[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to bring you this dual cover reveal from author Sandhya Menon: one for her new book, Of Princes and Promises, as well as a brand new one for her hit Of Curses and Kisses. We also have an exclusive excerpt to share! First, a Q&A with Sandhya Menon herself!]
What inspired these two books?
The idea for the Rosetta Academy series came to me a couple of years ago when I was binge-watching Gossip Girls in an attempt to forget about looming deadlines (my go-to procrastination is always Netflix–anyone else?). I remember sitting there thinking, it would be so cool if there was a YA fairytale retelling with a hint of a Gossip Girls vibe set at a boarding school. And then it occurred to me that, hey, I’m an author and I could maybe make that happen! Thankfully my publisher agreed and greenlit the series!
Can you describe the covers and what you think of them and how they represent the books?
I absolutely LOVE the rebranded covers! While the original cover of Of Curses and Kisses was one of my favorites, I think these really capture the glamorous, fairytale-esque, highly romantic vibes so well! The fact that the final dust jackets will have special effects on them (like foil!) is just the icing on the cake.
Describe what can readers expect from the stories.
Readers can expect a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast from Of Curses and Kisses and The Frog Prince from Of Princes and Promises. Both stories are set at Rosetta Academy, an elite boarding school for teenage royalty.
In Of Princes and Promises, we follow Caterina LaValle, who was recently spurned by her ex-boyfriend. In an attempt to get her revenge, she gives the school nerd, Rahul Chopra, a makeover to take him to a high-profile gala as her date. However, the makeover turns out to be a little more magical and a little more all-consuming than either of them expect!
Without further ado…the reimagined cover for Of Curses and Kisses!
About Of Curses and Kisses:
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.
Buckle up for the Of Princes and Promises cover!
About Of Princes and Promises:
Caterina LaValle is determined to show she’s still the queen of St. Rosetta’s Academy. Sure, her crown may be slightly askew after her ex-boyfriend, Alaric, cheated on her, but she’s a LaValle. She’ll find a way to march right back in there, her hands clutching the strings to the whole puppet show. This time, she’s going to be untouchable.
Rahul Chopra knows that moment he shared with Caterina LaValle at the winter formal meant something. Surely she feels it, too. He’s a little uncertain how someone like him (socially inept to a point way past “adorkable”) could fit into her world, but he’s loved Caterina for years. He knows they’ll find a way.
When Caterina finds out Alaric is taking a supermodel to the upcoming gala, she knows she cannot arrive without the perfect date. But the thought of taking another superficial St. R’s boy exhausts her. The solution? Sweet-but-clueless Rahul Chopra and a mysterious pot of hair gel with the power to alter the wearer into whatever his heart desires.
When Rahul tries it, he transforms instantly into RC—debonair, handsome, and charming. But transformation comes with a price: As Rahul enjoys his new social standing, the line between his two personas begins to blur. Will he give up everything, including Caterina, to remain RC? Or will this unlikely pair find their way back to each other?
It is quite possible, Rahul Chopra, that you are in over your head. Way, way over your head. Rahul held his head between his hands and took slow, deep, controlled breaths. Wearing a tux? That was supposed to make him someone else? Wasn’t that a bit like putting a wig over a computer screen and asking people to believe it was human? Who in their right mind at the very high profile Hindman Foundation gala would buy this?
But you need the training, he told himself. And the cold, hard truth was that he did. Desperately. If he had any chance of salvaging his friendships or of ever recapturing what he’d shared at the winter formal with Caterina at all, this was it.
Taking another deep breath, he said, “Caterina?”
“Yes?” Her cool, imperious voice floated in.
“How much longer? I may not have mentioned this before, but I’m kind of claustrophobic.” The curtain rattled back and Caterina stood in the doorway, looking at him, as he peered at her from under his knees. He was lucky he’d put his pants on before he sat down.
“Are you all right?” she asked, and although there was still that touch of icy authority in her voice, the place between her brows held a crease, as if she were really concerned.
“Yes, fine.” Rahul sat up and took a shuddering breath.
Caterina turned and spoke, presumably to Oliver. “We’ve had enough. Let’s go with the first tux he tried on; I think that’ll do nicely.”
