The Curse of Beauty

A Romantic Historical Fantasy Steeping in Greek Mythology

Fiction - Drama
494 Pages
Reviewed on 01/28/2022
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

"My mission: resurrecting the past one tale at a time." ~Lauren Lee Merewether

The city of Troy from Homer's Illiad has been unearthed and archaeologically dates to 1200 BC, during the last age of the Myceneans, lending truth to the main points in Homer's tale written down over 500 years later. So what if Hesiod's Medusa, the Gorgon who laid with the Lord of Dark Hair (Poseidon) was a real woman? What could have happened in Mycenaean history to inspire the Medusa myth and how did oral tradition change it into the Greek and Roman tales we all know today?

After countless hours of research into the Mycenaean origins of Greek Mythology, the Ancient Legends saga was born. In the series starter, The Curse of Beauty, discover how the Mycenaean era began, how men became legendary titans and gods, and how Tiryns, once a flourishing Mycenaean city, was almost lost to time. Uncover the tale that became the Medusa myth.

Lauren is an ancient family saga fiction author and loves to learn about other worlds and civilizations now past. Her sagas blend the historical, drama, coming of age, women's fiction, and romance genres. Even though violence and adult themes are folded into the pages of her books, you will not find explicit sex, gore, or profanity.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Curse of Beauty is a work of historical fiction and interpersonal drama which is part of the Ancient Legends novel series. It is intended for the general adult reading audience owing to non-graphic reference to abuse, violence, and assault, and was penned by author Lauren Lee Merewether. In this thrilling standalone novel that explores the story which inspired the myth of the infamous figure Medusa, we find ourselves in Greece circa 1650 BC. Our central protagonist, Thais, is the daughter of a chieftain who wants to settle with oncoming invaders without the need for bloodshed. Although she believes in his peaceful vision, the personal cost Thais will suffer sees her undergo a trial of legendary proportions.

I always enjoy diving into historical works by Lauren Lee Merewether, particularly because this is an author who knows how to balance all the most interesting and well-researched elements of ancient history with emotional parallels to modern life and drama so that every character resonates with contemporary readers. Thais is no exception to this, and when Merewether’s up-close and empathetic narrative style is combined with the many sensations, family conflicts, and political struggles of this exciting plotline, it makes for an unstoppable read that I couldn’t put down without wondering what was yet to happen and aching to pick it back up again. From its slow-burning politically charged aggression to its poignant observations about the role of women and attitudes toward them during ancient times, The Curse of Beauty delivers everything you could possibly hope for in a historical drama. Unmissable.

Teresa Syms

The Curse of Beauty is an incredible book of mythology and drama by Lauren Lee Merewether. The self-proclaimed king of the seas, King Oceanus arrives in the peaceful city of Tiryns. He claims he comes as an ally, but his ultimate goal is to overtake the city and enslave those who oppose him. He demands ultimate power. However, in a show of strength, he kills the chieftain’s wife and the mother of Thais, a beautiful girl who is cursed by evil spirits. Some of the council members oppose King Oceanus and want to either leave Tiryns or stand and fight. Gorgon is so opposed but he cannot convince the Chieftain. Thais is caught between her father, her people, and Oceanus. Before Thais’ mother is killed, she prays to their Mother Goddess to trade her life for her daughter's. In time, Thais learns her mother’s bargain has left her life with nothing but an epic struggle to survive. Will Tiryns's people be captured and enslaved or will they be allowed to peacefully co-exist with the soldiers?

The Curse of Beauty is a powerful book overflowing with drama, intrigue, love, hate, passion and violence. Lauren Lee Merewether has penned a book the reader will be unable to put down until the very end, leaving them wanting more. The plot was very well written and developed. It had perfect flow and continuity. The characters were expertly crafted and came to life in front of me. To me, that is a sign of an exceptional story. I found the intricate story web developed by the author to be captivating. I lost myself in the story of Thais, her family and friends, as well as King Oceanus and his son. Friendships are treasured, other friendships are betrayed, but overall, love will win out. But how will Thais, Alexin, and King Inachus make this happen? You will have to read this book and all will become clear. I truly enjoyed The Curse of Beauty and look forward to reading more from this author.

