Regret, betrayal, kidnapping, loss, madness, abuse, passion, love.
In this modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel, thirteen-year-old foster children Griselda and Holden 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, and 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 tangle of physical and emotional scars lie between them, just as dangerous as the white water 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 and 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.)
4.5 stars — OK, I adore this author, so much so that I flew across the country to meet her this past weekend at an author signing, hence why I was trying to read her books beforehand. But as yet that love had only been concentrated on her Blueberry Lane series. I hadn’t been enthralled by the previous two Modern Fairytale stories I’d read of hers, despite the rave reviews — which bummed me out big time. But in all honesty, when I initially bought these ebooks a few years ago, this is the story that grabbed my attention the most. I’m not sure if it’s the tragedy of it all, the horror of a kidnapping, or just the uniqueness of doing a spin on the Hansel and Gretel fairytale (which you have to admit, does NOT get retold very often), but I was drawn to this story. So to say that I was relieved that I fell in love with it is kind of an understatement. I know it’s probably silly to put so much thought and angst into loving every story by an author, b/c even with my all time favourite authors I haven’t loved EVERY story, but I really loved the concept of contemporary fairytale retellings, so I *WANTED* to love these stories. AND FINALLY I found my match!!
So after that long winded introduction, what did I fall in love with? Oh it’s all Holden and Griselda. From the many flashbacks, both good memories and nightmares, to the truly long and arduous journey to their HEA. I’m not a huge fan of HIGH angst, and I wouldn’t say this is HIGH, but it is higher… But there was just something about their obvious connection and love for each other that kept drawing me back in over and over again, cringing every time they hit a setback, and praying that their HEA was just around the corner.
I even understood all of their emotional turmoil, like Gris’s inability to trust the people she loves not to leave her, and her attempts to isolate herself. And Holden sort of isolated himself as well, but in a bit of a different way. In all honesty, they both behaved badly at times to those around them, but I forgave them for it because of all they went through. And they both grew and changed and made really good choices in the end.
And come on, Holden was extremely swoonworthy. I can’t even tell you how many times he made me rip my heart out and offer it to him on a silver platter. He was that intriguing mix of sexy aggressive protective boy with this wounded puppy who just wants to be loved, his devotion to Gris was just unmatched. And I felt like his stammer added something to his character and their experiences.
I loved the emotions that this book wrung out of me. The desperation, the grief, the despair, the way they would latch on to each other. OMG, I was just totally all in. And I loved that we got periods of bliss throughout, so that it wasn’t all hardship over and over again. We really got to see their relationship change and grow depending on what was going on in their lives. I even loved the few sideplot loose ends that got tied up, that was an unexpected bonus.
So yeah, not my best review…that’s what happens when I read a book on holidays. Not only do I have less time to read, so it takes me a few days to get through a book, but then I also find it hard to pin down my thoughts to more specifics, instead of just “I LOVED IT!” I did find that the book dragged in places, but because of not being able to devote time to the book, I wasn’t sure if that was actually the case or more the circumstances of my reading. Ah well, you get what you get and you don’t get upset. H+G Forever baby.