Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Gretel and the Dark

Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville
Hardback, 368 Pages

Expected Publication 6th February 2014 by Penguin Books UK

Shelves: 
adult-fiction, arc-or-review, better-than-expected, books-i-own, fairy-tales, historical, read, read-in-2014, really-good, title-appeal, ww2
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:


Gretel and the Dark is Eliza Granville's dazzling novel of darkness, evil - and hope.Vienna, 1899. 

Josef Breuer - celebrated psychoanalyst - is about to encounter his strangest case yet. Found by the lunatic asylum, thin, head shaved, she claims to have no name, no feelings - to be, in fact, not even human. Intrigued, Breuer determines to fathom the roots of her disturbance.

Years later, in Germany, we meet Krysta. Krysta's Papa is busy working in the infirmary with the 'animal people', so little Krysta plays alone, lost in the stories of Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper, and more. And when everything changes and the real world around her becomes as frightening as any fairy tale, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could have ever guessed . . .

Eliza Granville was born in Worcestershire and currently lives in Bath. 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. Gretel and the Dark is her first novel to be published by a major publisher.


Gretel and the Dark was a book that I was excited about reading, but it was also a book that I had slight reservations with as it seemed to cross over several genres and themes. After reading, I realise that I shouldn't have had any of those reservations because although there was quite a fantastic complexity to the book, it was handled in the most incredible way, a way that has really left me in awe.

This is truly a book that you need to experience for yourself, rather than just read about. It's very difficult to review as I can't really say anything about the storyline without giving anything away - I found the complexity of it to be awesome, I would hold my breath at points, whilst still being desperate to turn the page to find out what would unfurl next. The writing was beautiful and though it took me a small while to adjust to, once I got into it, I was fully immersed into this book. I was sucked into the deep, dark setting, completely blocking out the reality around me.

The story is perhaps not one for those who are easily upset, as it's one which is certainly disturbing, unsurprisingly due to the  but in my opinion, rightly so - though it's not pleasant to read some of the situations or conditions in the story, it has the desired effect on the reader. Embracing the emotions of this book is important and it certainly does have an impact on you. The characters are all very individual and play their own firm roles in the book. The story reveals more and more about the characters as the book progresses, and it only astounded me more as I read on.

Overall, Gretel and the Dark is perhaps one of the most unusual, yet definitely one of the most cleverly, well written books that I have read. It is a treat to become lost in the world of a book, and that is definitely what happened for me in this one. This is a story that really 'wow'ed me and one that I would recommend again and again for historical story lovers, fairytale lovers, or just fiction lovers in general. Pick this up, get quickly lost inside and let this book astound you.  


5 comments:

  1. I'm glad to come across my first review of this, because I've been seeing it everywhere, but haven't stumbled upon reviews of it in the blogs I follow yet. Will now add it to TBR. Thanks!

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  2. I'm so intrigued about this book. It sounds really different and interesting! First review I've seen of it though, glad you enjoyed it.

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