(Fairytale Retellings #2)
As a child, Gretchen’s twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch’s forest threatening to make them disappear, too.
Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They’re invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.
Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past — until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn’t gone — it’s lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak’s infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.
Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.
Previous books in series:
This was a fairytale retelling of Hansel and Gretel and I had never read one before I went and picked up this one. I have read the previous book in the series, though I actually thought they wouldn’t be this kind of series. I thought they would just be a collection of fairytale retellings, but apparently they are a bit more linked than that. That’s all that I’m willing to say about this because I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone who has yet to read it. But I went into this a fan of the previous book in the series and this one definitely didn’t let me down.
So I really liked the setting in this story, and I enjoyed the start-off point as well. It was immediately clear on which fairytale this story was based but it also went right ahead and made it clear that there were differences. In my eyes that was a definite plus. As the story continued you get to see how this is tied in with Sisters red, which was nice. Though I must say that I hadn’t expected this at all (seeing as I hadn’t read any reviews of this book before reading it) and I was thinking about completely different ways in which this story would go. But I guess it’s nice that it ties in with the previous book and it’s definitely making me think about the next book as well. There are definitely some things that are mentioned that I might think come back in Fathomless (Fairytale Retellings #3) but I’ll have to read it to find out. And trust me, I will.
Gretchen was a great character, I love the progression of her character as the story continues. She definitely grows throughout this book and discovers how love (in any form, be it towards family or in a romantic sense) can be difficult. I also thought it was great to read about how Gretchen was coping with this childhood trauma. Meanwhile her brother, Ansel, was also a very interesting character, especially in the sense of which role he took up once his little sister was gone. Sophia was a fascinating character in the least. It was great to find out why she did what she did. This is something I can definitely appreciate in any story: finding out what drives people to do certain things. For me this definitely helped make the book interesting.
The writing in Sweetly was just as great as it was in Sisters Red. It has such beautiful descriptions and it just sucks you right into the story. Once again the action scenes were just fabulous, they just feel so incredibly real somehow. It doesn’t feel forced in anyway and there’s always just enough of it. The whole book is such a nice blend of mystery woven in with certain emotional struggles. It encompasses themes such as grief and blame but also love and loyalty. There was some romantic love in this book as well but it definitely didn’t take the lead and never stole the light of the other themes. Having read a lot of romance novels (and getting slightly tired of them at times) I really appreciated how cute this romance was and how it felt very realistic (as in: not insta-love or too many speeches about undying love).
In short I think this is a great book for everyone who loved Sisters Red but also anyone who is a fan of fairytale retellings (as far as they go this is definitely a diamond). I guess this book can easily be read on its own, but for me it was a lot of fun to piece this story together with the previous one and connect certain dots.