I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Indie Sel-Pub on June 12th 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fiction, New Adult, Romance
Purchase Links: iBooks | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
NEVER LET YOU GO a m o d e r n f a i r y t a l e
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.
Also by this author: Crazy about Cameron (The Winslow Brothers, #3), Campaigning for Christopher, Ginger's Heart
The classic fables of Cinderella or Beauty and the Beast are ripe material for adaptation into a modern retelling, yet author Katy Regnery chose the unique story of Hansel and Gretel as inspiration for her latest novel, Never Let You Go. Ms. Regnery’s uses her considerable talent to weave a beautiful, complex tale of love lost and found, of self-discovery and sacrifice.
Holden and Griselda were children of the foster care system who were abducted off the road in rural West Virginia and held captive by a madman for three years, until fate separated them at the age of thirteen. Although young, their ordeal forged an unbreakable bond between the two, so strong that they both barely survived their time apart. Both racked with guilt and grief, neither Holden nor Griselda found joy in living – until fate reunited them, only to conspire to rip them apart again.
Secondary characters were well-developed and served to advance the plot, from the intense and scary Caleb Foster to the scheming Gemma. The details of Holden and Gris’ capture and torment were skillfully handled by the author. Interspersed with present time, the flashbacks to their captivity helped color the current versions of the twenty-three year old Holden and Griselda we meet at the beginning of the book, offering a touchstone for their character growth.
Holden and Griselda themselves were complex and nuanced, and it was interesting to read the different ways their trauma affected each of them. Holden was such a stand-up guy that I just wanted to bake him some cookies and give him a hug. Through all his adversities, he kept his good heart – although it was hidden for awhile, finding Griselda reminded him it was there. Poor Gris fell into a cycle of abuse and indifference, her only driving thought to find Holden and make amends. Once they reconnect, she becomes adrift without that guiding goal and finally turns to healing herself. The most touching aspect of this novel for me was the strength the two main characters drew from each other and how, ultimately, they each learned their own self-worth. Through their love for each other, Griselda and Holden learned to love themselves.
Eventually some of the repetition of particular dialogue phrases started to grate on me a bit . I feared the story was going to turn from touching to cheesy, but the heart and passion of the book kept me engaged. I couldn’t help rooting for Holden and Griselda to find the happy ending they deserved.
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 Author Katy Regnery:
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!