Read Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville Online


A captivating and atmospheric historical novel about a young girl in Nazi Germany, a psychoanalyst in fin-de-siècle Vienna, and the powerful mystery that links them together.Gretel and the Dark explores good and evil, hope and despair, showing how the primal thrills and horrors of the stories we learn as children can illuminate the darkest moments in history, in two rich,A captivating and atmospheric historical novel about a young girl in Nazi Germany, a psychoanalyst in fin-de-siècle Vienna, and the powerful mystery that links them together.Gretel and the Dark explores good and evil, hope and despair, showing how the primal thrills and horrors of the stories we learn as children can illuminate the darkest moments in history, in two rich, intertwining narratives that come together to form one exhilarating, page-turning read. In 1899 Vienna, celebrated psychoanalyst Josef Breuer is about to encounter his strangest case yet: a mysterious, beautiful woman who claims to have no name, no feelings—to be, in fact, a machine. Intrigued, he tries to fathom the roots of her disturbance. Years later, in Nazi-controlled Germany, Krysta plays alone while her papa works in the menacingly strange infirmary next door. Young, innocent, and fiercely stubborn, she retreats into a world of fairy tales, unable to see the danger closing in around her. When everything changes and the real world becomes as frightening as any of her stories, Krysta finds that her imagination holds powers beyond what she could ever have guessed. Rich, compelling, and propulsively building to a dizzying final twist, Gretel and the Dark is a testament to the lifesaving power of the imagination and a mesmerizingly original story of redemption....

Title : Gretel and the Dark
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781594632556
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Gretel and the Dark Reviews

  • karen
    2019-03-04 15:26

    wow, this was a gorgeous, dark, unsettling marvel of a book. and like jaye davidson in the crying game, it's got a little secret to it, so i'm going to dance around that part of it in this review. but know that, yes, there is a twist, but it is not the kind of book whose appeal lies solely in this twist. this novel stands on its own merit, and the little "aha!" moment at the end just enhances what is already a stunner of a book. this is not the first book i have read in which fairy tales are used to offset the horrors of WWII. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel also used this conceit very well, but this book is a much more ambitious exploration of the idea. there are three storylines here. the brief tease that opens the book follows two fearful and bruised children and the shadow they carry between them as they escape from an unknown foe through an enchanted forest, while the girl tells remembered fairytales and plots revenge upon the one responsible for their situation. it ends with a threat and a promise.the second story takes place in vienna in 1899, and features the psychoanalyst josef breuer and a mysterious woman he calls "lilie." she was found all alone, nude and bruised, with a shaved head and tattoos on one arm, and insists that she is not a woman at all, but a machine. breuer is captivated by her beauty, and sets her up in his home until her identity can be established, over the huffy protestations of his maid gudrun. while she is under his care, black-and-white butterflies infest his home, and lilie's strange behavior manages to infatuate both breuer and his servant benjamin, while outside of his walls, the city simmers with violence and anti-semitic sentiment.the third story takes place years later, in germany, and stars one of the most beastly little girls ever to grace a page. she is a spoiled creature, the daughter of a doctor who works with "animal people" in a "zoo" and her favorite word is "won't." her mother is dead, and her only companion is greet, her changeable servant, who fills her head with fairy tales, which get darker and more violent depending on her mood and krysta's behavior. krysta's understanding of the world around her becomes infected with these fantasy elements, and her impulsive and destructive behavior leads her into dangerous circumstances, which she continues to interpret through a veil of make-believe. these three disparate narratives will converge in a most satisfying way, but even if they hadn't - if the "aha!" hadn't been successful - it would still have been worth reading for krysta's storyline alone. the arc her character experiences is incredibly effective and well-written, and the fairytales themselves are stories within stories within stories in that way i love. there is so much to talk about here, but six months away from pub date, i don't want to do more than just offer a glimpse into what's coming. definitely check this one out, because - wow.

  • Georgia ♥ Team Dex ♥
    2019-03-23 08:30

    Just StarsFirst I was an idea. Then I came into being, charged with a very important task. I've come to find the monster.There are stories that I enjoyed. There are stories that I fell in love with. And then there are stories that will haunt me forever. This is such a story.In Vienna in 1899, a time of turmoil and fear, a young woman is found naked, beaten and with no memory. She is brought for treatment to the renowned psychoanalyst Josef Breuer, because she makes an unusual claim. That she was made into being to find and kill the monster.Years later in Germany, we meet Krysta, a young orphaned girl that watches her Papa treating "animal people", when her life suddenly changes into a living nightmare and she seems to hold some strange power over it...These two narrations, along with a breathtaking prologue, strangely overlap to create an amazing book about human nature, evil and our history's vilest moments. A known story, a tragedy from a fantasy POV, utterly frightening and weirdly fascinating. I had to stop frequently while I read this book. Not because I was bored. Simply because my mind couldn't comprehend the injustice and the darkness that exists inside a human soul. Dark, ugly, beautiful and ethereal, innocent and painful only as a true fairytale can be, this was an extraordinaire book that made me loathe and celebrate man. Capable of greatness and madness. And the thin line between them.

