Gretel and the Dark

Riverhead. Oct. 2014. 352p. ISBN 9781594632556. $27.95; ebk. ISBN 9780698145085. F
OrangeReviewStarIn 1899, a mysterious young woman is found on the streets of Vienna—beaten, emaciated, and alone. Called Lilie, she claims to be a machine, an instrument, sent to destroy an evil entity in its infancy. Decades later in Nazi Germany, little Krysta struggles to adjust to the death of her mother. Seeking a fresh start, her physician father has moved them to a new town, where his prestigious job leaves her often in the care of others. Krysta longs for her old beloved housekeeper Greet and the fairy tales she used to tell. Trying to make sense of her world, Krysta sees the people around her as characters from Greet's stories—evil witches and frightening beasts she must outwit to survive. But when Krysta's father unexpectedly dies as well, her new caretakers turn out to be closer to witches and wolves than she ever realized, and Krysta decides to test the powers of those folktales and legends, wishing her way out "to anywhere and anywhen."
VERDICT As haunting, lyrical, and enchanting as the fairy tales Krysta is so taken with, Granville's bittersweet first novel will keep readers hooked, guessing and wondering how Lilie and Krysta's stories relate, right up to the end.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing