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Chocolatiers and Witches: A Review of SWEETLY by Jackson Pearce

Posted by on August 25, 2011
Sweetly (Fairytale Retellings, #2) 
Jackson Pearce
310 pages
Publisher: Littlebrown
Release Date: August 23rd, 2011
Source: Hardcover from Publisher
Rating: LOVED

As a child, Gretchen’s twin sister was taken by a witch in the woods. Ever since, Gretchen and her brother, Ansel, have felt the long branches of the witch’s forest threatening to make them disappear, too.

Years later, when their stepmother casts Gretchen and Ansel out, they find themselves in sleepy Live Oak, South Carolina. They’re invited to stay with Sophia Kelly, a beautiful candy maker who molds sugary magic: coveted treats that create confidence, bravery, and passion.

Life seems idyllic and Gretchen and Ansel gradually forget their haunted past — until Gretchen meets handsome local outcast Samuel. He tells her the witch isn’t gone — it’s lurking in the forest, preying on girls every year after Live Oak’s infamous chocolate festival, and looking to make Gretchen its next victim. Gretchen is determined to stop running and start fighting back. Yet the further she investigates the mystery of what the witch is and how it chooses its victims, the more she wonders who the real monster is.

Gretchen is certain of only one thing: a monster is coming, and it will never go away hungry.

    The world of Sweetly is undoubtedly sweet. With chocolates that wash away your fears and kitchen appliances in pastel candy colors, Sophia Kelly’s chocolatier is a place everyone will want to live in, even if the forest looms right beside it.

    Gretchen and her brother Ansel have been kicked out by theuir stepmother, now that Gretchen is eighteen. The inseperable brother and sister have been trying to cope with the loss of their sister, mother, and father for years.

    The best way in Gretchen’s mind was to leave Washington. And so the two of them hop into their car and drive off, only for their car to breakdown in a small town close to their destination.

    So begins the new mysterious life in Sophia Kelly’s chocolatier. Gretchen has never felt safer or happier or loved in her life. That is until she meets Samuel and sea shells and darker secrets.

    Never having read any of Jackson Pearce’s novels, Sweetly was a surprise for me. The world she had created in this modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel was nothing like I expected. I loved Pearce’s simple writing style that flowed in its simplicity. The characters were throbbing with life and the world was pulsing with vivid imagery. The plot was moving at a pace of perfection, taking me along and never leaving me lagging behind.

    Dive into Sweetly with a cup of tea. You’ll be looking for your very own small town chocolatier before you know it.

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  1. I'm a huge fan of retellings, so I love the sound of this one! The world the author has created definitely sounds amazing – glad you enjoyed it! Must read this one.

  2. I really enjoyed this one too Hafsah! I loved the tie in to Sisters Red, it was subtle enough that those who haven't read it aren't missing out on anything but those who have get a little something extra. Reading definitely made me want to own a chocolatier:)

  3. I was surprised by Sweetly, too! I had no idea how Jackson was going to incorporate the Hansel & Gretel story. I was pleasantly surprised! I really liked Sweetly. Thanks for the review! :)

  4. I wasn't sure if I'd read this one or not. I liked Sisters Red but I didn't love it. I've heard some say that they liked this one even more so maybe I'll have to give it a try!

  5. I haven't read Sisters Red but I really liked Pearce's As You Wish. I love fairytale re-tellings though so I've got both Sisters Red and Sweetly on my wishlist. Hope you didn't start craving chocolates while reading this one; I'm probably going to :)

  6. Ooh, I've never read anything by Jackson Pearce either but I love your description of her writing. And I love the original Hansel and Gretel story so the retelling ought to be good!

  7. This book sounds great. I remember hearing about it awhile back but I never got the chance to pick it up…I love the cover! Thanks for the great review…I'll be moving this book up on my TBR list.

  8. Wonderful review. I have never read any books by the author but I keep hearing such great things about the his books. I may have to pick Sisters Red up at the library this weekend.

    – Beckie

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