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 [b:The Snow Child|11250053|The Snow Child|Eowyn Ivey|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1327098624s/11250053.jpg|16176521] 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.