  • Blair
    2019-03-13 15:37

    Gretel and the Dark is a very hard book to review. Perhaps even impossible, because the entirety of the review I was going to write was wiped out when I came to the ending, which turned most of what I thought this story was completely upside down. As a result, I can't write, for example, about some of the reservations I had about the characterisation, because those reservations are invalidated by the ending; but if I explain how then I will ruin the final twist, which is crucial to enjoying the book, and is difficult (again, maybe even impossible) to guess.I suppose it's pretty safe for me to explain what is covered in the blurb. Setting the tone for the rest of the narrative, the novel opens with a fairytale-like prologue in which two children run through a forest, dragging a 'Shadow' with them, escaping an unnamed monster, and telling each other stories. What seems to be the real story then begins, with Josef Breuer - a renowned psychoanalyst and contemporary of Freud - encountering a very unusual patient: a young woman who the modern reader can instantly recognise as an escapee from a WWII concentration camp. However, this section of the book takes place in Vienna in 1899, and the girl, named Lilie by Breuer, claims she is not even human, but instead a machine. The chapters following the mystery of Lilie, as Josef and his servant Benjamin compete to establish her real identity, are punctuated by chapters set some years later. Here, a badly behaved little girl called Krysta moves to a new town with her widowed father, a doctor. While he works in what she thinks is a hospital, Krysta does her best to upset and reject all his staff and suitors, but she doesn't realise her actions are leading her towards a terrible fate, one exacerbated when she becomes friends with one of the 'animal-people' who live in the 'hospital', a boy called Daniel.After that, it all becomes difficult to talk about without spoiling everything. Seriously, don't read anything beneath the spoiler cut unless you a) have already read the book or b) have no plans to read it ever.(view spoiler)[I really thought this was going to be a time-travel story, that somehow Krysta would find a portal to the past. Instead, it turns out that the Lilie narrative is a story she tells Daniel as they flee from the camp, which is related repeatedly throughout their lives, as they marry after their escape. That sounds feeble written down, a bit too 'it was all a dream', but on the page, it works: it's a true surprise. It also meant that most of the issues I had with the characters and plot - for example, that I found Josef and Benjamin's obsessive desire for Lilie ridiculous and over-the-top; that none of the characters were likeable, and even Lilie, the 'victim', was immature and annoying (in fact, I sympathised with the bad-tempered, envious housekeeper the most!); that it was impossible to believe Lilie would be considered so beautiful when she was quite literally a starving refugee from a concentration camp - were instantly rendered invalid.I guess if I still had a criticism to make after knowing the twist, it would be that Krysta's story is perhaps too intricate and odd to be plausible as a story told by a child. As a counter-argument to that, I'm guessing the version related here is supposed to be an embellished version from later in her life, especially given that the emotional and sexual aspects are very adult in nature. On a related note, I found it limiting that I never knew how old Krysta was supposed to be - I saw her and Daniel as little children, and couldn't reconcile this with the adult Lilie in the other story. I'm also unsure I believe Krysta and Daniel would keep telling this story rather than the true tale of how they met and escaped the camp, but as I enjoyed the book that's something I'm prepared to overlook. (hide spoiler)]I really admired the complexity of the characterisation - this would be the easiest story in the world to fill with clear-cut Good and Bad characters, but even the 'good guys' here are very obviously imperfect and sometimes corrupt. Krysta is a far from flawless heroine - even after terrible things happen to her she still behaves horribly and petulantly towards others, for example (view spoiler)[reacting with jealousy and viciousness when Daniel makes a new friend in the camp; and it's telling that in her own story, she makes herself an impossibly beautiful woman yet still acts like a selfish child (hide spoiler)] - and, in the Lilie narrative, Josef is a self-obsessed, arrogant misogynist, while Benjamin is a bit of a bumbling fool. I often found the characters hard to like, but the realistic nature of these portrayals acted as a good foil for the fairytale-inspired, dreamlike elements of the story.Gretel and the Dark is the most surprising and moving WWII novel since The Book Thief, and I think a lot of readers are going to love it - even if it is a bit of a mindfuck (in a good way). It's the perfect balance of heartbreaking humanity with elements of apparent fantasy and the power of the imagination. A unique and very memorable read.

  • Lotte
    2019-03-19 12:41

    Didn't really care for this book to be honest. Didn't hate it, didn't love it. I'm still excited to talk about it with my book club though, because the story leaves lots of room for discussions and interpretations.

  • Dem
    2019-02-25 13:53

    Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville is a wonderful atmospheric and haunting novel which is written in two linked narratives. I love this type of story as it is imaginative and edgy and a real page turner.Set in Vienna in 1899 Joseph Breuer is a Pyschoanalyst and has a new case on his hands when a young woman is found in the streets with shaven head, starved and naked, unable to establish her origins and with very little communication aprart from her insitance that she is a machine with no feelings. Joseph sets out on finding out the truth about this girl and names her Lilie.In another time and another place a child by the name of Krysta, whos father is working in the infirmary with the "animal people" spends her days listening to the gruesone fairytales of kitchenworker Greet until suddenly her life changes and she is faced with gruesome tales of her own.I really enjoyed this dark and haunting novel. I loved the vivid settings of this historical story and found myself totally drawn into the novel. It did take me a couple of chapters to settle into the book and to get a grasp on the characters but when I did I was both moved and delighted with the imaginative and unique storytelling of Eliza Granville.The characters are so well written and you really do get a wonderful sense of time and place and also a sense of fear that runs through the story right to the end. Quote from Gretel and the Dark Books; I repeat, for they've not only been a solace during the long years but also provided the keys to understanding other people's ideas and achievements, their hopes and fears, quirks and foibles, their dreams.....their demons"The story is both moving and disturbing and I found the fairy tales told within the story to be well excuted as well as vivid and eerie.This is a very powerful and memorable novel and the stroy is told in beautiful prose.I think readers who enjoyed books like the The Snow Child will really enjoy this dark tale. My thanks to Penguin Books for an Advance Reading Copy of this novel in return for an honest unbiased review.

