Just Charlie G

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Gretel and the Dark

This could be the shortest book related post ever because what I want to say about this book is “buy it, buy it now”. Done.

This is a book that when I got it, I thought I was going to love it, but when I started it, it took me a couple of chapters to get into it, but things changed quickly.

It’s hard to write about this book without revealing massive spoilers but in short.

In Vienna, 1899, celebrated psychoanalyst Josef Breuer is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, beaten, head shaved the girl claims she isn’t human and has no name. Breuer resolves to find out who she is and what has happened to her. He names her Lillie and starts working with her to find her past.

Running in alternative chapters we have the story of Krysta, in Germany some years later.  Krysta is  a spoilt, unlikeable child, her Papa works in the infirmary with the “animal people”. Krysta is left to her own devices much of the time and lives in a world of fairy tails.

Nearly the whole way through the book the stories run separately leaving you to guess how they are connected. I guessed incorrectly the whole way through until the big reveal which left me breathless. Literally. I haven’t read a book like this for a long time. My heart was pumping, I was turning pages like lightening, wanting to know what was happening but also not wanting to know.

This isn’t a Disney style fairy tale, this a dark, haunting, disturbing and amazing read.

The author Eliza Granville has had a life long  fascination with fairy tales and their symbolism and the novel was inspired by the fact that the Third Reich placed a particular emphasis on these macabre tales.

I think I read somewhere that this was a novel written for young adults but I’d have to say this is a thoroughly adult novel. That’s not to say it’s unsuitable for teens, but what I am saying is that the way it’s written isn’t young at all, this is very adult.

I’ve not read a book that has affected me like this one has for a long time. I swear I forgot to breathe last night when I read the last couple of chapters.  The chapters in this book are long. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to read it, you’re going to want to read a full chapter at a time, at least! The first couple of chapters are harder work, but stick with it before you know it you’ll be absolutely gripped.

It’s hard to say a book like this is enjoyable, because the subject matter is so dark and disturbing, but enjoy it I did, as I raced through it trying to work out what was going on.

Oh just read it. Best book I’ve read in AGES.

*Book provided for review purposes*

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