First Line Friday: 01/20/17

“Caught between green earth and blue sky, only truth kept me sane, but now lies disturb my peace.”

THE TRUE STORY OF HANSEL AND GRETEL: A Novel of War and Survival
by Louise Murphy

A poignant and suspenseful retelling of a classic fairy tale set in a war-torn world.

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. 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.