Jamie Michele

The Curse of Beauty by Lauren Lee Merewether is a standalone historical novel in the author's An Ancient Legends Novel: The Story Behind the Myth series. Merewether paints a pre-history account of the famed Medusa's origin story, spinning a tale that begins with a mother's love and sacrifice and the trajectory of her daughter, Thais, in the lifetime that follows. As Thais comes of age, she puts herself in service to a temple in the hope that the heart of a friend softens toward marriage. She does not know that his heart belongs to another, Callista, or what is to come years later when Thais' destiny is tied to the emergence of one of the most famous figures in Greek mythology... a woman painted as a monster who is not, and a story for the centuries to come. Or is it a story? “It is not a story,” she whispered. “It is what happened. Remember it, and tell it again.”

If I only had a single word to sum up how I feel about The Curse of Beauty it would be, “WOAH.” Lauren Lee Merewether went in directions I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams, allowing for profoundly human moments in what I initially believed to be another lightning bolt, Clash of the Titans-esque war of man versus the gods. Not the case at all! Merewether breathes actual real life into her wonderfully well-developed characters and gives us a gripping plot and its eventual outcome with each turn of the page. It is rare to be surprised when we think we know an ending because it has been given to us sometime between our freshman to senior years of high school through required reading. This was bigger than a surprise. It was a shock—and a glorious one at that, spurred on through a creative storyline that stays with you long after the book ends.


Merewether has produced a heart-wrenching tale lost in the ages. The Curse of Beauty is based on the story behind Medusa—not the fantastical legend but a story closely aligned to its historical roots. Yet it is so much more than an historical account; it’s a story about hope, kindness, betrayal, love, duty, and war. It’s about searching within yourself to become the person you aspire to be, not who you think you should be. The author carries you on a journey through the main characters’ lives, from their beginnings to their end; a full cycle of growth. It’s a complex tale that will remain with you for a very long time. 5 stars!


This book is a delight for anyone who enjoys ancient history and myth. Unlike the author's previous books, set in Egypt of the pharaohs, The Curse of Beauty puts the reader in ancient Greece.

Blending historical fact, or at least supposition, with creative expression, the plot delivers a fascinating portrayal of how the Medusa myth might have started.

The exciting story follows a despotic king, Oceanus, as he attempts to subjugate a hilltop town called Tiryns and unite the surrounding regions under his harsh rule. Once again, the author shines with her research of ancient history, as shown by the notes at the front and back of the book. And I thought the way in which she resolved the inception of the Medusa myth was very clever. Nicely done!


A compelling story based on Greek Mythology
Well-written and incredibly well-researched, this fascinating fictional story about the legend of Medusa captivates and thrills. Initially, I found the foreign names of the many characters difficult to remember and follow. But the battle between the Helledic and Mycenaean tribes is a compelling and emotional tale that deserves reading. The men's disrespectful view of women and children, and the diminished value of life in a world where brute power dominates, is amazingly portrayed. Told equally well is the women's struggle to be seen and loved. The conclusion was pleasantly fitting.


Lauren Lee Merewether’s “The Curse of Beauty: The Story Behind the Myth (Ancient Legends)”

Rich in myth an Ancient Greek history, Ms. Merewether brings the myth of Medusa alive beautifully with all the family drama, political conflict and energized emotions, giving new life to an old tale. With an exciting storyline she has created a dynamic story with an engrossing plot that will captivate you in a way that will make it almost impossible to put the book down.

Her writing is elegantly superb, and she has a gift, for conveying the heart of the story with empathy, excitement and passion. Her characters are portrayed beautifully in all their flaws and their glory. This is a breathtaking tale that come to life on the pages. This is the stuff movies are made of.

