A Curse So Dark And Lonely Readalong: Day 5


Gorgeous photo by @ausdayrose


It’s day five and I can barely even write this introduction text because I’m so excited to get into these chapters and hear what you guys think! I’ve seen so many of the stories you have tagged us in on Instagram saying that you can’t stop reading and have actually finished the book, which makes me so happy!

Are you ready to talk about these chapters? Let’s do this – I’ve got my hot chocolate ready and the Beauty and the Beast soundtrack is playing!

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for A Curse So Dark and Lonely chapters 32-38 inclusively. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!


These chapters start off so cute. I love the scene where Rhen is teaching Harper how to dance. She’s so precious. They’re still learning to trust each other, and what relationship they have is so raw. He’s calculated and she feels like before he wasn’t real with her, but their talk whilst they were dancing was just heart warming. When Rhen talks about his family my heart really break for him. This whole scene was so emotional. Where are my tissues?! I’m tearing up!

When they get back, Rhen is almost going to Harper’s room but doesn’t and when he goes back to his low and behold LILITH is there. Grrrrrr. She always comes to ruin things! She tries to seduce him and it just turns my insides! She now spends every night showing Rhen images of all of the people he has killed and how his kingdom is suffering. LEAVE OUR POOR CINNAMON ROLL ALONE!

Lilith’s vists to Rhen really affect his relationship with Harper. They go back to square one, and whilst I think this is such a setback Harper susses it out right away and confronts him. Then all of sudden people are swarming the castle because of the food, and we think they’re going to riot but they’re here to HELP! Yes!!! For the good of Emberfall, people unite!

Rhen goes to Hutchins Forge without Harper, although they were supposed to go together. Harper sneaks after him and reminds me again why I love her so much. Yes, girl, yes! She finds Mave murdered outside, and that Rhen is going to be ambushed and betrayed by the Grand Marshal and Seneschal. Things kick off, and the Seneschal is killed for trying to betray Rhen. Harper has saved him, and when they get back to the castle she asks him to sleep in her room because she know Lilith can’t come to him when he is with her.

For days, everything is going well. Too well. And then Lilith comes along when Harper is training with Zo and Grey. She tells Harper that Grey allowed Lilith to bribe him that one night that she cursed Rhen, because he was the guard on duty. She also reveals that Grey has always had the ability to return Harper home, but didn’t. Whilst I understand him and Rhen, it is a huge betrayal to Harper. But if they’d returned her home, none of this would have happened.

In the heat of this all, Rhen and Harper share their first proper kiss and somebody hold me because I am SWOONING. And of course, what happens? Rhen starts to shift into his beast form and Harper realises that he is the beast. I totally lost track of time and was not expecting this to happen at that moment! Even though I’ve been anticipating the reveal, it’s awful but I’m so relieved that the secret is finally out. Harper is now going to be taken back to DC because of what Lilith has shown her – her mother and brother are suffering and she needs to save them.


What did you think these chapters? How do you think the story is going to pan out? Let me know your theories!

With Love,





  • @kirstyes

    I will sum up this first chapter as “grapes are the way to a girl’s heart”. What? What about chocolates? Or simply being authentic. Ah. Now that’s the key. “Tell her the Truth”

    Dancing. Well – Standing. Lip brush. Freya interupts the fire stoking! Lilith ? she forces a kiss on him, shows him his cities in ruin and what his monster looks like killing. I feel so bad for him and wish Harper had better aim.

    Harper wakes up ‘crush’ giddy. Rhen is fighting off his anger at Lilith with Grey so he is cold when Harper comes to find them. Freya rushes in reporting they didn’t have enough food and that people have followed them back. Rhen storms out expecting a fight but the people have come to fight for him.

    Harper guesses Lilith came back but she respects Rhen’s need not to talk about it.
    His reply ‘I will not run. But for now, my lady, perhaps you could avoid pursuit.’ Is heartbreaking. Lilith basically abused him sexually, physically and emotionally.

    They are still plotting their military moves and it’s to fake an army of size but to try and avoid actual battle.

    Zo the woman who wanted to fight is selected by Grey and starts guarding Harper regularly.
    Her and Zo sneak after Rhen when he goes to seek a private army and discover a dead guard and a plot.

    They are both furious at each other but Harper makes him say what Lilith is doing then invites him into her room – because Lilith can’t interfere with their courtship. She’s clever is our Harper.

    They sway and trust each other and he is finally able to sleep.

    Harper is training with Grey when Lilith appears. She shows Harper a vision of her brother in trouble with her mum having very little time left. Grey stabs Lilith twice on Harper’s orders despite knowing he can’t kill her. Lilith grants him the gift to take Harper back to DC at any time.
    We learn that he accepted a bribe to let Lilith into Rhen’s room. He feels guilt and responsibility for the curse.

