Okay, so let's talk about the novel already. Holder and Griselda are our modern day "Hansel and Gretel", Griselda has been living in foster care for most of her life and Holder is the new addition to the house she is living in now. They form a quiet connection on the first night he arrives so when she volunteers to walk to buy sandwiches for the whole family while on vocation he asks to join her. They meet with Caleb Foster on their way who convinces Griselda to take them back to the camp where they are staying, while Holder doesn't believe Caleb he rather stay with Griselda than leave her behind.
That's where their journey begin. Caleb turns out to be a very sick man, he sees in the 10 years olds his "lost" siblings - Seth and Ruth - who died long ago in a fire. Caleb is a very religious man, so after catching Seth and Ruth in a sexual act he is determined to separate them and make them repent. He calls Ruth a seductress and prays and begs for Seth to see the truth of it. Well, that was then, and yet now, he doesn't see Holder and Griselda, he sees Ruth and Seth and so he tries to make THEM repent. He doesn't allow them to touch each other at all, or even to hold a gaze, neither to talk when he is around. They sleep separately closed in a underground cellar, they are chained during the day while they work in the garden and they are beaten regularly for their "bad" behavior. It's as horrible as you read, even worse.
The short connection they form before they were caught by Caleb only grows stronger with Caleb's constant abuse, and so after 3 years of struggle which keeps escalating they realize it won't be long before he kills them. Eventually Griselda comes with a plan for them to escape yet Caleb surprises them and so she succeeds while Holder is (re-)captured by Caleb. Griselda runs for help and yet when the police finally arrive Caleb and Holder are LONG gone.
10 years later, Griselda is a broken young women, struggling to survive and mostly trying to save enough money to be able to hire a respectable investigative company to look for Holder. Holder is barely even trying to survive. First thing Caleb does is convince Holder he shot Griselda when she tried to escape, Holder believes him and yet even though Caleb becomes more "reasonable" from that point (the temptress being gone..) he also doesn't care anymore, Caleb seems the least evil or just the known evil and so he stays with him unwillingly and then in a way willingly until his demise.
A chance meeting brings everything back. They stand in front of one another and my stomach was clenching with the tension and my emotions were all over the place. OMG what a scene! It's actually two scenes in which I could barely breath. It was Epic.
They have a LONG way to go before they can actually BE with one another, first they need to trust in one another, then they have quite a lot of shitty situations to deal with that keeps getting more and more complicated I was out of breath. I can understand why everything needed to happen, or at least why it was significant, but at a certain point, I was totally tired with the whole sub plot of Gema (Holder's ex). Though I have to say I didn't guess how it will end! (I liked it more than the things I had in mind..)
I DID like that both of them had a lot of growing up to do, and realizing that though they mean the WORLD to one another they both need to be able to live WITHOUT each other, even for a short while, to see that there is more to life than their other half. Yeah the past 10 years they were apart, but in a way, they were still together back there in Caleb's cellar, chained and working in the garden, or whispering hushed promises for a future the present doesn't seem to enable.
The whole story is told from both their POVs alternating also with memories from their time together with Caleb. It was disturbing, heart breaking and then loving and tender in the present when they attempt building their relationship.
The book truly tears you apart and puts you back together. The journey these two go through, alone and together, was breath-taking. I loved them together. Even though it WAS a bit sticky at times, it's a "fairytale love" so it makes sense, not to mention that after going through SUCH an ordeal together, life, emotions, aren't what we the "ordinary" people are experiencing.. and yet I can't say I truly liked Griselda. She was strong, she dealt with things her way and she was thrown in many horrible situations that she tired her best to survive. The only way she could in her mind.. She did mistakes, she tried and yet she was holding herself back - all that I certainly got. What annoyed me was how childish she could be at times. She couldn't trust Holder (?!) and HE surely NEVER let her down. She was constantly struggling to believe how serious he is about her and she was making it VERY difficult for him to manage the shitty situations HE had to deal with. Not to mention near the end she expects something from him and she is bummed about it, and angry with him for not doing it. She was a TOTAL baby about it.
I did really enjoy this book and I DO recommend it! I just had my struggles at times with Griselda and I would have preferred the book to be a tad shorter.
Additional Details: Kindle Ebook, 456 pages, 12-14 October 2015 / On GoodReads