Ever since the disappearance of her twin sister, Gretchen has been living with survivor’s guilt and the fear that someday the witch will come for her too. After her step-mother kicks her and her brother, Ansel, out, the siblings travel across country, breaking down in the small town of Live Oak, South Carolina. But this small town has secrets as more and more of their young girls disappear every year, and Gretchen might be next.
Can we talk a little bit about how brilliant this book cover is. The companion book, Sisters Red, has a cover that is just as gorgeous and eye pleasing. I wish all covers were this beautiful. Why aren’t all covers this beautiful?
ANYWAY Jackson Pearce has a smooth, easy style that draws the reader in without them even realizing it. The plot itself keeps a low hum of excitement that propels the reader forward when they know that maybe they should be studying for exams instead. I may or may not be speaking from experience here. There were also some really nice turns of phrase when it came to Gretchen’s internal struggle with the disappearance of her sister and how it changed her life. I really felt as if the vanished twin was another character floating alongside Gretchen like a kind of clinging shadow.
As much as this is a companion book, there is no real need to read Sisters Red prior to reading Sweetly, though there are some elements that only someone who has read the other novel will find important (i.e. the red dresses, Samuel’s father, etc.). And the way the two books are tied together actually made me clap my hands in glee because it was something I should have seen coming. I love it when all the clues are there and you just don’t realise it until the big reveal! That is the sign of a great book, in my opinion.
The human element of the story was really nice as well. While I felt like Sophia and Ansel maybe could have been a little more well-rounded (especially Ansel), Gretchen was a fully fleshed character and her relationship with Sam was realistic. No love at first sight here! In fact, it’s more of an annoyance at first sight, and anyone who knows me knows I do love a good annoyance at first sight. Speaking of which…
Man, you are hot. I’m not quite sure why because you’re never really described as hot. You don’t have the smouldering eyes or the Greek god physique or the eyes that flash with withheld passion or any of that other crap that is supposed to mean you are attractive. Instead you have a quest and a gun and a serious chip on your shoulder. I’d like to ride your motorcycle…if you know what I mean. And I’m sure that you do.
Coffee & Wizards
Jackson Pearce is quickly making her way up my list of favourite authors. You should read all of her books!
Books with similar aspects
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison
recommended to fans of fairy tale retellings and chocolate
not recommended to those who like their supernatural with a side of sparkle
Don’t just take my word for it!
“Basically, I loved this book. I thought that beyond it being a fun paranormal story, there were layers to it. Like a cake. Mmm… cake.” – Jen @ Almost Grown-up