    Rhen tells Harper he has ordered Grey to take her home with money to pay their debts. He has fallen in love with her (he doesn’t tell her tho). Instead they start kissing and Harper slides her hands under his shirt to cut her fingers on his scales. As ever she reacts quite calmly to the news tho she is betrayed.

    We end this section with Grey taking her home and promises to come straight back to help Rhen at a meeting with Karis at midnight. Will timings work out on both journeys?

    • Verena

      Somebody else pictured that Scene from Aladdin? “Tell her the truth” in glowing letters and the Genie? Just me? Okay
      Just that had me laughing for like 20 minutes now XD

      • @kirstyes

        Oh totally. Then needed the genie there.

      • Darcy

        Oh yes! And for some reason Lilith has taken on the look of Ursula when she is human, but much darker in my mind. Seriously that cackle just feels like Lilith!

  • Ella

    We are so gonna be left on a cliffhanger…
    But I don’t mind. I starting to like Harper and Rhen.

  • CarolineJ

    I’ll be honest, I ended up reading most of these chapters yesterday… and once things started to kick off, there was absolutely no way I could put the book down!

    That said, I’ll try and remember my thoughts of the readalong chapters…

    I loved how we are getting to see so much more of Rhen and the sheer depth to his character? I find his relationship with Harper nicely bordering that line of
    – her and her personality fall for him specifically, another girl wouldn’t work
    – she’s falling in love because this is the first time he’s being really open

    Like one or the other would have felt like a plot contrivance… but having both seemingly working makes it feel more real, and makes me root for the so much more!!

    The bit where he taught he to dance hit me so hard in the feels… and I loved how she explained what our world’s version of slow dancing often is! That felt so human and relatable, whilst being humourous and heart felt.

  • Aurora Sofie

    I feel so tense while reading this part of the book because I feel that I can’t read fast enough and I just want to know what happens next! It is just really gripping and so much fun to read!

  • Sarah Lim

    The character development in these chapters has been great. I love that Rhen starts to see himself as having something worth giving to his people and Lillith is so evil for taking that away from him. I also love that Harper is allowing herself to be a little more soft and open, but also growing into herself as a capable woman in her own right. Learning to shoot a bow and arrow sounds like fun! 🙂
    Dying to read the rest of this now.

  • Verena

    I really like that they are truly starting to connect on a deeper level and she finally trusts him <3
    But of course Lilith will ruin all of that. It would have been way to easy otherwise… dang it.
    I wonder what Rhen's plans are when he turns, now that the castle is full of people. I am so extremely curious what the Beast will look like. Seems he either never had scales or somehow can't remember… so it's different this time, I wonder why.
    I was so heart broken when we found out that Grey could have taken her back, I kind of do realize why he did it. But I can relate to her and her need to see her mother and her family much more at this moment….
    I love Harper more and more with every chapter and everything she does.
    Most importantly it is pure torture to stop myself from reading further. Pure Torture.

  • Emily (recordofabibliophile)

    These chapters were so powerful! And I literally feel the same way about everything!
    I’m so nervous about Harper going home.
    I am now loving Rhen and Harper together! Before I was all Harper and Grey, but Rhen has just been so sweet and amazing and now he is sending her home to be with her family, to protect her, t ok save her. And he is giving her jewels to pay off her father’s debt. SROP IT RHEN. MY HEART CANNOT TAKE THIS!

    I feel so bad for Grey, he carries so much guilt with him everyday and we don’t see it because he is so composed.

    I really love all 3 main characters.

    This is my favourite readalong so far!

  • Tasha Ní Mhiacháin

    I hate Lilith.. How dare she hurt Rhen like that ?

  • Claire (@love.the.villain)

    Whew, the section today went from some serious romantic scenes with the dancing on the cliff side and sharing a room at night to keep Rhen safe, to some awfully heartbreaking scenes. The horrific visions Lilith was forcing Rhen to see, and then the goodbye as Rhen sends Harper home rather than try to break the curse. ?
    I’m so glad that everything is out in the open now, with Harper knowing about the creature, but will that even matter at this point? Will Harper ever get back to see Rhen again?

    When Lilith said that she couldn’t be killed, she said something like “Not on this side.” Does she maybe mean that she’s mortal in DC? Could Harper kill her on that side, or does Lilith mean something else entirely? There’s so much I want to know! ?

    Is it weird that I’m looking forward to seeing how Rhen’s monster manifests itself? Scales sound pretty cool. I mean, I know he’s a monster and all, but I can’t help but just be interested to see how he looks! ???

    • Ambwitch

      I thought the exact same thing when Lilith said ‘not on this side.’

