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The True Story of Hansel and Gretelby Louise Murphy
Set during the terrifying days of World War II, Louise Murphy's The True Story of Hansel and Gretel follows a young Jewish brother and sister who are separated from their parents and left wandering in the forest until eventually the village "witch" takes them in. If someone had told me you could combine the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale with a WWII setting, I would not have believed it. But Murphy skillfully weaves together these seemingly disparate themes and creates a unique, heart-wrenching tale that is amazingly well done.
Synopses & Reviews
In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed "Hansel" and "Gretel." They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called "witch" by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.
Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, Louise Murphy’s haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children. The True Story of Hansel and Gretal tells a resonant, riveting story.
"Murphy's juxtaposition of fact and fiction, perversion and innocence, makes for chilling reading." Irene Wanner, SFGate
"A provocative transformation of the classic fairy tale into a haunting survival story set in Poland during WWII, Murphy's second novel (after The Sea Within) is darkly enchanting.... No reader who picks up this inspiring novel will put it down until the final pages, in which redemption is not a fairy tale ending but a heartening message of hope." Publishers Weekly
"This harrowing portrayal of the daily ordeal of Poles caught up in the German occupation — Gentiles as well as Jews — makes this a page-turner as well as a moving testament to the human will to do good and survive despite all odds. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"[A] gripping narrative." Booklist
A powerful retelling of the famous fairy tale set in Nazi-occupied Poland.
About the Author
Louise Murphy, winner of a Writers Digest Award for formal poetry, is the author of the novel The Sea Within and a book for children, My Garden. She is a regular contributor to numerous literary and poetry journals.
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