Friday, August 26, 2011
Jackson Pearce's Sweetly is an engrossing, foreboding, and darkly sweet retelling of "Hansel and Gretel" with some unexpected twists. It is a companion to Pearce’s novel Sisters Red, a retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood," but it easily stands on its own, with a few details connecting the two. The setting of this book is what really makes it stand out—Sophia's home and the town of Live Oak in the middle of the summer is idyllic, charming, and even a little lazy, but in a bit of a foreboding manner, with dark things happening beneath the pretty facade. It's easy for the main characters to be lulled into a false sense of security here, but Gretchen's inability to let go of her twin's disappearance and her curiosity about the missing girls of Live Oak lead her to Samuel, who is certain that Sophia is hiding something, and her eyes are opened. She's preoccupied with the idea that she is simply a mirror image of her twin, bound to the same fate, but her time with Samuel and their budding relationship force her to stand on her own and see herself as a person. Sophia's character makes things certainly more complicated, and she'll be the perfect topic of debate as readers are forced to analyze her motivations and role in the disappearances, all the way up to the climactic ending. Sweetly is an entrancing new fairy tale about healing, letting go, taking back your power, forgiveness, and finding love.
Cover Comments: I am in love the this cover--it is so clever. The trees and the cottage and how they make up the witch's face is so brilliant and creepy, and the colors in the cover are absolutely perfect. I love it.
Review copy provided by publisher.