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-03-16 12:43

    Dark is in the title and dark is this story. The power of story telling, the holocaust and all its atrocities and a young girl caught up in its web. Such a different way of telling this story, like fairy tales so much of it is veiled, not spelled out but just hinted at. So hard to describe, almost like a tale within a tale. Two different time lines but the circumstances are so different in both so one is not easily confused. All the fairy tales in the book are so fitting and they are the dark tales of old not the clean sanitized Disney tales.Very different, but a powerful look at the horrors of the holocaust and beyond and before.

  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    2019-03-23 11:50

    I try doing what I’ve always done – escape into that secret part of me where by magic or heroism I make things turn out differently, leaving behind an automaton, a machine with no feelings whatsoever – but today I can’t. A door has closed. The ideas have gone. The words aren’t there. Perhaps this is what happens when you invent stories inside stories that are themselves inside a fairy tale: they become horribly real.This book is about the power of storytelling. And more importantly, this book is about how stories can pull us out of the darkness and back into the light. Gretel and the Dark was marketed to me as having a stunning twist, but honestly, the twist isn't what I liked about this book. I liked this book more for the characters and for the intrigue than for the actual twist. This book is also about prejudice, and more specifically, it's about the holocaust. Part of what appealed to me about this book was the interesting new take on portraying the horrors of the holocaust. The book is genuinely horrifying - you feel as if you're in the head of our main character.I'm still a bit conflicted about the audiobook version of this. The audiobook was both the best and worst part of this book. The female narrator's voice was incredibly eerie and creepy!! Perfect for this story. Unfortunately, I also found the two narrators hard to focus on. The audio was fantastic, but unfortunately, given how confusing the story is, I found the actual book hard to follow.This may be the shortest review I've written in the last bit of my reviewing career, but I haven't really figured out how I feel about this. Perhaps I'll write more of this later.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-20 14:45

    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  • Bill
    2019-03-06 12:42

    I cannot begin to articulate how much I LOVED this book. What a TERRIFIC read! Dark and mysterious, hauntingly familiar but unnervingly eerie and seductive, the historical fiction was scrumptious, the writing hypnotic and by story’s end I couldn’t get enough of Krysta and Daniel, Lilie and Benjamin, Josef and Greet. It’s impossible for me to share much about the plot without spoiling the read for you but I can share it was the most unique and heartfelt treatment of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust I have ever read in my lifetime so far.“After all, why should I be punished for obeying orders? We all knew what happened to anyone who objected. Everything I’ve done, I was forced to do. No good telling them it had scientific purpose,” said the witch. “She’s after Daniel’s memories so she can invent a wicked story of her own,” thought Krysta. Was the witch a fairy tale character?Brothers Grimm fairy tales, especially Hansel and Gretel and The Pied Piper, are strategically and skillfully woven into the fabric of this story. There are ogres and bean stalks, witches and ovens, dark woods and candy houses. At times the story felt supernatural and mystic, just like a fairy tale, but painfully real at the same time. This story is a fairy tale woven into a fairy tale folded into a fairy tale…so dark and menacing but agonizingly satisfying. I couldn’t stop turning the pages! The word “enchanting” keeps popping into my head!“I try doing what I’ve always done – escape into that secret part of me where by magic or heroism I make things turn out differently, leaving behind an automaton, a machine with no feelings whatsoever – but today I can’t. A door has closed. The ideas have gone. The words aren’t there. Perhaps this is what happens when you invent stories inside stories that are themselves inside a fairy tale: they become horribly real.”The last chapter of just forty-one pages ties the whole story together and I wept like a child as I slowly made my way through those final pages and put everything together. Oh my I could not stop crying! The reaction was so profound I took the dry eye test – the next day I re-read the closing chapter to see if I could replicate the reaction – the flood gates opened once again. My emotions flowed from my eyes onto the pages!Read just the last chapter and you won’t get it. Read up to the last chapter and stop and you won’t get it. The last chapter is the big finale, the culminating revelation that binds this remarkable story together.Just when I thought I’ve heard every version and interpretation of the horrors of Nazi genocide, along comes Gretel and the Dark! I loved this book. Perhaps you will too.

  • Liz Barnsley
    2019-03-19 15:47

    **3.5 stars rounded up to 4 for writing genius**So here we are, I’m finally getting some words down about this one – it has kind of had me in a dither because whilst I LOVED the writing, dark and delicious – with an intriguing story and some wonderful prose – I found that I was vaguely disappointed with it. Doesnt make much sense I know, but this is INCREDIBLY difficult because anything I can say that would explain would spoil the heart of the novel for the next reader – and I do not want to do that. Because despite my personal feelings towards it, I fully appreciate the talent behind this.We have two strands to the tale, the story of Josef Breuer and his search for answers about a beautiful young girl who comes under his care and the story of Krysta, a somewhat lonely child, living a few years later. It kept me involved, deep into one half then the other, this was a dark and often terrifying story obviously inspired by the brothers Grimm and all things fairytale. The often poetic prose is terrific and there was a lot here that I loved.The author has created something special, there is no doubt about that – and its purely my own head that wishes it had been something other than it is – so I would encourage anyone who likes the sound of this one to give it a go. Some tough subjects are tackled in a unique way and for that reason alone it will be worth your time and effort.Happy Reading Folks!

