Book 1: Beauty’s Curse
For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: abdicate the throne, or get married.
“I love how the author mixed fairy tale and Christianity together in lovely harmony.”
“The best retelling of Sleeping Beauty I have read!”
“A good read to keep you in fantasies of the world you thought you knew but don’t.”
In order to defeat the sorceress Magdalina, and free herself from her curse, Rose, the Princess of Rhone, has set out to find dragon’s blood. As she travels toward the Romani territory, where the Serpent’s Garden resides, she is accompanied by her faithful group of friends, including their newest member, Prince Philip of Einish.
But when the group ends up shipwrecked on the small island of Maltia, they find themselves trapped without supplies and a way off the island. With time, money, and new enemies working against them, Rose remains determined despite her despair to rise to each challenge. But can she face the growing fear—and longing—inside herself?
“C.S. Johnson went above and beyond to create a vivid world painted in the pages of this book.”
CIR: What inspired this retelling of Sleeping Beauty?
JOHNSON: I absolutely hate the story of “Sleeping Beauty,” and I decided the whole postmodern thing Disney tried to do with Maleficent was stupid (yes, I said it). So I decided to rewrite it in a more realistic, fantastical way. In Beauty’s Curse, there’s a princess determined to save herself, a priestly knight bent on revenge, and a pair of siblings ready to take on the world at the princess’ side. There’s also drugs, war, fairies, revenge, and even a little madness.
CIR: What was your favorite part of writing this story?
JOHNSON: My favorite part of writing this story was getting to write in all the new characters to the story. Rose’s character is also a break from tradition, since she is determined beyond all things to save herself and rule her kingdom in her own right one day. I love her conviction, and I do believe that makes her a stronger character more than her physical strength and prowess.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
JOHNSON: The hardest part in writing this novel was following all the twists and turns. Everyone has secrets, everyone has motives, and everyone wants something. This book worked with a larger main cast of characters than my previous works.
CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
JOHNSON: My favorite character is a tie between Rose and Theo. Rose is a princess who, knowing of her doomed curse, sets out to break it even as she fails to understand the good it has brought into her life. Theo is an orphan who grew up in the church when his parents were murdered, and even though he knows the creeds and the truth of the church teachings, he wants revenge. I love that they both can’t help but want something so desperately, even though it is counter to what they were taught or what others think.
CIR: What themes do you address in this story, and what message do you hope readers take away?
JOHNSON: Courage, growing up/coming of age, friendship, and love. God works magic in our lives in mysterious, silly, ironic, and painful ways, but we can still have hope through it all.
CIR: Is the story over yet, or is there more?
JOHNSON: This will be a four-part series.