A Curse of Salt

Sarah Street

A Curse of Salt
Hachette Children's Group
United Kingdom
30 May 2023

A Curse of Salt

Sarah Street

In a kingdom that fears the sea, Ria Lucroy longs to be brave.

Bodies are washing ashore and everyone knows who's to blame. Legends of the Heartless King shroud the continent in fear; they call him a pirate, a monster, a god. When his mercenaries raid her father's merchant ship, Ria's family is faced with a horrifying demand. They will spare his life, in exchange for one of his daughters.

Determined to save her sisters, Ria launches herself into the world of pirates. Face-to-face with the Heartless King, she finds he is far more than the stories told. He is a man, with a human name and blood-stained hands, bound to the seas by a centuries-old curse. As their chemistry blooms into something more, Ria finds herself caught in an ancient web of secrets.

Battling creatures of the deep alongside those that reign its surface, Ria discovers how to love a heartless man and that some curses aren't so easy to break.


Although she has been brought up to fear it, Ria Lucroy has always loved the ocean. But when her father’s ship is destroyed by the infamous pirate known as the Heartless King, Ria’s father is given an ultimatum: die, or give up one of his daughters in exchange for his life. Determined to protect her father and sisters, Ria leaves in the middle of the night, ready to face the Heartless King and the bloodthirsty pirates that haunt the ocean. But, onboard the Blood Rose, she discovers there is far more to the king and his crew than the stories have told. Suddenly, Ria is on an adventure, just as she has always longed to be.

A Curse of Salt is Pirates of the Caribbean meets Beauty and the Beast with just a dash of Moana, a mash-up I could never have imagined but something I now know I needed.

I’ve always loved the story of Beauty and the Beast and have read many retellings over the years, but this one stands out among the rest. Although it’s a story I know well, there are plenty of twists and surprises to keep it feeling fresh and exciting. Sarah Street has a talent for world-building which, together with a well-crafted plot, loveable characters and an intricate mythical lore, meant I was absolutely swept away by this debut novel. Plus, the slow-burn romance is absolute perfection. I’m praying to the sea gods for a sequel. This is a truly swoon-worthy romance, for ages 14+.

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