  • Tania
    2019-03-21 13:37

    Firstly, I would like to mention that I listened to the audio and it was an amazing experience. Cassandra Campbell did a phenomenal job, and I was entranced throughout the story. For me this was a book about the power of stories. There are two main stories lines but within these are many backflashes and many fairytales shared with us. It is one of the darkest books I've read in a long time - I think almost all the evil men can do is showcased. Although I liked the ending, and I understand the need for the balance between the two stories, I definitely preferred the hauntingly beautiful writing in Krysta's section. I can't wait to read more by this author.

  • Teresa Cantrell
    2019-02-28 14:30

    Wow. Just. Wow! I really liked this but I can see how it would not be everyone's cup of tea. It's not easy to follow but it all comes together in the end. Thought provoking and worth reading.

  • Max Nemtsov
    2019-03-02 15:36

    Книжка для людей. Простые люди, не знатоки, не идеальные читатели (тм) станут ее читать и ужасаться, увлекаться, а то и всплакнут наверняка. Смеяться будут вряд ли, потому что смешного в ней нет ничего, - она, среди прочего, о том, как нам наконец избыть боль и справиться с генетической памятью о Второй мировой. Казалось бы, сколько можно уже, да, но вот Элайза Грэнвилл нашла другой подход, неожиданный и вполне удивительный. Сравнивать ее с "Мальчиком в полосатой пижаме" или "Книжным вором" тоже не стоит - она все-таки немного о другом и иначе, хотя - попомните мое слово - сравнивать будут, с треском пустословия и под фанфары глубокомысленности. Выглядеть такие сравниватели будут, конечно, преглупо - а чего с "Горячим снегом" не сравнить или "Августом 44-го"? Тоже о войне, чо. Больше всего это похоже, мне кажется, на "Город воров" Бенёффа и "Мандолину капитана Корелли" Луи де Берньера, но этого вряд ли кто заметит. А Грэнвилл водит читателя за нос практически до самого конца, подбрасывая новые повороты вроде бы незамысловатого сказочного сюжета, счищая все новые и новые слои повествования. Как, в самом деле, избывать боль, которая "надоела миру"? Только рассказывая сказки. Вот увидите - вы сами не успеете сообразить, как очень удивитесь, читая эту книжку. И не раз.

  • Sonja Arlow
    2019-03-08 08:26

    3 1/2 starsDr. Josef Breuer, in 1899 Vienna, a much-celebrated psychoanalyst is brought a new patient. A young beautiful woman, found naked and beaten. She has no memory of who she is but instead claims to be a machine. Many years later, in Nazi Germany, a young girl named Krysta plays alone while her father works in an infirmary next to her home. Krysta is a spoiled little brat but also completely neglected by her father and the other adults in her life. She is still young enough to firmly believe in fairytales and we see her observations of the world through this filter. The chapters are interwoven with time changes and with dark fairy stories and the only criticism I have is that sometimes these time jumps happened without warning. Literally from one paragraph to the next, making the reading slightly jarring at times.This book is hard to review, not because of the big plot twist, but because I disliked the majority of the characters. They were unlikable, selfish or even just plain destructive so I can’t say that I actually enjoyed the reading experience but it was unquestionably unique.If WW2 books and dark fairytales are your thing then you have to read this.

  • Kells Next Read
    2019-02-24 15:27

    Gothic, Erry, Raw and beautifully penned. One of my best reads this year. This one is going to stay with me for a long long time.

  • Yasmin ✨
    2019-03-13 14:50

    This was definitely a good book, but at the same time, it wasn't. There was way too little action in this book. The first 250 pages said pretty much the same thing over and over again. It was interesting to read, though, and I also enjoyed it. But it wasn't great. Then after 280 pages I started to see the connections between the two stories, but it still didn't captivate me. ''Oh, okay. That was strange.'' was basically eveything I thought while reading this book. It didn't make me feel any kind of emotions to be honest.Something I'm also a bit sad about is that I had guessed the plot twist correctly. At the beginning of the book I already thought 'Oh I bet that at the end of the story this and this turn out to be this and this.' and I was right. Of course I had not guessed all things, but I'm still guite disappointed about the plot twist. Especially because I don't really agree with how it was written (same goes for the characters).This was a lot like my Deathless reading experience. The whole story made too little sense for me, it didn't make me feel any emotions and everything was just a bit nah. But unlike with Deathless, I did enjoy Gretel and the Dark.

  • Amanda - Go Book Yourself
    2019-03-09 12:43

    A review copy was provided by Penguin in return for an honest review I was going to wait a couple of days before writing this review but I decided to just go ahead and do it. Thinking about it won't make it any easier.This book was incredible. One of the best I've read in a long time...and I don't say that lightly. I only had 3 five star reads last year. This is my first of this year. I was putting this review off because it's extremely hard to talk about this book without spoiling it and spoiling this book, would be a crime against humanity. I know this will lead to me rambling on or just repeating the blurb in some form or other.You can find the blurb on Goodreads so I'm not going to do that. What I will say is that this book hits the reader with one of those rare "What the actual fuck!" moments that makes you want to go back to the start and read the entire book again. I might just actually do that.The ending throws the entire story into disarray. It will change every opinion you previously held about the story and the characters within. I have seen it shelved as YA fiction but I'm not sure I agree with that label. Yes the blurb is sort of young adult-ish but the writing itself is extremely sophisticated. The story is complex and requires a little more involvement that your usual young adult read. It's almost like a darker, more threatening version of The Boy in the Stripped Pyjama's. Adult readers who are into YA will certainly love it.I cannot wait and to see the reactions when this book hits the masses. It's certainly deserves every scrap of attention it's going to get. I don't know what else to say other than please add this book to goodreads and make sure you read it. Then come back and message me so Ill have someone obsess over it with!Eliza Granville is definitely going to be an author to watch closely. I eagerly wait to see what she comes up with next.

