Release Day Reviews: Never Let You Go: Katy Regnery

Never Let You Go
Katy Regnery
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Expected June 12, 2015

In this modern retelling of “Hansel and Gretel,” 13-year-old foster children, Holden and Griselda, escape from their abductor after three years of brutal captivity and try to cross the Shenandoah River on foot. Tragically, one of them makes it to safety but the other is left behind.

Ten years later, Griselda’s boyfriend drags her to a fight club grudge match where her world is turned upside down when she watches Holden step into the ring.

Though the connection between them is fierce, bitter regret, simmering rage and a cache of physical and emotional scars lie between them, just as dangerous as the whitewater of the Shenandoah.

Never Let You Go is a story of fear and hope, defeat and survival, and two people - once profoundly broken – who discover that love is the onlything that can make them whole again. 

This is a standalone novel inspired by Hansel & Gretel. New Adult Contemporary Romance: Due to profanity, scenes of physical abuse and very strong sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18. (Note: children are not sexually abused in this book.)

For June and July 2015, 25% of all gross royalties will be donated to the Elizabeth Smart Foundation. 

(The next standalone A Modern Fairytale novel, Ginger’s Heart, inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, will be released in Winter 2015/2016.)

This girl. Everything about this girl made him want, made him long, made him yearn to change his life, start his life, finally live his life after a decade of going through the motions. He wanted to get a better job to take care of her. He wanted to stop fighting because she disapproved of it. He wanted enough money to have every tally mark lasered from his arm. He wanted some sort of guarantee that she’d never, ever leave him again. And he wanted all of it now. Yesterday. Ten years ago, and every day since.

Standing up slowly, he let his body settle into an upright position before taking his time crossing the hall to the bathroom and then heading out into the common room.

She stood at the stove with her back to him, her feet bare, her hair in a ponytail, the mouthwatering smell of fried chicken filling the entire cabin with goodness. Holden leaned against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest, a grin taking over his face as he watched her.

“It’s just the thought of you—the very thought of you, my love,” she sang, using a fork to transfer a golden leg to a paper towel–covered plate.

As she reached forward to turn off the stove, some of the leftover grease in the frying pan spat up at her and burned her wrist.

“Ow!” she yelped. “Damn it!”

With a sudden rush of adrenaline, Holden crossed the kitchen in two strides. He turned on the faucet and grabbed her arm to thrust her wrist under the cold stream. He held it there, wincing at the red blotch developing on her white skin. When he lifted his eyes to hers, she was staring at him with a surprised, curious expression.

“It’s just a little burn.”

He shrugged, still holding her arm, staring down at the burn.

“You were asleep,” she said.

“You were singing.”

“Too loud?”


“You remember that song?”

“I remember.”

He slid his palm down her arm to cradle her wrist from below.

“The stove’s still on,” she said.

Without dropping her hand, he took a step closer to her, reached around her waist with his free hand, and flicked the burner off.

“I made fried chicken,” she said softly, her cheeks flushed.

“I can smell it.”

“You like fried chicken. I mean . . . you must have mentioned it to me a hundred times when we were—”

“It’s still my favorite.”

They were both silent for a few seconds, and Holden knew he should drop her hand and step away from her, but he couldn’t. She’d hurt herself doing something kind for him, and it just about shredded his heart.

Just another moment, he told himself. A few more seconds touching her and then I’ll move away.

“Sorry about the singing,” she whispered, unmoving, her breath kissing his throat.

He jerked his neck to face her, his thumb curling into her palm, his eyes searching hers for mercy.

“I loved it,” he murmured.

She stepped forward, closing the distance between them, her lips parting, her breasts grazing his chest through his T-shirt as she stared up at him.

“Holden, I . . .”

Every breath she took seemed to draw him closer to her, as if she was breathing him, not air. He leaned forward, into her, his free hand reaching for hers.

“Griselda . . .”

Her eyes, dark blue and churning, flicked to his lips, lingered there, then slid back up his face and seized his.

His self-control snapped.

After all, he was only human.

This unique story took me on an emotional journey that grabbed me by the heart, held me captive, made me feel everything, and left me in a book hangover.

This is a clever twist on the story of Hansel of Gretl with two young children forced to rely on each other for survival. It is also about reunions, redemption, second chances, and true love.

Griselda ran but never really got away from her past. Ten years later, Holden, the boy she left behind is still in the forefront of her thoughts. Holden was the one person she had connected with the strongest in her young life. And losing him had left her guilt stricken, full of loss, and not knowing where he ended up was her biggest struggle.

I adored Holden...from the smaller, weaker, young boy to the strong grown up man. He had been through so much and had been so lost and full of grief and rage. She had always been his lifeline and without her he was just going through the motions. But with Gris, he felt alive and knew what he needed and what was important. He was caring, loyal, selfless, and protective.
And Gris...she was smart, tough, resilient even when younger. But her emotional scars, guilt, and loss made her an untrusting adult who felt undeserving of happiness. She never got over losing him or the small hope of finding him again.

