“The True Story of Hansel & Gretel” by Louise Murphy

For the first book of 2011 I chose to read “The True Story of Hansel & Gretel” by Louise Murphy.  Now do not let the title fool you.  It’s not actually a true story but Louise Murphy took the fairytale and weaved it into a story about World War 2 in Poland.  There are true parts to the story but the story itself is not true.

Here is the synopsis from goodreads.com:

In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed “Hansel” and “Gretel.” They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called “witch” by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.

Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, this haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children, and tells a resonant, riveting story. What did I think?  I am so glad I picked this book up (at the recommendation of someone).  It was both haunting and sweet.  It makes you sick to think that the things that they did to other people actually happened.  I cried and I laughed and I cheered for the good guys.   I could not put this book down and finished it in 2 days.  I will remember it long after I finish reading it.  It was a good choice for the first book of 2011. If you like fairy tales and historical fiction I would recommend that you pick this book up.

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