About the Book:
Book: A Ransomed Grete
Author: Chautona Havig
Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale
Release date: December 28, 2022
October 1939—What happens when you run from danger… and into a trap?
After the Anschluss, Austria becomes a place its citizens don’t recognize—especially its Jewish citizens. Whispers ripple through Jewish communities—whispers about a chalet where a woman protects Jewish children from discovery. She’ll keep them safe, fed, and far away from Nazis.
Parents are forced to make horrific decisions. Send their children away to safety, possibly never seeing them again, or keep their families together and risk their children’s lives?
Hans Hartmann arrives at the chalet with a chip on his shoulder and a little girl in tow. He found Grete waiting at the train station. Alone. But life at Chalet Versteck feels more ominous than the streets of Vienna. Children sometimes vanish, and before Hans can figure out what’s happening, a high-ranking officer appears—and is killed.
It’s a race to find out who killed the man and get himself (and probably that pesky Grete) out!
A Ransomed Grete is the bridge book between the 1920s and 1940s Ever After Mysteries, combining fairy tales with mysteries.
Because I will read anything that Chautona Havig writes, I signed up for a review copy of A Ransomed Grete as soon as I could. I knew that it was a fairytale-inspired mystery set in the 1930s in Nazi controlled Europe. That means that parts of it are not very nice to read.
To tell the truth, I was quite confused through a lot of this book. I believe that was intentional on the part of the author, and there were definitely some red herrings thrown in to confuse the mystery. Because I knew that the story is based on the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel, I figured that the woman in the chalet must be on the “wrong” side, but it took a long time to figure out how and why.
While A Ransomed Grete will not likely ever be one of my favorites of Chautona Havig’s books, I like the way she ended it. Her note to the readers at the end is most of what made the book have value to me.
I received a review copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it. Links may be affiliate links, which will benefit Esther’s website if purchases are made through them.
About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at chautona.com and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.
More from Chautona:
Picture it. Ventura, California,1982. Why I went to the lock-in, I still don’t know. It wasn’t my church, I didn’t actually like the girl I went with, and I knew no one else. In hindsight, I think God put me there, because that was the night I was introduced to Corrie Ten Boom.
Yes, they showed The Hiding Place, and a near obsession with all things Holocaust followed.
I don’t remember when my brain connected The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to that same war and helped me realize that the people bombing London and making the need to protect those children were the same ones ripping fathers, mothers, and children from homes in other countries and sending them “out into the country” too. But it happened. A sickening, nauseating understanding that still infuriates me today.
I railed against the evil soldiers. How could they do such a thing? My ever-patient father said, “Like our airmen should have refused to drop the bombs that ensured we’d end the war with Japan? When do soldiers get to decide which orders they will obey and which they will not?”
In my self-righteous, ever-black-and-white mind, I remember saying something to the effect of, “If they’d all refused, then the generals would have to listen. You can’t kill all your soldiers for insubordination.”
Dad’s quiet voice (it wasn’t always, but it was when he was deadly serious) answered that with a… “Considering the millions of Jews they slaughtered, I think they might have. Live soldiers can make a small difference.”
Look, Dad wasn’t defending the Nazi regime. He wasn’t defending sending innocent people to their deaths because some madman said they must. He did, however, point out that sometimes what seems to be acquiescence is really a front for helping people under the radar. Without proof of someone’s guilt, we could hope there was more to it than fear for self.
And that taught me another lesson—to assume the best of people until they gave me a reason to know otherwise. It also sparked ideas. How many men, women, and children pretended to be in league with the Nazis when they weren’t? How many people cowed to Nazi ideals out of self-preservation? How many others didn’t really see the evil until it was shoved down their throats?
It took forty years to do it, but those questions became the basis for A Ransomed Grete (pronounced Gret-uh, if it matters to you). What happens when the horrific occurs and self-preservation becomes a means of evil? I hope I offered enough hope amid the horror of Jewish genocide.
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