Jackson Pearce has a really nifty series going, the Fairytale Retellings. Sisters Red was very cool, blending monster hunting and werewolves with Little Red Riding Hood and a smidgen (I felt) of Snow White, Rose Red. Sweetly is the second book in the series and reinterprets Hansel and Gretel with a modern twist. I wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did… but I did. So that’s that.
Gretchen and Ansel lost their sister years ago to an attack by a witch in the woods. Their family has since fallen into a habit of pretending she never existed. This is the hardest for Gretchen, who was her twin. Gretchen shoulders the blame of the witch attack and lets the tragedy define who she is as she creeps into adulthood. At 18 Gretchen and Ansel flee Washington state for the east coast hoping to create a new life. Their car breaks down in a secluded town in South Carolina called Live Oaks. Live Oaks doesn’t take kindly to strangers but one woman takes them in – Sophia, who runs a chocolatier in the woods. Everyone is suspicious of Ansel and Gretchen, but even more so of Sophia. Since her return three years prior there has been a stream of missing girls connected to her chocolate shop. Gretchen can’t let herself believe the accusations of her new friends, even when the evidence against her begins to mount up.
This book is so unexpectedly cool. Hansel and Gretel is such a basic, short story I had no idea how Pearce was going to expand it into a novel… but she did, and she did it very well. I loved the twists and turns in this, the characters, the grief and guilt, the love interest… the love interest… sigh, I liked him a lot… the re-imagining of the plot, the ending… yeah. It’s pretty perfect. I enjoyed every bit of it. It reminded me (a touch) of Chocolate (of course it did) and the Kim Harrington Clarity books (though don’t know why, just a feeling to the book).
I’m so excited to have Fathomless waiting for me. Jackson Pearce can keep writing this series ’til the cows come home for all I care, as long as she writes them like this. I actually like this one better than Sisters Red. That’s saying something.
5 out of 5 stars.