I always look forward to this author’s books. I loved this one and her series on Ancient Egypt and I can’t wait for the next book. She continually outdoes herself!

Thank you so much Ms. Merewether for this fascinating story!


"If you're looking for a quick, light read, this book is not it.
The storyline is intense, and at times it is dark. It's about love and how it shapes us, and affects our decisions in life.
Unrequited love, sacrificial love, devoted love, parental love and the lack thereof, obsessive love.
It's about power, and the never ending quest for more of it.
It's about war and oppression, and the quest to remain free, and live in peace.
It's tender; it's brutal.
It is an enjoyable story, although I did find it a little hard to follow at times simply because there are multiple key players, each equally important to the story.
I do think it tended to drag a little in places, but that could just be me, wanting to see what happens next, without waiting for the current scene to play out.
I recommend this book, and give it 5 stars, but I will admit, Ms. Merewether's previous series about ancient Egypt (The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles) still remains my favorite series.

A Wai

The Curse of Beauty is a wonderful blend of everything I love about myths and ancient history. The characters and settings are beautifully rendered and came to life on the page. If you love myths, legends and ancient history woven into powerfully evocative storytelling you'll love book 1 in this series. I am really looking forward to the next one!


In this magnificent work of historical fiction, the author has brought to life a little known time period and woven a fascinating story around it. Her characters are so realistic, you will feel you truly know them like old friends by the time you reach the end. It took me a while to finish this book, mostly because I wanted to savor every single beautifully written word. I look forward to diving back into this captivating world in the next book in the series.


A powerful historical fiction tale relevant to these days

Never be afraid of curses because they can overcome by beauty and love. A strong woman main character in a challenging times and struggle, making this ancient Greek mythology with messages relevant to modern days, survival, freedom, mother-daughter sentiments. responsibility over egoism, love and fate, questioning people’s behaviour, and redemption.

The following memorable text explains my intention more that 1000 words: ‘…his strong chest beneath her forehead and her life pounding away moment by moment in a rapid reel of thought remained. At the end of it, darkness lingered. She gathered her hands beneath her chin and felt her breath fill her chest. “This curse of beauty,” she repeated in a whisper, and as clear as the spring river water and as pure as a newborn babe, her sudden epiphany from her lessons in the temples sweetly rang in her ears: It is not about me. No. It was never. about. me.’ Overall the building tense relationship between Thais and Alexein is a creative work of a well talented and sensible author.

The books contributes to my knowledge about the Greek mythology thanks to the dynamic plot that keeps me engaged. The dialogues and scenes’ description are real and flowing like watching an attractive TV series.

What makes this well-researched story earns 5 stars is that in addition to round characters, the writing elegantly takes you into the atmosphere of that era, their life style and daily challenges.


The Curse of Beauty is about the power of love.
A mother’s love is not forgotten.
The loss of a great love can lead to a life of destruction, while having a great love can lead to accomplishing great things.
The lack of love can lead to a life of twisted allegiance, while the promise of love can lead to redemption.
A steadfast love can move empires.

I was hesitant to read this book, thinking the author could not surpass her Egyptian series, but she proved me wrong. The background of Ancient Greece was interesting and the story exciting. The characters intrigued me from start to finish. The ending felt creepy but appropriately ghoulish for a Greek myth. I look forward to the next book!


Enthralling Story

I was dubious that even the best writing could make something beautiful out of the legend of Medusa.

This book definitely proved me wrong.

The author has woven a tale that is both horrifying and mesmerizing, showing how the real lives of ancient Greeks could have led to the myth of Medusa. She fits her tale as closely as possible to actual and presumed history. The story is so well imagined and the characters so real and sympathetic that the reader lives, suffers, and rejoices with them.

It is beautifully written and a joy to read. I hated to see it end.