TITLE: Never Let You Go: A Modern Fairytale
AUTHOR: Katy Regnery
In this modern retelling of “Hansel and Gretel,” 13-year-old foster children, Holden and Griselda, escape from their abductor after three years of brutal captivity and try to cross the Shenandoah River on foot. Tragically, one of them makes it to safety but the other is left behind.
Ten years later, Griselda’s boyfriend drags her to a fight club grudge match where her world is turned upside down when she watches Holden step into the ring.
Though the connection between them is fierce, bitter regret, simmering rage and a cache of physical and emotional scars lie between them, just as dangerous as the whitewater of the Shenandoah.
Never Let You Go is a story of fear and hope, defeat and survival, and two people - once profoundly broken – who discover that love is the only thing that can make them whole again.
This is a standalone novel inspired by Hansel & Gretel. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to profanity, scenes of physical abuse and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. (Note: children are not sexually abused in this book.)
WOW This book was pretty epic!
The blurb alone was completely unique, and I was hooked already.
Although there has been some twists on old fashioned fairytales for some time now, I hadn't heard of anything to do with Hansel & Gretel. That alone was reason to jump on this book.
13-year-old foster children, Holden and Griselda, escape from their abductor after three years of brutal captivity and try to cross the Shenandoah River on foot. Tragically, one of them makes it to safety but the other is left behind.
This first part makes me wonder, what on earth are we going to find in this story? And am I going to be crying through a big chunk of this book.
I was so excited to get started, and jumped straight in within seconds of getting it.
The beginning was catchy enough, to keep me glued.
We start the story, right in the drama. 13 year old foster siblings Holden and Griselda, are literally running from someone. They are running with bleeding, hurting, bare feet. They are hungry, exhausted, and trying to out run someone.
I knew right from the beginning this wouldn't be a normal story.
Never Let You Go, jumps from time to time. From the 2 kids first meeting, to being abducted at 10, throughout the 3 years they are held, through to present.
There is quite a lot of time jumps, and it's also going from 2 POV's, so it can be a little bit overwhelming, BUT the tension and action at all times, makes you bear with it. You just need to pay attention, and it's not hard to follow.
These two young teens, have not had the easiest of starts in life, and it just goes from bad to worse. Through a stroke of luck, they meet each other, and become soul mates.
They have unbelievable strength, considering what they go through. It was so sad and heartbreaking, to read some of the memories or dreams of the past. But it added to the intense and gripping atmosphere of this book.
In to the future, 10 years on from when the 2 teens were separated, by tragic circumstances, and neither of them are much better off.
Both of them are living lives, ticking by from day to day. Still locked in dreams and memories of their life before, in terrible relationships, and longing for the person who completes them.
This story was one of those tales, where you lie in wait for the drastic and dramatic moments, that are inevitable. The pace, and atmosphere are heavy with tension. Some of the parts, I was sat nervous, wondering what was coming next, I just knew it couldn't be good, for Holder and Griselda. They were so unfortunate, in some of the painful events of this story.
I absolutely loved how clever this story was. The fact that so many lives had to be taken in to account, and over such a large span of time, with incredible details. It just showed how epic this story was.
"Are you whole or broken?"
"I'm whole. I'm whole because I'm with you."
There was some crazy, whirlwind events in the second half of this book, that are the sorts of events, that you just wouldn't think is possible to keep happening. But, they fit. It was showing the incredible obstacles that Holden and Griselda have to go through, and yes there was some huge, mammoth obstacles. Some were really sad and heartbreaking. But the outcome of all of them, were really well done. There was light at the end of the tunnel, with all the bad situations. But I did sit there with my mouth gaping for pretty much the whole of the second half, in total shock.
The characters were what really shone, for me. Holder, at 10 was so grown up and strong. He was a brick for Gris, he took her punishments, and said nothing. He showed love for her, that was so big considering their age. At 23, I could still see that strong, little boy, but he was now all man. Strong in different ways now, dealing with the pain of his adolescence, and how he was left empty without Gris, by fighting.
Griselda, again a character with unbelievable strength and courage, considering her age. She fights to get her and Holder out, and never stops even under the threat of defeat.
As grown up Gris, she again is strong in different ways. She deals with her loss in a different way. And fights to survive every day, by putting herself in a crappy situation, that she feels is her punishment.
Both characters had such beautiful broken souls, that truly shone when placed back together.
This story really was beautifully written, and left me feeling so many emotions. It was a crazy overload of feeling, and my constant leaking eyes, could not be controlled.
Once I reached the end of this hugely epic story, I couldn't contain the massive grin, from the awesome Happy Ever After, that was definitely needed. It is perfect for those who want a story, that tells a tale but doesn't hold back on the dark parts, a story that shows everything, and makes you feel all of those painful moments. But rewards you with an epic ending, and feel good closure.
“Don’t look back, no matter what. Stone to Stone. I jump, you jump.”
**I was given an ARC of this book, in exchange for a fair and honest review. Reviewed for Seraphim Book Reviews**