Book Reviews

Gretel: A Fairytale Retold by Niamh Murphy at NIM Publishing

Genre Lesbian / Fantasy / Fairy Tales / Romance
Reviewed by jj on 02-October-2013

Book Blurb

Starving and lost, Hans, and his sister Gretel, are saved from a pack of bloodthirsty wolves by a woman, who seems to ask for nothing in return. Seduced by her kindness and beauty, Gretel grows closer to her, while Hans becomes ever more suspicious of her motives. Torn between her brother and a woman she has just met, Gretel soon learns she must make a choice between long held loyalty and newfound love.

‘Gretel: A Fairytale Retold’ is a six chapter novella of over 12,400 words. Retold as a fast paced, lesbian love story, this novella contains some explicit passages.


Book Review

This is an exquisite rendering of ‘Hansel and Gretel’. It isn’t difficult to see the similarities, but the wondrous re-working of that classic fairy tale moves it into a class of its own. The harsh and unrelenting rigidities and small-mindedness as depicted by Hans and probably the ‘other villagers’ who banished Maeve from her home community, only heighten the extraordinary love and closeness that develops between Gretel and Maeve. This story is really not to be missed!

Within this telling, Hans and Gretel have been sent away from there suffering village farther north, now barely surviving after three failed harvests. Hans and Gretel need to find work and food then hopefully return to their village and help it rebuild and prosper. Initially, the brother and sister they are cold to their bones, weakened from days with inadequate nourishment, and now facing a wolf pack preparing to take both of them down. Pretty scary stuff until an unknown woman brings down the wolf that attacked Hans with her axe and disperses the pack. She offers them shelter, if they can keep up with her as she shoulders the fallen wolf and heads back to her homestead. 

Maeve, Hans and Gretel’s savior, is magnificent, mysterious, and an angel in Gretel’s eyes. Hans sees the devil at work here and brands Maeve a witch for no substantial reason. I adored Maeve. She hints at the reason she was banished to Gretel, possibly sowing the seed for Gretel’s growing affection. Are we witnessing a witch’s magic or a strong, lonely woman offering help and shelter? 

This is a truly imaginative, inventive, and ingenious re-telling of such a beloved classic. I felt completely immersed as if I shared Gretel’s mind and body. I became enthralled by Maeve and yes, possibly bewitched. I applaud the brilliance of this short story and completely recommend it!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 48 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 04-July-2013
Price $1.50 ebook
Buy Link