  • Kenya (ReviewsMayVary)
    2019-03-22 10:36

    I liked this book a lot for the majority of it and then was a little disappointed by how the two different story lines came together... but as I'm thinking about it, I might like it more... this is a weird one. Worth the brain power.

  • Juliet-Camille
    2019-03-04 07:30

     Okay, if I were grading the last 80% of this novel, I would give it a well deserved 4 stars, but I can't do that, and my rating needs to reflect the novel as a whole. Frankly, the first half of this book was trash; confusing, frustrating, and held together by two narrators who were equal parts unreliable and arguably insane. I've noticed a growing trend with writers where they deliberately withhold information for the sake of being poetic or dramatic, or tell a story backwards to "keep the reader guessing," but it just doesn't work. I can have my footing on a novel and still be dazzled with surprise and meaning. As a reader, I shouldn't have to be wandering in the dark until the end when I'm allowed that moment of clarity when everything else becomes clear.I don't know, honestly, part of me hates this book, and the other half really liked the end, when I just wanted to enjoy a good dark book.(view spoiler)[The section exploring Josef Breuer's discovery and attempted seduction of Lillie was the clearest part at the beginning of the novel. I enjoyed Lillie's strange caterwauling about being a machine, and how she felt nothing, yet butterflies, and seemingly all things around her flocked to her outputting of "life." Yet, I was left asking too many questions: since when are servants (in the case of Godrun) allowed to talk to their masters that way? Why was Lillie brought to the house? Why didn't Breuer have more consciousness and reservations about fantasizing and seducing his patient? Breuer's narration, like Krysta's, lacks any foundation to root in its own atmosphere. The narration never stopped to explore anything outside of the collective consciousness of either Breuer or Kysta. I understand that much of this was fantastical, and drawn from a child's imagination, but something should have been done to make this more interesting or dynamic or mysterious. Plus it goes into frequent detail about Lillie's breasts and her body, and how Josef longs to wake up with her, so Krysta would have been aware of other areas of adulthood.And there wasn't even an assassination attempt on Hitler!!! Lillie just evaporates!!See, this is why the story needed to be more grounded before getting to the very end. I honestly can't remember what clues were given to me in the beginning because the whole damn thing was so confusing.I hated Krysta's section up until she and Daniel made it to the field of bean stocks. I ABSOLUTELY HAD NO IDEA WHAT WAS GOING ON. And that it beyond frustrating. One minute she's in the kitchen, and the next she's in the pens with the "animal people," and she's calling her potential molester "uncle Robin," yet there's no relation at all.It only became clear in the end that Krysta was creating Lillie and Josef as she and Daniel made their escape from the concentration camp, as a way to cope with everything that had happened to them.I liked the appearance of "the witch" (really one of the angels of death) but I didn't get how Krysta, who had up until this point been certifiably insane suddenly became rational and everything clicked into place.The whole thing just didn't work for me. I see what the author was trying to do, but it didn't effect me. I would have loved this story had out not been so damn confusing.  (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Albert
    2019-03-18 07:25

    Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville is a difficult book to review. Yes I know, it seems to be what every reviewer is saying about this novel but its true. To review this book, to say anything in detail about it, is to give away the plot twists that make this book as powerful a novel that it is. But I will try to validate the positive review I believe this fantasy, drama deserves. Without telling you too much about it."..'Very well Lilie. Continue. What profession did you father follow?' 'Father?' The slightest of frowns creased her forehead and her voice became that of one reciting a learned text. 'He collected bones from charnel-houses, and disturbed, with profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame.' Josef blinked and leaned forward, suddenly excited. 'Ah , a quote from Mary Shelley-you allude to Frankenstein.' He hesitated. They were approaching quagmire ground. Dead mother, unnatural father-the very situation warned against in old fairy stories. It was, moreover, Sigmund's territory. 'So this is the monster, then? Your father?' For a fraction of a second, Lilie lifted her eyes to his. 'Frankenstein wasn't a monster. He was the maker of monsters..."Dr. Josef Breuer, in 1899 Vienna, a much celebrated psychoanalyst is brought a new patient. A young beautiful woman, found naked and beaten. She has no memory of who she is. She instead claims to be a machine. He calls her Lilie.Many years later, in Nazi Germany, a young girl named Krysta plays alone while her father works in an infirmary next to her home. Krysta is a spoiled child, whose mother is dead, and often drifts off into a world of fairy tales. A world of make believe that becomes more real than her own.The two, Lilie and Krysta, hold onto a world of imagination and stories that they wrap around themselves to keep the reality of the world they are living in away. But as their worlds are invaded by the outside world, their strength is tested."...I try doing what I've always done-escape into that secret part of me where by magic or heroism I make things turn out differently, leaving behind an automation, a machine with no feelings whatsoever-but today I can't. A door has closed. The ideas have gone. The words aren't there. Perhaps this is what happens when you invent stories inside stories that are themselves inside a fairy tale: they become horribly real..."Gretel and the Dark, is in its essence a story of survival. A tale of the power of the mind to override whatever the body is suffering. To take the powerless to a place where they have some power. To a place they do not feel anymore. This is where Lilie and Krysta find themselves. This is where they feel they must be to survive.Gretel and the Dark is a fairy tale but it is not. It is a psychological thriller, but then it is not. It is all of these and none. It is very much a good read.

