Author: Page Morgan
Series: The Dispossessed #1
Synopsis (according to Goodreads):
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 wasn'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 picked up this book at my local library almost as soon as it became available (I jumped the gun on requesting it and beat everyone else to the punch). I was excited about delving into my first historical fiction book. I am not normally into those sort of reads. I think it's because I tend to find the future more intriguing than the past. I am more awestruck by zombie apocalypses or restructured societies than the time when women lived an oppressed life or countries warred at the drop of the hat. Strangely, I found myself requesting this book regardless of the fact that it took place in Paris, 1899.
The story opens with two prim and proper Londoners moving to Paris with their mother to pursue her dream of opening an art gallery. Gabby, the outgoing and spunky younger sister, and Ingrid, the quiet and studious sister, have come to live in an abandoned abbey that Ingrid's twin brother, Grayson, had chosen for them. When they first lay eyes on the place, they are aghast to see hideous gargoyles marring the rooftops of the abbey as horrific sentries. Little do they know that the horrific decor is the least of their problems and may be the soul reason they were forced into living in the abbey.
Soon enough Gabby and Ingrid come to the realization that their brother, Grayson, is missing. While most would rather sweep it under the rug, the sisters refuse to give up on their brother. Ingrid in particular knows that Grayson is somewhere hurt and scared. She has a special connection with her womb mate and is more determined then anyone to see him home safely once more.
In Gabby and Ingrid's search for their missing brother, they come face-to-face with things only found in books. Stone gargoyles who are set to protect those who inhabit their territory with their lives, demons who reek havoc and misery upon the sisters and the Parisians living around them, and a secret society of humans bent on protecting the humans outside of the gargoyle's duties. On top of everything, Ingrid has started developing mystical powers that she knows nothing about and insights fear and discord among the human society and gargoyles alike.
The Beautiful and the Cursed was a twisted tale of good and evil where even those suspected of having no soul at all, can turn into a hero, and those meant to be heroes can become villains themselves. It twists the folklore of the gargoyles often seen in prestigious buildings like Notre Dame and makes it into a gripping story of heaven, hell, and the in between.
This book was middle-of-the-road for me. It had it's good points and it had it's bad points. There was nothing overtly hypnotic enough to draw me into a book binge, but it kept me reading. I liked that it was something new. No vampires. No werewolves. Gargoyles. Hasn't been done before; at least not in the books I have read. Extra points for originality.
I also enjoyed the connection between Ingrid and Luc. The forbidden love aspect is always great to me, and nothing is more forbidden then an 18th century noblewoman and a damned gargoyle punished to live out life as a protector to beings they would sooner equate to insects. The romance was toxic yet all-consuming. I wanted more!
I would recommend this to those who are tired of the monotony of vampires and werewolves and wish to branch out. Also, those who thoroughly enjoy historical fiction will find it most enjoyable I wager.