- File Size: 240 KB
- Print Length: 55 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: NIM Publishing (July 4, 2013)
- Publication Date: July 4, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00DSOCGSY
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #134,628 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$4.50|
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Gretel: A Fairytale Retold: A Lesbian Romance Kindle Edition
|Length: 55 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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"This quirky but poignant tale flips traditional fairy tale monster narrative into an equality based morality tale with a lesbian twist. And with many relevancies for how things are for LGBT people today sadly. Along the lines of Angela Carter's 'The bloody Chamber'" - Planet of the Books
"This is a well written page turner with twists and turns along the way from an up and coming UK lesbian fiction author. It's a beautiful variation on the timeless fairy tale" - Terry's LesFic Reviews
"This is an exquisite rendering of 'Hansel and Gretel'. It isn't difficult to see the similarities, but the wondrous re-working of that classic fairy tale moves it into a class of its own" - Rainbow Book Review
From the Inside Flap
Gretel caught only glimpses of them.
Taut, spectral bodies, dark shadows, darting in and out of the trees all around them, surrounding them, but even as they closed in, she continued to run.
The ground was frozen hard and each footfall reverberated through her body. Pain seared through her arm and shoulder as Hans pulled her along, twisting this way and that as he navigated between the bare, black trees.
Her body was cold to the bone and her limbs were numb with fatigue and hunger. She was struggling to keep moving, struggling to force her muscles to do what she needed. Hans held her tightly, she knew he'd never let go, never abandon her in the woods, but her speed was nothing compared to his. The only thing that kept her going was the fear of those teeth, those eyes, those demon-like howls, just an arm's reach away.
Suddenly she fell.
Her foot caught on a fallen branch and her body was yanked from beneath her. She let out a scream as she tumbled to the earth.
"Gretel!" Hans turned to pull her up, as a shadow, a shadow with teeth and claws, leapt from the trees.
Hans howled with pain as the wolf tore into his leg. Gretel screamed: she could do nothing but watch. He kicked the beast away, but it turned to pounce again, the rest of its pack ready to follow and make the kill.
But there was a sudden, heavy thud. The wolf yelped and twisted its body as it fell to the ground, an axe buried deep in its neck.
Gretel stared at it. The rest of the wolf pack looked to the woods, backing away. They were wary, but still eager to claim their prize.
Gretel turned, searching the dark, dense forest for the axe thrower. She gasped when she saw, just a few paces away, a woman.
She was tall, imposing, draped in furs, with dark hair and darker eyes. She was a wild woman, staring down at the wolves as if she were their queen.
Gretel had never seen anyone like her, except in nightmares, dreams brought about by horrid tales of the beasts lurking in the woods: banshees, witches, fey. All the dark creatures that lurked in the forest, the creatures that were known to steal people away, to imprison them, enslave them, or worse.
In that instant, Gretel didn't know which to be more fearful of, the wolves or the woman.
Suddenly the woman snarled and made to run at the wolves, ending the stand-off as the pack turned and disappeared into the forest. Gretel felt the urge to run with them.
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One note and one complaint. The story is shorter than you'd think based on the page count. About half the book is taken up by a sample chapter from one of the author's novels, and other back matter. I had a moment of surprise when I hit "THE END" when I thought I still had roughly half the story ahead of me. Not a biggie, and it's certainly reasonable that the author would use a free short story to expose readers to one of her novels; it was just a surprise.
My one real complaint is that the author has a real problem with comma splices. There are multiple offenses in each chapter, and sometimes on each page. If you're a stickler for grammar, this is going to annoy you a bit. The funny thing is that while "Gretel" was littered with comma splices, the sample chapter that's included in this book seemed to be perfectly written and punctuated, without a single comma splice. Maybe the sample chapter had an editor, but "Gretel" didn't.
So: Fun short story, if the comma splices don't bug you too much.
I get such a tale from Niamh Murphy in her retelling of "Gretel: A Fairytale Retold". In this tale we have an older version of Hansel and Gretel. Here they are in the foods, hungry and chased by wolves.
That is till the Witch shows up to scare way the wolves and take Hans and Gretel back to her home.
The tropes are all here. She fattens them up, she lives alone. But that is where the similarities end.
The "witch", Maeve, lives alone because she dared to love someone her village did not approve of.
While Hans does not trust her, Gretel is taken with her charm, her intelect, and her independent nature. Maeve knows the secrets of the forest and in her own words she was not exiled but set free.
Maeve is easy to like.
I thought the relationship between Maeve and Gretel felt natural. Afterall, Gretel knew she was missing something, she just didn't know it was this.
I was disappointed, but not surprised, in Hans' reaction. I had hoped for more, but it does set up the final act.
The story is a quick read, but a lot of fun and you can grab it for free from her website. I lament that the story was too short, to be honest, but it is a fairy tale retold, so it can't be too long.
Of course, there is a happily ever after, it's a fairytale still. OR as we used to say to my kids when reading fairytales to them "they all went home and had tea."
She has other stories too, I just grabbed one that is longer.
The romance aspect felt a little rushed, and I'm still unsure my they got it on in the middle of the woods that has hungry wolves, but the part that stops me from giving it all five stars is how quickly Hans' leg heals. I would've liked for them to have spent at least another day in that cottage.
Only, in this case, Hansel and Gretel are quite grown and Gretel ends up in an f/f romance with the stranger in the woods. I liked it well enough but the f/f romance aspect was on a super fast track into insta-love-ville and the short story still seemed too short.
It's a free read and a decent intro to Niamh Murphy. I'm curious enough to check out her other reads.
Top international reviews
This is the first (I think) Hansel and Gretel retelling I've read. In this version, the children are now adults and there's no gingerbread house. This gives Murphy a great chance to explore why the siblings are wandering through the woods and why this strange woman lives out there all alone. Gretel takes a powerful look at prejudice, homophobia and paranoia.
I really enjoyed Gretel, both the clever twist on the story -- still easily recognisable, but also new and fresh -- and Murphy's prose. I would perhaps have liked it to be a little longer. I loved Hans growing suspicions about Maeve and the way it seemed to descend into paranoia. And I loved that you couldn't really be sure for the longest time if he was actually in the right (and Gretel was under a spell) or not.
I think this would have been even better if it was given a little longer to play out, for his distrust of Maeve to build gradually, really making the reader wonder what's going on. And it would give the romance a little more time to develop, which would have been a nice bonus.
A really nice introduction to Murphy's writing. I'll definitely be picking up more from this author.
The book was mostly enjoyable, but i had hoped for higher from this author having read a previous novel of hers.
After finishing the book, there were a few things that seemed pointless in retrospect. The relationship between the siblings was very under developed, and it was almost impossible to believe that their background relationship was true, given their behaviour and communication in the book. Infact the brother was a one dimensional villian, that i longed to see much more sympathy from. There was a little twist at the end, but i think that i may have mentally embellished it so make the ending more interesting and the brother more sympathetic.
Of course, the characters aren't fleshed out properly but that's hardly something you can expect with a short novel like this. It didn't even bother me either since their characteristics were made very clear from the start and that helped.
The built-up towards the romantic / sexual scene was done very nicely. Gretel might be described as fast-paced, but I still felt like it wasn't over-the-top fast. A pleasure to read, really!