  • Alberto
    2019-03-04 13:51

    It was a little hard for me to read because of the rich vocabulary, but once I got used to going to the dictionary a little more frequently than usual, the effort proved worthy: I entered two different worlds. In one of them you have precise descriptions, defined characters, a clear plot. While reading you feel you could be there. In the other one everything is more imprecise, there’s also a story but it’s frequently interrupted by (or complemented with) grim fairy tales, and as it’s narrated from a girl’s point of view, the reader has to guess and reconstruct the true plot. Paradoxically, the story that explicitly spins threads of fantastic elements inside its framework is the first one.Telling more about both plots would lead to spoilers so I won’t go on with it, but I want to remark that when I was about to feel disappointed by the conclusion of one of them I found its integration with the other was a really elegant and nice turn. So I found the end of the book an excellent culmination to a very well written story. In my opinión, a great novel.

  • Theresa
    2019-02-23 12:33

    I honestly can't tell you how much I loved this.I wish it were one of those books you can review unreservedly, rave about it and tick the reasons off a long list why everyone should go and read it this instant.The reason I can't do that is because I don't want to ruin this experience for anyone else.It is a dark book. It is a powerful book. It is a book full of plot twists and surprises and horrible people. Full of history and fairy tales and a mix of both at the same time.Just go and read it.“Books; I repeat, for they've not only been a solace during the long years but also provided the keys to understanding other people's ideas and achievements, their hopes and fears, quirks and foibles, their dreams.....their demons”

  • Donna
    2019-03-21 15:42

    This is one of those books where my expectations didn't match up to the, I was disappointed. My biggest problem was with the characters. There wasn't one that I liked, that I could relate to, that I understood, that I had sympathy for, that I could root for or that I could care about in the least. I need at least one of those things. There was also a lot of repetition regarding character traits. I was a little bored by this. I will say that the narration of the audiobook was excellent. I loved Stefan Rudnicki and Cassandra Campbell. They are true professionals. So 2 stars.

  • Louise
    2019-03-23 07:28

    WOW what a fantastic story had me gripped from the first page .. A book thats very hard to put down .. Narrated from a girls point you are taken into two worlds both very different from each other i wont go into depth as it would lead to spoilers ... Fairytales have never been so different such a fantastic must read :)And who would have thought a fairytale could be such a life saverI recieved this book for free through goodreads first reads

  • Dorian de Jandreau
    2019-02-25 14:26

    Keista knyga nuo pačios pradžios, bet tik paskutiniame skyriuje viskas susidėlioja į vietas ir išaiškėja. Tai tarsi "istorija istorijoje"... labai liūdna ir skaudi istorija apie nacių koncentracijos lagerį ir tuometinę atmosferą. Neduodu 5 žvaigždučių vien dėl to, kad mane įžeidė keletas dalykų be kurių buvo galima apsieiti... Taip, žmonės tais laikais taip mąstė, taip galvojo, bet... vis vien tai užbėrė druskos ant jautrios vietos.... Skaitydamas tas kelias vietas bematant įsivaizdavau save tų veikėjų vietoje ir pasidarė taip nejauku, kad privalėjau padėti knygą į šoną ir apvalyti mintis: "tai tik knyga... tavęs ten nėra..." Ir apskritai tariant: mane šita knyga per daug palietė asmeniškai.. Kristos gyvenimas iki koncentracijos stovyklos per daug turi panašumų į mane ir mano gyvenimą, o tai kėlė man nemalonius jausmus. Kas itin patiko: buvo daug vokiškų žodžių ir frazių- mokantis vokiečių kalbą tai papildomas džiaugsmas. Taip pat itin patiko tai, kad knygoje tikros istorinės asmenybės susipynė į istoriją. Visi vietovių ir žmonių aprašymai ganėtinai vaizdingi. Buvo nemažai ir keiksmažodžių ir blevyzgų, nemažai seksualinio konteksto- o tai mano mėgstamiausi dalykai.

  • alexa
    2019-03-01 15:37

    exquisitely written, brilliantly conceived, and just godawfully harrowing, gretel and the dark is a marvel of a book. it follows two storylines: a doctor named josef breuer in 1899 vienna, and a young girl (and huge brat) named krysta in wwii germany, whose father works at a “zoo." josef breuer finds himself enchanted by a strange, nameless girl who claims she is a machine; krysta finds herself enchanted by fairy tales that comfort, delight, and warn her in equal turns as she faces terrible horrors and dangers. krysta’s sections are just so well-written; you see everything from her point of view, which makes the horrors all the more horrible, because as a child, she doesn’t understand them, or she filters them through her fairy's not for the faint of heart. but i am so, so, so passionate about this book. it's incredibly meaningful, and it had the power to both awe and frighten me. gretel and the dark is about the power of storytelling, and the beauty of it, and it's so heartbreakingly lovely and grotesque that it's impossible to put down.

