Blurb: 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.
This book was pretty intense, highly emotional and not for the faint of heart. It involved overcoming some pretty graphic physical abuse. Not something I usually read, it was done well IMO. Sometimes when a read a graphic story, I will start to feel sick to my stomach if it’s too much physical abuse, but this one was just shy of that so I was able to finish it without cringing too hard.
With Holden, I identified a lot with how his feelings were portrayed. Not because I was abducted, but I have some experience with violence in my past. One of the reasons I generally avoid too much of it. He almost seemed to have this self sabotage ideal about him. Like he punished himself because he didn’t believe he deserved to be happy. And when Griselda came back into the picture he went into shock and became hyperfocused on her. It was pretty fast paced and intense. I know I said that already but IT’S TRUE!
Griselda was a bit of a hard sell for me. I get her guilt ridden soul. We all carry some form of guilt on our shoulders at some point in our lives. I think I have a hard time with how much abuse she put herself through because of it. And yes, I do get that it doesn’t make sense since Holden chased the violence as well…. but as a woman it’s real hard for me to see how that would be penance for a perceived wrong. The best way to get revenge on an abuser is to live the best life you can, despite their attempts to scare you otherwise. At least that’s how I have coped.
I don’t know if I’m making sense at this point cause it’s late and I’m tired. Really the only way you may understand what I mean is to read it, so go forth bibliophiles, and let me know what you think.