I have a special treat for you all today!
As some of you will know, I love retellings. Whether they are light and fluffy alternative just as dark and twisted as the original, I enjoy reading and exploring the different versions and interpretations.
Today’s feature looks like another great retelling that I cannot wait to read!
As part of Mabon, the lovely people at The Parliament House Press are sharing a sneak peek of this Hansel and Gretel retelling.
After reading the sneak peek, I only have one thing to say – Can it be 2020 already?
Title: The Shrike & the Shadows
Author: Chantal Gadoury and A.M. Wright
Genre: Fantasy – Mystery – Retelling
Age Classification: New Adult
Publisher: The Parliament House Press
Release: March 3, 2020
Men have gone missing before.
The village of Krume is plagued by a haunted wood and a hungry witch. It’s been that way for as long as Hans and Greta can remember, though they have never seen the witch themselves; no one has.
When men start to disappear once again in the cover of night – their bloody hearts turning up on doorsteps – the village falls into frenzied madness.
Hans and Greta, two outcast orphans, find themselves facing accusations of witchcraft and are met with an ultimatum: burn at the stake, or leave the village forever.
With nowhere else to go, they abandon their only home.
As they venture into the strange forest, their path is fraught with horrific creatures, wild and vivid hallucinations, and a mysterious man tied to the witch’s past.
The Shrike is watching, just beyond the deep darkness of the woods.
Shrike [shrahyk] : any of numerous predaceous oscine birds of the family Laniidae, having a strong, hooked, and toothed bill, feeding on insects and sometimes on small birds and other animals: the members of certain species impale their prey on thorns or suspend it from the branches of trees to tear it apart more easily, and are said to kill more than is necessary for them to eat.
“Papa!” a young boy cried. “Papa! Papa!”
A flame came to life on a bedside candle, sparking a tiny light in the one-room cottage where the boy slept with his sister and father.
“Hush,” a deep voice replied from one side of the room. A tall man approached the young boy and knelt beside his bed, the little flame lighting every line of his tired face.
“Hush now, Hans. I’m here.”
The little boy cried, wiping away big tears as they rolled down his warm cheeks. “I had a bad dream, Papa.”
The man’s thick brows creased. “Tell me.”
“I saw Mama,” he sobbed quietly. “She tricked me, Papa. She told me she had a surprise for me.”
The boy’s father’s frown deepened. “Mama would have never tricked you.”
“But she did, she did!” he insisted. “We were in the woods… and you and Greta… you were dead, Papa. And then Mama tricked me!”
“Shh, your sister is sleeping,” his father chided gently. “How did Mama trick you?”
“She had a thing in her basket,” he choked out hurriedly.
“It was beating, Papa. It was red—”
His father pressed a finger to his lips. “That’s enough. You’re all right, Hans. And so is your sister. We’re here.”
Hans whimpered as tears spilled over the spots where others had dried. “It was a bad dream.”
“So it was,” his father nodded in agreement. “You’ve had a long day. Perhaps too much to eat?”
“Maybe.” Hans sniffled.
“I know you’re ten now, but you still need your rest, my boy. Go back to sleep.” His father patted the cot with a gentle hand. “I’ll be here beside you.”
“Promise?” His lip quivered, threatening more tears. His father was right. He was ten now, and so was Greta. He had to be braver than the bad dreams that came to him at night.
His father snuffed out the flame. The only light left in the room coming from the dimly-lit hearth. And so, Hans closed his eyes as his father’s warm hand brushed against his forehead.
Want to read more?
You can read the first chapter here on Chantal Gadoury’s website.
Until next time bibliophiles!