Goodreads says: Twelve years ago, Gretchen, her twin sister, and her brother went looking for a witch in the forest. They found something. Maybe it was a witch, maybe a monster, they aren’t sure—they were running too fast to tell. Either way, Gretchen’s twin sister was never seen again.
Years later, after being thrown out of their house, Gretchen and Ansel find themselves in Live Oak, South Carolina, a place on the verge of becoming a ghost town. They move in with Sophia Kelly, a young and beautiful chocolatier owner who opens not only her home, but her heart to Gretchen and Ansel.
Yet the witch isn’t gone—it’s here, lurking in the forests of Live Oak, preying on Live Oak girls every year after Sophia Kelly’s infamous chocolate festival. But Gretchen is determined to stop running from witches in the forest, and start fighting back. Alongside Samuel Reynolds, a boy as quick with a gun as he is a sarcastic remark, Gretchen digs deeper into the mystery of not only what the witch is, but how it chooses its victims. Yet the further she investigates, the more she finds herself wondering who the real monster is, and if love can be as deadly as it is beautiful.
Fairy tales are my thing. I love them. Hansel and Gretel isn't a story that's retold very often, so I was excited to read Sweetly. It's technically a sequel to Sisters Red, Jackson Pearce's previous novel and a retelling of Red Riding Hood, but I don't really think you have to read the first to understand the second. It would make sense without it.
Sweetly is truly well written. The story kept me entertained, and the characters were incredibly crafted. The character of Sophia, in particular, was really enjoyable. She's believable and real, and of all of the cast, she was probably the one I liked the most. The talk of candy making was interesting and made for a good story.
The southern feel to the novel, and the dynamics of the town also really added to the novel. Mixed in all together, it definitely makes the book worth reading.
I felt, however, like some parts of the novel were a little bit odd; the monsters -- Fenris -- really didn't make much sense unless you've read Sister's Red, and even then, they seemed out of place at times. The novel had some of the epic qualities that Sister's Red possesses, but they were disjointed and mostly came at the -- granted, truly impressive -- finale.
I liked it, don't get me wrong, but the novel felt open ended. It's a solid 3 and 1/2 stars.