Rahul stood, shakily grateful that he could leave the tiny coffin of a dressing room. He followed Caterina out as the assistant ran in and began to take the clothes he’d already tried on (Oliver had insisted Rahul leave them for her; apparently customers only “ruined the vibe” of CdT by jamming things on racks where they clearly didn’t belong).
“Oliver, I do like the tux,” Caterina said, once they were at a little seating area made of velvet, fuchsia-colored armchairs. “But…”
Oliver held up a hand. A pinky ring glinted in the light. “Say no more. There’s something missing.”
Caterina sighed and crossed her legs. “Yes. I’ll be doing his makeup tomorrow, of course, but I have a feeling that’s not going to be enough. Do you have anything else that might help complete his transformation for the gala?”
Makeup?? She’d never mentioned makeup before. He had an image of Caterina dusting his face with her glittery powder. No, if she tried that, he’d have to put his foot down. He drew the line at sparkles.
Oliver took his time, tapping his finger against his chin, pacing around the armchairs. And then, finally, he looked up, a small smile on his face. “I have it. Come with me.”
They followed him to the far end of the store, around tiny side tables stacked with old books, tree branches hanging from the ceiling with fishing wire, and even, inexplicably, a giant stuffed tiger (artificial, hopefully) with reindeer antlers on its head. A taxonomist’s nightmare.
Oliver, unfazed by his atrocities against science, went around a large ornate cherry wood desk where he checked out customers. He pulled what looked like a small, squat glass jar from one of the drawers.
“I haven’t had a chance to put this on the floor yet,” he explained, holding the jar in the palm of his hand and extending it toward Rahul. The label was black and white, and the wording was in a language Rahul didn’t recognize. For just a moment, the letters appeared to glow as if made from flame. But then Rahul blinked and the effect was gone. Huh. Must be low blood sugar or something.
Oliver continued, “This is a very special hair gel, from a small fishing village in Estonia. I got it from my cousin, who traveled there and met a woman at a night market.” Leaning closer to Rahul, his dark eyes gleaming like wet stone, he added, “They say it’s made from wolfsbane and has magical properties. That it will bring the wearer the ability to disguise himself as whatever his heart desires.”
Setting his palms flat on the desk, Rahul narrowed his eyes. “Wolfsbane is toxic. Why would I want to touch that?”
Oliver laughed, though his face flashed annoyance for a tiny beat. “The toxins have been taken out through a very lengthy process.”
Rahul raised an eyebrow. “What process? Boiling? Or distillation? Or—”
“Does it work?” Caterina interrupted quickly from beside Rahul. “Have you seen it yourself?”
“I have,” Oliver said immediately. “My cousin, he was not a musical man. And yet, once he began to use this…” He shook his head. “I have not seen such ability, not even in the masters. Now he travels the world playing his harmonica for enormous crowds. He won’t go a day without using the gel.”
That was anecdotal evidence, based on nothing more than one man’s experience (if it was even true) as opposed to a controlled, scientific study designed to look at trends within populations. Clearly, the story was designed to part Caterina from her money. But before Rahul could open his mouth to say that, Oliver extended the jar again, toward him. “Take it as a trial. No charge this time. If it doesn’t work for you, no harm, no foul.” A smile licked across Oliver’s face.
Tucking her hair behind one ear, Caterina spoke. “Well, that’s very generous of you, Oliver. Thank you. We’ll certainly give it a try.” Seeing Rahul’s skeptical face, she narrowed her eyes. “Won’t we?”
“Um, sure. We’ll definitely try it.” He took the jar from Oliver and pocketed it, hoping it wouldn’t cause all his hair to fall out.
“Excellent.” Oliver bowed. “I know you’ll find it…transformational.”
Going bald would be transformational, but Rahul didn’t think he’d say that just now. He had a feeling neither Caterina nor Oliver would be amused. As the assistant packed up the things Caterina had purchased for him, Rahul studied the packages. Caterina was spending a lot of money and time trying to metamorphize the frog into the prince. He glanced at her, feeling his heart thrum with nerves. What would happen if he remained stubbornly amphibian in spite of all her ministrations?
About the Author:
Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi, Of Curses and Kisses, and many other novels that also feature lots of kissing, girl power, and swoony boys. Her books have been included in several cool places, including the Today show, Teen Vogue, NPR, BuzzFeed, and Seventeen. A full-time dog servant and part-time writer, she makes her home in the foggy mountains of Colorado. Visit her online at SandhyaMenon.com