It only took 12 years for Gretchen & Ansel to finally get the boot from their widowed step-mother. They've depended solely on one another ever since Gretchen's twin sister disappeared from the woods. Always a little lost, Gretchen clings to the rock that is her older brother Ansel.
The pair find themselves broken down in the tiny town of Live Oak, just a few hours shy of the Atlantic Ocean they were so looking forward to seeing. Having nearly run out of money the two kids are fortunate enough to find a native resident of the sleepy town who could use a little help on her secluded estate. What started as one afternoon of helping around the property quickly becomes an all-consuming task of assisting Sophia, the chocolatier, in her quest to put on a great chocolate festival.
But as the brother & sister spend more and more time with the candy queen, they start to hear things from the other natives about local girls going missing after her festival & one voice in particular, that of Samuel Reynolds, rings louder than any other. While each sibling goes about finding answers in a different manner, the result is the same. The festival is coming & the local girls need protection. The only question isn't necessarily from whom, but from what.
Jackson Pearce has done it again! The second book in the Sisters Red series does not disappoint at all! This time we're enjoying a reimagining of Hansel & Gretel. The characters are inviting, the twists & turns are quite unexpected & the heart is palpable.
We start off with shy, Skittle-colored hair Gretchen & her big, bad protector brother escaping a life they were dying under. Gretchen, as the main character, is the eyes & ears of the story, but she doesn't seem to miss anything. Every facial expression, every telling movement is noted & examined in her mind. Through her we learn to observe the mundane & extrapolate the truth. Sophia & Samuel present the more "wildcard" elements of this story because we never get their full back story. We can infer Samuel's story from the first book (Sisters Red) but we know nothing of Sophia.
The writing is impeccable with so much feeling & energy expressed without burdening the reader with conversation. Like I said, we learn so much through Gretchen's almost methodical inner-workings that there is little need for extended conversations. Jackson's wit & humor continue to add an amiable quality to her heroes/heroines.
The vibrancy of this story is unparalleled & I am truly thrilled to have gotten a chance to read this latest addition to the series. Although, despite being in a series, this would also serve one well as a stand alone novel. Just a thought for those who might not have enjoyed Sisters Red as much as I did.
Thoughts folks? What do you think of this series take on some of our beloved childhood stories?