Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.
Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.
Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
I’m going to start off by saying that I have not read Sisters Red so I was not familiar with Pearce’s work. That also means I have not made any connections between the two books that other readers have… I also was not familiar with the full story of Hansel and Gretel. I knew the outline of the story but none of the fine details.
Jackson Pearce had me captivated from the first chapter. The story feels magical but it was different for me because of the modern characters. Each of the characters has enough of their original ‘fairytale’ traits that let you know who is who but Pearce adds a spark of individuality to them making the story that more amazing. I fell in love with her retelling. The people, the plot, and the writing really make it seem like you’re reading the original story.
I really like the fact that the reader can’t help but love and hate Sophia. This novel shows how far a person will go for the ones he/she loves. Even though you hate Sophia you know you can’t truly hate her because her reasons are rational. I found the protagonists and antagonists very realistic and easy to understand.
Pearce’s writing teases the reader constantly, leaving you with one puzzle piece at a time. I always tried to make an assumption of what would happen but was never able to. Everything occurs at an even pace, never once slowing or speeding up.
If you’re a fan of fairytales, this novel is for you. Still, I suggest you pick up this novel even if you aren’t a fan of retellings. I’m pretty sure you will be after this one!