Title: Never Let Me Go
Author: Katy Regnery
Released: 12th June, 2015
Genre: New Adult
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.
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Rachel McEwan and Sharon Thérèse Nuttall
The title couldn’t be more perfect for this modern fairy tale. The two protagonists’ journey is a hard one; their journey a sentimental and heartbreakingly beautiful one. The story absorbed us to the point of this book being unputdownable; lose sleep…we did, page-turner? Absolutely! Rachel, a great fan of Katy’s books, suggested that I read the blurb which not only opened up my appetite for something new, but also opened up my curiosity as this would be the first time I had read any of her works. It is said that the author’s inspiration came from the well-known child’s fairy tale, Hansel and Gretel. However, the only semblance in Holden and Griselda’s story are the names, it begins when they are young and one of them is fooled. Not wanting to leave his new and trusted friend alone with a person he doesn’t know from Adam, Holden unwilling agrees to go along with Gris resulting in their abduction. But alas, they had no father to find them. Saying that, hidden in the pages we found much more than we could ever have expected. It overflows with one tragedy after another leaving one’s nerves at breaking point. It is not an easy read. They suffer at the hands of a fanatically religious man whose state of mind is nothing less than twisted. The will to survive spans over a period of three years for one, and many more for the other. How their feelings start to grow from being in foster care will eventually culminate into a relationship that literally took our breath away.
Holden ~ ‘’Even when we were apart, we were still together. Even when you were gone, you still lived inside my heart.’’
Another detail which caught our attention was the structure of writing in linea. We found this technique totally compatible with the author’s characters as it gives you time to get to know their inner thoughts. One might interpret this as exaggerated. It most certainly is not. Harsh events flow from the past to the present and back again in such a way that as the story slowly moves on, you become more and more invested in their story. The one-liners and banter development between Holden and Gris is at all times, fitting with their age. For us, these two are unforgettable.
‘’We’ve always been together.’’
And while we’re talking about writing style, we have to mention how the author has pulled the southern brogue off to a tee. For that matter, describing any accent is not an easy feat but us two English gals had no problem interpreting this kind of speech. Ms Regnery’s telling of such a beautiful and tragic story is done with such style and elegance. The words just seemed to jump out of the page and lodge themselves deep into your heart. I don’t think either one of us were quite prepared for this story in any way and at times, we had to walk away just to grab more tissues. But was it worth the tears? Oh yes, it definitely was because it’s quite simply a story neither one of us will forget !
“I jump, you jump.”
The above quote was by far our favourite in this book and is used so many times because of its significance and so relevant in Holden’s and Gris’s story. It’s such a simple one but meant everything to the characters. It also resonated with us too as we asked each other on many occasions ‘’I jump, you jump’’! At so many points throughout this book each page seem to bring more sadness and tragedy! Just when you think here comes their time for happiness, yet another bump in the road comes. But as they have suffered so much it has made them stronger and more able to cope.
Gris ~ ‘’I won’t break. I want you, Holden. I need you. Take me home.’’
One of our favourite parts throughout this read was Gris reading her fairy tales to Holden when they were held in captivity. It was her way of taking them away to another world from the horror and cruelness they endured at the hand of the ‘Man’. We found the characters in this read fantastic; both so vulnerable, albeit strong. Gris came across far stronger emotionally in the beginning of this story, always willing to take risks to win their freedom which we found quite refreshing. However, later on in the book the tables are turned and you find Holden the braver one of the two. For us, this made the story and cemented the belief that these two young people were meant for each other. Souls mates in the true sense.
‘’Am I whole or am I broken ? ‘’
Quite frankly, we have both been bowled over by this read and as we’ve mentioned, it will not be forgotten for some time! This is a book about trust, bravery, regret and hope which in our opinion, must be experienced. It’s simply MAGICAL! Bravo Ms Regnery for such a fantastic read!
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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