that accompanies these winged beings, and I loved getting a glimpse into why Luc (and the other gargoyles we meet) lives the way he lives and acts the way he acts. The entire dichotomy between angels, gargoyles and demons was a truly unique concept that was so refreshingly new to the YA paranormal genre that I literally ate it up. Hooray for new ideas! This is also a case where multiple point of views actually works to the story’s advantage, because I don’t think it would have been half the book if we hadn’t been able to see things through Luc’s eyes.
The Beautiful and the Cursed is a book that was seemingly written just for me. Featuring amazing historical flourishes, unique paranormal creatures, and a thrilling and engrossing mystery, there’s enough in this book to keep pretty much every reader engaged. Throw in several swoon-worthy boys and stubborn, strong girls, as well as an amazingly well done forbidden romance, and you’ve pretty much guaranteed that this is a book that I will be talking about for a while.
That was all Luc was. It was all he could ever be. Her watchman. Her guardian.
Her gargoyle. – pg. 334