Today I’m excited to share my review of Never Let You Go by Katy Regnery! This is a modern-day telling of Hansel & Gretel.
Never Let You Go
a m o d e r n f a i r y t a l e
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Date of Publication: 6.12.15
Number of pages: 450
Word Count: 141,298
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.
Never Let You Go is a modern day re-telling of Hansel and Gretel, which caught my attention from the moment I saw the blurb. I read Katy’s Vixen and the Vet a while ago and loved that take on Beauty and the Beast, so I was looking forward to this fairy tale too! And I must say, she certainly didn’t disappoint!
Griselda and Holden are both foster children living in the same home and while during a day trip they are kidnapped and held in a cellar for years. There is an intense bond between the two of them, love, trust and survival. After years of abuse they plan an escape, but only Griselda manages to escape, Holden wasn’t so lucky.
The story moves forward ten years, where Griselda and Holden are living very different lives, neither knowing if the other is alive. Neither person is thriving, merely surviving. When Gris’s crap-tastic boyfriend takes her to West Virginia on a mini vacation and they go to this underground fight, Griselda comes face to face with Holden again. He’s in the ring fighting. He believes that the man who kidnapped them killed Griselda when she ran away, so seeing her again after all those years reawakens something in him he believed died when she did.
“Even when I thought were gone, you still lived inside my heart.”
There is so much to this story! There is a lot of set-up and we learn a lot about what Gris and Holden experienced as kids and their struggles. Nothing comes easy for either of them, as children or adults. Gris and Holden are two very tortured and broken (at least for a while) souls. If there were ever two characters that deserve a HEA it is these two, but just when it seems like they have a chance they are thrown another challenge.
One of my favorite things about this book was showing just what the power of love can do, the strength it can give someone to persevere and even survive. My heart ached for these two! They both deal with so many insecurities and fears and yet they just refuse to give up. I’m pretty sure Holden has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever come across in a character. He is just absolutely beautiful and I fell for him over and over again.
“I’ll live for you. I’ll never let you go.”
I really enjoyed this story, although it was a little heave in the angst department sometimes. I loved these characters and their abilities to face challenges despite how many times life had knocked them down. Holden and Griselda are a beautiful example of true love.
“…we keep losing each other, but we keep finding each other too, which pretty much means we’re meant to be.”
I received a complimentary copy to review for The Geekery Book Review.
Excerpt from Never Let You Go
This girl. Everything about this girl made him want, made him long, made him yearn to change his life, start his life, finally live his life after a decade of going through the motions. He wanted to get a better job to take care of her. He wanted to stop fighting because she disapproved of it. He wanted enough money to have every tally mark lasered from his arm. He wanted some sort of guarantee that she’d never, ever leave him again. And he wanted all of it now. Yesterday. Ten years ago, and every day since.
Standing up slowly, he let his body settle into an upright position before taking his time crossing the hall to the bathroom and then heading out into the common room.
She stood at the stove with her back to him, her feet bare, her hair in a ponytail, the mouthwatering smell of fried chicken filling the entire cabin with goodness. Holden leaned against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest, a grin taking over his face as he watched her.
“It’s just the thought of you—the very thought of you, my love,” she sang, using a fork to transfer a golden leg to a paper towel–covered plate.
As she reached forward to turn off the stove, some of the leftover grease in the frying pan spat up at her and burned her wrist.
“Ow!” she yelped. “Damn it!”
With a sudden rush of adrenaline, Holden crossed the kitchen in two strides. He turned on the faucet and grabbed her arm to thrust her wrist under the cold stream. He held it there, wincing at the red blotch developing on her white skin. When he lifted his eyes to hers, she was staring at him with a surprised, curious expression.
“It’s just a little burn.”
He shrugged, still holding her arm, staring down at the burn.
“You were asleep,” she said.
“You were singing.”
“You remember that song?”
He slid his palm down her arm to cradle her wrist from below.
“The stove’s still on,” she said.
Without dropping her hand, he took a step closer to her, reached around her waist with his free hand, and flicked the burner off.
“I made fried chicken,” she said softly, her cheeks flushed.
“I can smell it.”
“You like fried chicken. I mean . . . you must have mentioned it to me a hundred times when we were—”
“It’s still my favorite.”
They were both silent for a few seconds, and Holden knew he should drop her hand and step away from her, but he couldn’t. She’d hurt herself doing something kind for him, and it just about shredded his heart.
Just another moment, he told himself. A few more seconds touching her and then I’ll move away.
“Sorry about the singing,” she whispered, unmoving, her breath kissing his throat.
He jerked his neck to face her, his thumb curling into her palm, his eyes searching hers for mercy.
“I loved it,” he murmured.
She stepped forward, closing the distance between them, her lips parting, her breasts grazing his chest through his T-shirt as she stared up at him.
“Holden, I . . .”
Every breath she took seemed to draw him closer to her, as if she was breathing him, not air. He leaned forward, into her, his free hand reaching for hers.
“Griselda . . .”
Her eyes, dark blue and churning, flicked to his lips, lingered there, then slid back up his face and seized his.
His self-control snapped.
After all, he was only human.
About the Author:
Award-winning and Amazon bestselling author Katy Regnery started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract for a winter romance entitled By Proxy.
Now a hybrid author who publishes both independently and traditionally, Katy claims authorship of the six-book Heart of Montana series, the six-book English Brothers series, and a Kindle Worlds novella entitled Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Date. Katy’s short story “The Long Way Home” appears in the first Romance Writers of America anthology, Premiere, and she has published two stand-alone novels, Playing for Love at Deep Haven and the Amazon bestseller The Vixen and the Vet, which is book one in Katy’s a m o d e r n f a i r y t a l e collection. The Vixen and the Vet was nominated for a RITA® Award in 2015.
Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.
Upcoming (2015) Projects:
The Winslow Brothers (Books #1-4)
Ginger’s Heart, a modern fairytale
Connect with Katy:
Katy LOVES connecting with her readers and answers every e-mail, message, tweet, and post personally! Click below to connect with Katy!