  • Megan (YABookers)
    2019-03-16 13:45

    I received this free from the publisher via NetGalley"'I don't want to be beautiful. Now I'm just a machine.' Nobody can hurt a machine"Brilliant.Now I am going to have to try and summarise the book. Ok, so it's Vienna, 1899. There is a psychoanalyst by the name Josef Breuer. He has just encountered the strangest case he ever had. A girl, bruised and battered, is found. She claims she is just a machine, with no name and no feelings. She has one sole purpose - to find and kill the monster. Then there is Krysta, born years later in Germany. She is a child who is a real rascal. She really is a handful for anyone who tries to tame her. Krysta's Papa works with the 'animal people' in the infirmary. Krysta has a large imagination and is often lost in the world of stories, such as Hansel and Gretel, the Pied Piper and many more. One day her life is turned upside down and she is thrust into the real world with the 'animal people'. She then realised just how much power her imagination and her stories actually have. As many others have said when reviewing Gretel and the Dark - it is very hard to review. This is purely due to the fact that I really don't want to give away any of the story. One slip of the tongue (or should I say keyboard) will give away the plot twist at the end that wraps this story up and ties it with a nice little bow. There were many times I was left thinking, Who? Where? When? and more importantly, What? I believed these two stories were completely separate, but the further you are dragged into the story the more you see how much is connected. They are years apart yet there in a familiarity in them. Eliza Granville has elaborately interwoven these two stories very nicely, with subtle hints and clues dropped about here and there, yet you don't understand the significance of these irrelevant conversations and names. I was left guessing what does it all mean? Who are these people? What is there connection? Is there actually a connection? In all honesty I was flabbergasted by the end. It was a very surprising turn of events which had not even crossed my mind. I therefore must congratulate Eliza Granville on such a well written story. I could talk about this for hours, but I have to stop myself of this point, as I am risking giving it all away. I'll move onto the characters now. Krysta was a favourite. She had an attitude which drove off most people. Her father went through so many women to look after her and she would cause havoc and say some foul words which you wouldn't expect a child to know. She really had a passion for stories and fairytales and it really kept her going in her darkest times, and it kept her strong. I really enjoyed her relationship with Greet and Daniel. Greet was another favourite of mine. She is the one who told Krysta a lot of stories and it is obvious they both cared for each other, even if they gave each other an earful a lot of the time. I enjoyed Krysta's character development throughout the novel. She eventually had to learn to grow up, and I really did enjoy watching it. I disliked Josef Breuer, yet he was an interesting and compelling character. I was a bit uncomfortable with his feelings with 'Lilie', and how he considered getting rid of Benjamin when he realised that she held feelings for Benjamin instead of himself. But nevertheless he was a compelling character. I would give A* to Eliza Granville for her characters, and their stories. This review may seem like the book is all happy and light. However, it is not a nice book. It is grim and disturbing. That is not saying that it is not a great book. It is. It is a brilliant piece of historical fiction. I have a feeling that those who liked The Book Thief may enjoy this as there is a similar feel to it, yet there is more of a fairy-tale feel to it. If you enjoy historical fiction, then I definitely wouldn't miss out on Gretel and the Dark.

  • Pamela
    2019-03-20 15:24

    It's a curious feeling when a book grows on you. Not literally, obviously. That would be downright out of this world and you better bet I'd be callin' Ghostbusters! I mean that strange kind of peace that you find after you struggle against a narrative, initially. It doesn't matter why--any reason will do, or no reason at all. It's not what you thought it would be, you don't like the narration style, you think it's overdone (I like my hamburgers medium, thanks), or you just don't think it's "your thing." But something tells you to keep reading. Keep trying.The more I read, and the more I read because of my job, the less guilt I feel about not finishing a book. My time is limited, and it is precious. At the beginning, I wanted to quit Gretel and the Dark. It didn't deal as much in fairy tales as I had hoped, and the self-indulgent whimperings of a sexually-frustrated psychologist in fin-de-siècle Vienna didn't exactly scream "Read me!"Maybe it was the utterly gorgeous writing of Granville that won me over. She manipulates words like a master, and her characters are fully realized. Before I realized what had happened, I was deep within the story, hungrily eating it up, and wondering exactly how the two narratives fit together. I won't spoil that for you. You get to find that out on your own, and delight in it.I cannot say that Gretel and the Dark is a story about X. It's a story of many things, of many layers. This would be an excellent companion to The Book Thief--not just because of the setting, but because of its unusual way of exploring World War II. The aforementioned psychiatrist, Josef Breuer (ha! It's not Freud!) treats a young woman who was found naked and senseless. She is exceedingly pretty, but she looks strange--definitely not a woman of fashionable Viennese society. Her blond curls are cropped, and she has numbers inked into the skin of her arm. She claims to be an automaton, with no human feelings, no family, no past, and no future. She gives no name, so Breuer names her Lilie. He's obsessed with her and wants her as a lover, but at the same time, Breuer is ashamed of his age and his desires. Seeing Lilie gradually open up to his assistant, Benjamin, tortures him.The narrative begins to alternate with that of Krysta, an exceedingly spoiled young girl who's recently moved with her father to a new house next to a zoo ... or so the adults tell her. Krysta must be read to be believed--her temper is a rare thing. She torments her nursemaids, rules her father, and eventually sneaks in to see the animal people living in the zoo. The ones her father treats. The ones with shaved heads and tattoos. The rabbits of Sachsenhausen.In Sachsenhausen lives a boy named Daniel. Krysta first encounters him while he eats worms. Being the nasty little brat she is, she torments him for it, and mocks him for not eating real food. Little Princess is so oblivious that she can't see starvation under her very nose. Just like the traditional fairy tales that her old nursemaid used to tell her, however, Krysta's path becomes very dark indeed.I have to stop here, for to continue would be to unravel for you what you must find on your own. It's a narrative trail of breadcrumbs (yes, of course I had to go there) that will lead you to a stunning conclusion. Gretel and the Dark is very close to modern literary perfection.Bonus: My weak German got a boost from all of the phrases sprinkled liberally throughout the book, which made me feel smarter than I actually am.I received an ARC of this title, on which this review is based.

