Gretel and the Dark Hardcover – 6 Feb 2014
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Powerful, heartbreaking, heart-racing, terrifying . . . It is impossible not to find yourself racing through the pages (The Times)
Atmospheric and beautifully written. Gretel and the Dark will be one of the best books of 2014 (The List)
Dark and intriguing . . . a highly clever, original book (Daily Mail)
Ambitious and enticing (Independent)
Truly beautiful writing. Read this book (Guardian)
A back-and-forth tale of secrets and imagination, a thoroughly engaging journey into the darkest corners of humanity (Publishers Weekly)
As dark and twisting as the Black Forest . . . forbidding, secretive, richly historical, this is a gripping novel that will leave you guessing until the end (Historical Novel Society)
This combination of history, mystery and fairy tale makes for engrossing and irresistible reading - right up to the ultimately redemptive final twist (Bookpage (U.S.))
Grips and shakes the reader from beginning to end. Like so many fairy tales, nothing is what it seems and attention must be paid for the greatest rewards (Gilmore Guide to Books (blog))
Extraordinary. Granville's writing and world building are beautiful. (The Mountains of Instead (blog))
About the Author
Eliza Granville was born in Worcestershire and now lives in the Welsh Marches. She has had a life-long fascination with the enduring quality of fairytales and their symbolism, and the idea for Gretel and the Dark was sparked when she became interested in the emphasis placed on these stories during the Third Reich.
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And to an extent, I wasn’t disappointed. Granville’s writing is atmospheric and lovely. The characterisations of her characters – particularly little Krysta – are full and rich, with dialogue woven with hope and humour. And the ‘present’ setting in a psychiatric hospital was something that I particularly enjoyed, as well as Josef’s interaction with his ‘strange case’ patient, who claims to not even have a name, much less be of human origin.
However, I felt that a lot of the storytelling became muddled, and not a lot was made clear to me. Though the style was atmospheric, it was not as gripping as I’d hoped, and I found myself having to push on and read it at times, as if it was a chore. It really didn’t grasp me, and I finished the book feeling somewhat cheated of what could have been a brilliant fairytale adaptation.
If you enjoy fairytale retellings and fairytales set in more modern times, you might enjoy this. But it’s entirely up to your own tastes. Try it, and see what you think.