  • Sabrina

    “I release you. You’re no longer my prisoner.”
    Well they were a bit packed, so much happening and it’s all about to flip into a big mess. Totally guessing that Harper hitches a lift back with Grey.
    Yes, “tell her the truth!” flashed through my head too. Just be honest people!
    Looking forward to the end of this one, though we know there’s going to be another book, don’t we. And I’m very happy about that.
    Happy reading!

  • Amy

    Today’s chapters have been very eventful. It was really exciting that I couldn’t stop reading. I really did want to carry on reading to tomorrow’s chapters but I thought I would be good and hold off. I am loving that we are getting to see some little romantic things going on between Rhen and Harper now. I love the scene with the dancing on the dock while the music played, I could really picture that scene. Even the little brush of the lips and the kiss on the forehead ?.
    Is it just me or is Lilith getting on my nervous now lol ? I am rooting for Rhen and Harper and then she comes in an ruins everything by showing flashes of what the monster had done to his people. And I thought playing a curse over and over again was bad enough.
    People are starting to volunteer to be part of the army which is good. But even though they were building an army it didn’t stop that guy from ordering a solider to sneakingly kill Rhen’s guards one by one.
    I thought it is really sweet reading Harper and Rhen’s relationship blooming, even so she invites him to stay the night and many more nights in his room to protect him from Lilith…awe ☺️ However, Lilith had to go and ruin that by showing Harper her family and how they are struggling. I mean come on, it’s bad enough that she is trapped in the Rhen’s world while her mum is dying.
    And OMG! Grey isn’t really trapped!!!! He just stays there with Rhen, and he refuses to send Harper home. I understand why he doesn’t want to take her home.
    However, Rhen comes to the rescue. Giving her silver and rubies to pay the debt collectors which means he also ordered Grey to take her home. But what does that mean for Rhen?
    I loved how they kissed in her room ready to for a proper goodbye and suddenly….razor sharp scales are showing on his body. Of course his secret is spilled and Harper is in shock, betrayal. I thought it was really sad how they were just starting a sort of relationship in a way and then once she knew the truth, Harper just became unsure. It was nice how they said goodbye not leaving it with lies or betrayal, but I also felt sorry for the both.

    Hopefully in the next few chapters Harper will return and save Rhen? I am hoping she does, but what puzzles me is how will she get back? Will Grey get stuck in her world? Or will she just stop by a flying visit to pay off the debt collectors in time, say goodbye to her mum (who may pass away) and then go back to save Rhen? It would be interesting. Again I am really enjoying this story now, I am super excited to read what happens next ☺️ x

  • Sarah L

    Listen, all I have to say after finishing these chapters is: please tell me Rhen is turning into a dragon! A beautiful scaley fire-breading dragon! Also, did I miss something? Why can’t Grey just bring Harper’s brother and mother to Emberfall? He can travel “at his whim” he should be able to grab them to protect them from Lawrence and then everyone can live in Emberfall happily ever after. C’mon it’s perfect!

    • Ambwitch

      I was thinking the same about bringing her family to Rhen’s world. It seemed like such an obvious solution so I did wonder whether I was missing something around the rules of who could travel with Grey or something.

  • Jasmine (@aseriesofpages)

    This hit me right in the feels, especially that last chapter. I’m dying to see what happens next. I wonder how her family will react and if Grey will tell her about the note. Hopefully he will!

  • Ambwitch

    I am connecting more this book now so that is great. I’m also really enjoying the relationship building in this book, it seems a lot more developed than I’m used to reading.

    I had forgotten about how in Beauty and the Beast she goes home due to her father’s ill health but when Harper was shown her brother it came flooding back. I do like how there are some things we can expect from this story because it is a retelling but at the same time there is loads of unknowns.

    A couple of thoughts:

    So… Lilith gives Grey the ability to travel between the worlds at will, so why doesn’t he go across and take her family back?

    Lilith mentioned that ‘I cannot be killed by simple steel… Not on this side.’ Does that mean that she could be killed in Harper’s world by ‘simple steel,’ or something as mundane?

  • Sheila (@dreamtimebooks)

    Is Rhen going to become a Dragon? That would be cool! I mean… a monster that kills but… a dragon. Maybe Harper can help him control the monster and he can fight against Lilith then. Well, crazy theories of mine…
    Please Harper don’t go! Can just Grey grab your brother and mother and bring them to Emberfall? I hope they do…

    I loved the Rhen and Harper dancing scenes a lot!

    And I’m going to keep reading!

  • Sherna (@bookworm.swiftie)

    The last chapter broke me ?

  • Sherna (@bookworm.swiftie)

    When Rhen and Harper were dancing near that cliff and Rhen thought how the weather was cold but inside he’s warm and his heart wants to sing. EXCUSE ME I WAS SWOONING ???

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