SWEETLY is a modernization of Hansel and Gretel and a companion book to SISTERS RED.
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.
A little while ago, I read and fell in love with Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce, which is the companion novel to Sweetly. I had very high expectations for Sweetly because of how much I loved Sisters Red. And I have to say, I was a little bit disappointed with this one.
The thing that really hurts this book is the pacing of it. If this book didn't have a pacing issue, it would be wonderful. However, the first 200 to 250 pages are extremely slow. A few events happen during this period, but not enough to make you want to keep reading and find out what happens. It wasn't until around page 200 that I really started getting interested in the storyline and actually wanted to keep reading to find out what happens.
Like I said, besides the pacing issue, this book is wonderful. It has the same effects as Sisters Red, with the sister element, the romance element, and a paranormal element with the werewolves. The sister element in this novel is different, however there is a brother in this novel. Grentchen and Ansel are extremely close and it is a nice example of a brother/sister relationship.
The romance element was good - once it kicked in. Since the pacing wasn't the greatest in this novel, it took a while to kick in. However, once the romance started showing up, it happened so fast in some cases that it was like, "Waiiiit! Slow down! Where's this coming from?!" Even with this, I loved the romance aspect of the novel.
And now onto the paranormal bit. As in Sisters Red, Jackson Pearce keeps up with traditional Fenris storytelling, and I love that. While I don't think the werewolves show up as much in this novel as they do in Sisters Red, they still play an extremely important part in the novel, and it's a wonderful part in the novel.
Overall, if you read and liked Sisters Red, I recommend reading this novel. If you like modern retelling of fairytales, I also recommend this novel. Just go into remembering that the pacing is slow and it will take a while to get into it.