Narrator: Esther Wane
Length: 13 hours 56 minutes
Published by Macmillan Audio on October 3, 2023
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Ginger. Honey. Cinnamon. Flour. A drop of blood to bind its power.
1650: The Black Forest, Wurttemberg.
Fifteen years after the witch in the gingerbread house, Greta and Hans are struggling to get by. Their mother and stepmother are long dead, Hans is deeply in debt from gambling, and the countryside lies in ruin, its people recovering in the aftermath of a brutal war. Greta has a secret, the witch's grimoire, secreted away and whispering in her ear, and the recipe inside that makes the most sinfully delicious - and addictive - gingerbread.
As long as she can bake, Greta can keep her small family afloat. But in a village full of superstition, Greta and her intoxicating gingerbread is a source of ever-growing suspicion and vicious gossip.
And now, dark magic is returning to the woods and Greta's own powers - magic she is still trying to understand - may be the only thing that can save her ... If it doesn't kill her first.
A stunning meld of love story, fairytale, magic and history, by an exciting debut Australian voice - perfect for fans of Naomi Novik, Bridget Collins and Kate Forsyth
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After the Forest is a standalone retelling of Hansel and Gretel. Much like the original, Hans and Greta are abandoned as children and wind up at a witch’s gingerbread house. This story, however, is what happens 15 years after that occurred.
Our leading lady, Greta is keeping her family afloat by making gingerbread. She uses the recipe found in the witch’s grimoire from that long ago day where her life changed. Everyone is addicted to this delicious gingerbread, but there are whispers that there is more to Greta and her gingerbread than meets the eye. And the people are not wrong, Greta winds up learning she is in fact a witch and with the help of another learns a bit of magic. There is something sinister going on though that Greta is going to have to face. Mix in a dash of romance, and a smidge of adventure, and you have an entertaining read. I thought this was an interesting retelling and I got Salem Witch Trials vibes from this book. While a bit annoyed with some of the characters, overall, I enjoyed this book.
Esther Wane did a wonderful job with the audiobook. Her voice suited the story, and I had no issues at all.