But they were two people who were broken alone, but together became whole. They had a strong need for each other and were a catalyst for change. They both had their own struggles and goals to deal with individually. But together they also had so many demons and challenges to face. And for kids that had known such pain and heartbreak it was hard to trust in good fortune and happy ever afters. In their own little bubble, they were together as H+G and where they belonged. But the real world was not as uncomplicated.

They both had fears and insecurities. They both felt undeserving at times and guarded and fearful of finding happiness and losing it again. They had so many roadblocks in their paths. But they were survivors and gave each other something to cling to. 

These characters went to hell and back so many times, but had such strength, resilience, and a deep connection. But together they were whole and stronger. It was told in both of their points of view in present and flashbacks giving us a window into their lives as adults and their traumatic pasts. There were times I was holding my breath in anticipation, gasped in surprise, or felt punched in the gut. There was definitely some darkness, abuse, and difficult subject matter in this book, however the true essence of it is how the characters fight to overcome it.

This was a painful, emotional, inspirational story of love, hope, faith, strength, sacrifice, and survival. My heart broke for these characters over and over again, but I was amazed at their tenacity and intensity of their feelings. They had so much to fight against and at times their lives seemed hopeless, but in the end it comes down to true love, trust, and perseverance. I was completely invested in Holden and Gris and rooted for them the whole book. I suffered their fear, heartbreaks, disappointments, and pain, but also their successes and joys.

This was truly a convoluted, challenging, heartbreaking, yet inspiring and healing journey for them. I felt like I had experienced it all with them. This was my first book Katy Regnery and it won't be my last. My only complaint that maybe it was a bit long or that sometimes the time jumps took me a bit out of the present day story, but overall I really loved this book and characters. I am now looking forward to reading The Vixen and the Vet (which has been sitting on my kindle unread for so long and not sure why)  and  the upcoming modern fairy tales  in this series.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Holden Croft and Griselda Schroeder were foster children in the same home for three days before they were kidnapped. Three years later, only one child was able to escape the dark cellar they had shared. One would remain in the nightmare, the other would face the guilt of survival.

Beyond this brief description, it is difficult to say a whole lot about the plot, or specific aspects that I truly loved, because the element of surprise and a spoiler free experience is so key for this book.

These two were destined to be together, but had a long and hard journey to reach each other. It seemed like there was always one step forward and two steps back. With each new challenge that stepped into their path, their trust and strength were put to the test.

Each had a journey beyond their relationship in order to put the past behind them and take another step forward. Even after finishing their whole story, I can’t decide who had the easier road -- the one who escaped, or the one who remained.

I loved the way this whole tale was woven. From the flashback scenes, to the progression of the present day scenes, there was always something going on. There were points where it started to feel long, but then a new twist would crop up and I would lose myself in the story once again. The flashbacks were the perfect way to make clear the horrors Gris and Holden endured while not overwhelming the story with the past. Those scenes were important for the progression, but they also needed to supplement the present rather than overpower.
This story captured me from almost the very start and didn’t want to let me go. It was a great mix of fairytale, and harsh reality, reminding me of Mia Sheridan’s Signs of Love series with a fairytale basis. But it’s not tied closely with the fairytale itself. Yes, Holden and Griselda are referred to as a modern Hansel and Gretel, but the story diverts from the reference very quickly. 

I haven’t read anything else by this author and I can’t help but wonder why. I will be adding the previous book in the Modern Fairytale series to my TBR and look forward to future editions of tales based on Little Red Riding Hood and the Little Mermaid.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Never Let You Go is part of the A Modern Fairytale collection, which will include five standalone, unrelated novels:

"The Vixen and the Vet" (Beauty & the Beast) - available now
"Never Let You Go" (Hansel & Gretel) - available June 2015
"Ginger's Heart" (Little Red Riding Hood) - available TBD
"Don't Speak" (The Little Mermaid) - available TBD 

Katy Regnery  Website/Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest

Katy Regnery, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author, started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract for a winter romance entitled By Proxy.

Now a hybrid author who publishes both independently and traditionally, Katy claims authorship of the six-book Heart of Montana series, the six-book English Brothers series, and a Kindle Worlds novella entitled “Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Date,” in addition to the standalone novels, Playing for Love at Deep Haven and Amazon bestseller, The Vixen and the Vet

The Vixen and the Vet is included in the charity anthology Hometown Heroes: Hotter Ever After, and Katy’s novella “Frosted” will appear in the upcoming (Jan ’15) anthology, Snowy Days Steamy Nights. Additionally, Katy’s short story, “The Long Way Home” will appear in the first RWA anthology (Feb ’15), Premiere.

Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.


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