Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Pub
My Copy: Sent
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 only thing that can make them whole again.
Oh.My.God. I need a vacation after reading this book. Seriously. If ever there was a book where two characters had to overcome obstacle after obstacle – and then even more obstacles – before getting their happy ever after, it’s this one. I almost hate to say that I loved this book, because it is such a tragic romance. It’s hard to think I could love a book where so many BAD things happen. But wow. Katy Regnery wrote such a beautiful love story.
Holden Croft and Griselda Schroeder have loved each other since they were ten years old. Their story begins when Holden joined Griselda at her foster home after his parents died. New to the family, bullied by their older foster brother and speaking with a stammer, Holden basked in the compassion and kindness that Griselda showed him. She quickly became the one true friend he had in the world.
Griselda never had a loving family. Her mother was a junkie and she’d been shuffled from home to home, some foster families worse than others. When she met Holden she found a kindred spirit, someone with an inner strength that even her ten year old heart could see. The trust and companionship she had with Holden was the first real relationship she’d ever been a part of.
Shortly after they met, Holden and Griselda were abducted. Held captive for three years, they endured endless days – and nights – full of exhaustion, pain and terror. The abuse at the hands of their kidnapper never turned sexual, but it was so horrific there were times neither of them believed they would survive. While they were forced to live in brutal captivity, something beautiful came out of it – an unbreakable bond of love that transformed from childish friendship to the beginnings of adult romance as they became teenagers.
Eventually they were both able to break free from their abductor, although not at the same time. Griselda has spent the last ten years wracked with guilt for escaping when Holden couldn’t. She refused to allow herself any true happiness, immersing herself in self-destructive relationships while working and saving her money to one day be able to hire someone to find Holden. For ten years, finding him has been her one goal, her purpose. She never expected to walk back into Holden’s world while on a couple’s weekend getaway.
Holden never knew that Griselda escaped. Their abductor had told him that he’d killed her and even showed him a fresh grave. That was the day everything inside of thirteen year old Holden Croft died. Without Griselda he had nothing. She was his best friend, his light in the dark, his protector. His angel. He endures the years following her escape by simply going through the motions: eating, breathing, sleeping. Filled with fury, he lives with bitterness and anger every day. Fighting as a way to earn extra money, Holden uses those emotions to empower him during his bouts. Pain is the only thing he allows himself to feel. He’s a hardened shell of a man until he catches sight of his Griselda again.
Holden and Griselda were so real. They were both broken and vulnerable, suffering from the loss of each other a decade ago. What they had shared was more than young love as teenagers. They’d forged a bond through the fires of hell, and every page of this book proved that again and again. When they find each other once again, they both know they’d been given another chance… a chance to finally be the family to each other that they’d always wanted to be.
Never Let You Go is a story of enduring love, full of emotion and angst. Oh, the angst. Just when you think Holden and Griselda have been through it all, the author would throw another curveball at them. Even while rediscovering each other, Holden and Griselda’s happiness was threatened again and again. These two survived what most would not, and they came out on the other side with their love even stronger. This book will stay with me for a long time.
I give Never Let You Go by Katy Regnery 5 stars!