★BOOK REVIEW★ Never Let You Go by Katy Regnery

MY RATING

I discovered Katy Regnery completely by chance, when one of my friend told me about the Vixen and the Vet right when it was about to release. I gave this fairy tale inspired romance a try and loved it.
I loved Miss Regnery writing, I fell in love with her concept of modern fairy tales. Even more so, I fell in love with her compelling writing, her easy going characters and low drama stories.
I’ve read quite a few books of hers in a short span time, having found my happy place back then, I didn’t want to let it go.
I was over the moon to learn she intended to continue with her Modern Fairy Tales idea, with ‘Never Let You Go’ and ‘ Ginger’s Heart ‘. So when I was proposed to review her new book I jumped on the opportunity.

Book infos & Purchase Links

Unknown-8Regret, 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.

Author : Katy Regnery
Title : Never Let You Go
Series : 
– A Modern Fairy Tale #2
Publisher : .
Pages : 450
Release date : June 12, 2015
Genre : Romance, contemporary.

My Review

Hansel and Gretel is one of my favorite Grimm’s tale. I can remember reading it hundred times when I was little, from my mother’s pale blue fabric covered book, with the gold lettering… A precious and magical book, holding secrets and fantastical stories. Grimm tales are my favorite because they most often starts ugly and dark and in a way are mirrors to the human nature.

Once upon a sweet and terrible time, she’d loved him, and he’d loved her in return.

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I dove into Never Let You Go my expectations high. I expected angst, emotions, sweet romance, sexy times all wrapped up in magic.
Now, did Never Let You Go delivered? Yes and no. Or more accurately, it provided too much. Interiorly there’s a battle of wills and discord about how I should rate this book. My appreciation for this author and her idea to give her own spin at classic fairy tales? Huge Yes. Lots of Stars.
The actual execution? Not so much.

In Never let you Go, you’ll find similarities to the Grim’s tale Hansel and Gretel, yes.
Holden and Griselda (Hansel and Gretel) both foster children are dreaming of running away from their miserable lives. They both lived in terrible foster families, saw a little too many bad things for they young age.

Don’t look back, no matter what. Stone to Stone. I jump, you jump.

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Never Let You Go is told in 3 POVS. It’s told from 3rd POV for the flashbacks, and told from Griselda and Holden POV as well…
A note about the POVS : Maybe this needs to be tighten up a bit, as at some point, we’re told who is telling the story, and somewhere along the way, the mentions of Holden POV or Griselda POV disappear. Furthermore, the POVs will change in the middle of a scene? It was hard to follow at times.

We first meet our heroes in similar circumstances to which Hansel and Gretel were. They’re running away. They’re finally trying to escape their abductor after 3 years of captivity, suffering and fear. The man that kidnapped them apparently reenact the fact that both his brother and sister—Seth and Ruth— were living in sin, loving each other. By abducting them, he’s trying to “save” his brother, Seth (Holden) from his sister, Ruth(Griselda) evil temptress ways.
Only their attempt at escape is not going to go as they hoped for. Holden is not going to make it, and while Griselda is running away for a better life, he’s left with the man that kidnapped them.

I’m whole. I’m whole because I’m with you.

We jump forward 10 years later, to get acquainted with Griselda as a young 23 years old woman. She made it out the foster system, she supports herself, works but still lives in the past. Her only goal is to make enough money to hire a top notch private detective that will help her find Holden. She kept looking for him those past 10 years without any success but won’t rest until she knows what happened to him.
With her focus to find Holden and filled with guilt to have abandoned Holden, she apparently self-flogs herself and get the meanest boyfriend she could find. Her penance for leaving Holden behind.

Hmm yeah. I had and still have troubles to get my head around that. I thought it was a pitiful excuse at explaining Griselda situation. Why would a woman who known beating as a young child, then working her damnedest to get a “good life” would coop up with an abuser all over again? More over, she’s described as a smart and level headed young person, she’s a well respected nanny, she tells the most incredible stories… But she chooses to keep her abusive boyfriend, from whom she gets beating, sex shaming treatment, demeaning back talk… Sigh.

Meanwhile, we learn that Holden is still very much alive but grew up in an all different mindset. He lived with his abductor for many years after Griselda’s escape. At first as a captive, but with time and probably with his will and hope broken, he left himself think the situation could be worse than what his hell was and decided to just stay. Stockholm syndrome of sorts.
At his jailer’s death, Holden is however keeping is new identity and continues his life as Seth. He went so far as come back and live in the same area he knew hell. So far as keeping his tormentor’s car…
He grew up mean, cold and angry. He has no interest for the future, thinking Griselda died in her escape. He’s got a girlfriend of sorts, Gemma, has a steady job and fights on the side.

Got to the ends of earth for you… to make you feel my love.

By fate the two of them are reunited. (I thought the parameters of this fateful reunion were a bit too much to believe in, even for a modern fairy tale take.)

At this point, I liked the back and forth between present and past. The development of Griselda and Holden friendship, love and feelings as child, this I liked very much.
Unfortunately, from the moment they found each other again, I couldn’t care less about what would happen to them. And I’m confused about it because it was the moment I was dying to get to.
It seems like the author let this Grimm fairy tale turned into a bad soap opera scenario.

I’ll keep it short and with a huge spoiler warning, but here’s a contraption of what is happening in the remanding half of the book :

The other woman Gemma is staking a claim, the declarations of love from Holden and Griselda after being apart for 10 years, the consumption of this love while still in a relationship with a third party, the “not yet ex girlfriend” pregnancy announcement, the threats of abortion to make Griselda go, the attack of Griselda by her ex boyfriend, Griselda coma’s and temporary memory loss, Holden growing a pair and deciding to enlist with the marines, Holden best friend and Gemma’s former boyfriend loves her again and wants to take care of the baby, Griselda going to university of Cali and unexpectedly meeting the real Seth and Ruth there… Holden renouncing his paternity in favor of his best friend…

Breathe…

I’m really disappointed over all that took place after the 50/60 % mark. I was looking forward their reunion, their second chance at love… Why the author crafted so much Jerry Springer drama is beyond me and goes against the reasons I fell in love with her writing in the first place.
And with all the loose ends she created, the needs to wrap them all up must have been too strong, because the unexpected meeting with the true Seth and Ruth was way too “magical and unbelievable” to me. So was the fact that Clinton—who was Gemma’s former boyfriend— suddenly realizes he loves her when she’s pregnant from another man, albeit the other man being his best friend… I think maybe without all the drama created around the ex-girlfriend, this would have fit, but like I said, I stopped to care from this moment on.

“Jesus,” he murmured, his thumb pressing her bundle of nerves like a button as he slipped two fingers inside her slippery sex. She was soaked and ready for him, and they’d only just gotten started.

Something else surprised me in this book, was the level of heat of the sex scenes. Maybe it’s been a while since my last Katy Regnery’s book, but I thought she amped up the hotness quite a bit. I don’t recall her being so descriptive… I think this is a good thing? I don’t know, really, I thought it was… unexpected from the author and a good surprise.

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Never Let You Go had all the ingredients to be a superb second chance at love wrapped with a modern fairy tale romance, unfortunately, too much conflicts and unnecessary drama left me with a bitter taste.
I have no doubts I’ll continue to read Katy Regnery’s work, but I truly hope she’ll continue to write stories how I discovered her, charming and simple.

Excerpt

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.”

“Too loud?”

“No.”

“You remember that song?”

“I remember.”

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.

Author Bio

Capture d’écran 2015-06-22 à 16.08.05Award-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 Modern fairy Tale 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.

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