  • J.A. Belfield
    2019-03-18 11:38

    You would be forgiven, I think, for believing Gretel and the Dark by Eliza Granville to be a new kind of fairytale retelling. After all, the title and cover combined could most certainly give that kind of impression—and, indeed, had convinced me I was heading into this aware of its content. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Because what I actually found was not a simple fairytale at all, but a multi-faceted story within a story within a story, which was so dark and full of intrigue, I spent the ENTIRE book trying to figure out how everything tied in together. In fact, to begin, it was almost like I’d headed into a bookish yet expertly crafted version of Donnie Darko/The Butterfly Effect—you know those kinds of films that make you consider them long after you’ve finished watching them because they have the possibility of being interpreted differently be each individual viewer—except the closer I crept to the end, the less I believed this evaluation to be correct. And then when I actually did reach the end, only to discover I had absolutely NONE of it right ... it was, with all the pieces in place, heartbreaking.That said, it doesn’t take long for the reader to become aware that this isn’t what they’re expecting, and the tone alone will warn of the dark and twisted content you will be subjected to quite early on. However, the actual telling of the story combined with excellently portrayed characters will entrance and lure and INSIST that you read on, no matter how much your mind is asking if that’s wise.Told from multiple POV’s, which hop from timeline to timeline, Gretel and the Dark is one of the best-woven tales I have read in a long time—possibly ever! With the different characters, their backgrounds, circumstance, actions—everything—you will spend the entire book trying to piece together what, at first glance, appears to be one huge jigsaw puzzle of a tale; one of a blackened night sky, where the only variations to shade are the miniscule wisps of cloud, ones that shift and change with the breeze so that, just when you think you’ve grasped it, the tendril is suddenly out of reach again. Am I even making sense? Or maybe my words are intended to advise of the cleverness disguised beneath convolution that is this book. I’m afraid you’ll have to make up your own minds, as I refuse to delve into the who, why, where and how of what happens between its pages, because to do so would ruin absolutely everything there is to love about this one for each individual reader, and I shan’t be held accountable for that. All you need to know is what I’ve already stated, and that this, my friends, is storytelling at the MUCH finer end of the scale. Because the wordsmithery (it’s a word!) within these pages is nothing short of brilliance made beautiful. P.S. You will need tissues for the ending, because when your mind finally becomes filled with clarity, and you reflect upon the sadness, the conquers, the sheer content of this one, and then are hit with that heartbreaking final page or two, you … will … cry! So, off you go, grab your own copy, weave your way along these shadowed and twisted paths … but be sure to take tissues, because you’re going to need them.

  • Taryn Pierson
    2019-03-11 08:26

    Wow. What a beautifully dark and twisted journey this book took me on. The way the characters use fairy tales to make sense of a horrific and bitter reality pierces me right through the heart. The prose drips with elegance. And we're supposed to believe Eliza Granville is a debut novelist? Get outta town.Some of my very favorite books are those with two or more intertwining storylines, each so different that it's not clear until the very end how they are connected. The Hundred-Year House, The Golem and the Jinni, and Lexicon all come to mind as particularly well-executed examples. Gretel and the Dark now joins my mental list right at the very top. Granville drops hints like bread crumbs along the way, letting you think you know how her two tales will come together, but I for one couldn't have guessed the surprising and perfect way it would happen.The book opens with a Prologue that frankly won't make much sense at first read. Never fear—file it away in one of your unused brain corners and plunge ahead. The first chapter introduces Dr. Josef Breuer, an actual historical figure who was an early mentor to Sigmund Freud and laid the groundwork for psychoanalysis. In the novel's 1899, Breuer is unexpectedly called into service when his gardener discovers a beautiful young girl, naked and beaten and left for dead, and brings her to Breuer's house for treatment. The girl, who Breuer decides to call Lilie, apparently has no memories of her former life. She says she isn't human at all, but a machine, and asks Breuer to help her find a monster and kill him.The next chapter skips ahead in time to Nazi Germany, where a decidedly bratty little girl named Krysta and her father, a doctor, have relocated so he can work in a mysterious hospital. Krysta doesn't know exactly what goes on in the infirmary, but she's not too worried because her father says they're not people he's working on, but dangerous animals. She spends her time telling her doll stories she heard from her old nanny, Greet. As things begin to change and Krysta's life grows darker and more frightening, fairy stories are her escape and her haven.Gretel and the Dark is aptly titled—it's dark indeed, at times crushingly so. But within that darkness is a redemptive story, as beautiful as it is haunting. The way Granville brings all the little strands of her two stories together at the end is stunning (the butterflies! Seriously, someone read this book so we can exclaim and sigh together over what Granville does with the butterflies!) and deeply, achingly satisfying.One of the best books I've read this year. More book recommendations by me at