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~*~I probably shouldn't be revealing this, but while I own most of Jackson Pearce's novels, this is the first one I've actually read. I've been sitting on SWEETLY and SISTERS RED on purpose, waiting for it to once again be Fairy Tale Fortnight. I'm excited to launch the week by reviewing something by such a talented author.
After reading SWEETLY, I discovered that there's some amount of cross-over with SISTERS RED, but I never felt like I was missing anything while reading. In fact, after finding this out (because I rarely look up information on books before I read them in order to be surprised), I discovered that it's highly possible FATHOMLESS builds into Pearce's world, too, when I erroneously envisioned all of her novels as stand-alones. I'm blown away by how these unique worlds will tie together and can't wait to see what Pearce comes up with!
Have some candy at your side when reading SWEETLY! As the title implies, this novel will tickle your sweet tooth. After Ansel and Gretchen's stepmother throws them out, the siblings' car breaks down in a forgotten town and they wind up living with a candy maker named Sophia. Pearce spins together images of delicious-sounding candies; I wanted to eat each and every one based on the descriptions alone!
Even Sophia's house is described in such a way that I envisioned it as a real-life version of a gingerbread house if you were to buy one and live in it yourself:
"It's a cottage, tucked away into a nest of mountainous oak trees that are draped with Spanish moss. The exterior is a cinnamon shade of wood, with a stone chimney that's being devoured by ivy. Flower boxes line the white-trimmed windows, filled with what looks like the peppermint plants our mom used to grow. The door is arced and licorice red and sits behind a covered front porch that holds several rocking chairs. A wooden sign with Coca-Cola advertisements on either end hangs from the porch's mottled tin roof; pale violet lettering in its center reads KELLYS' CHOCOLATIER. The entire thing looks imaginary, like a gingerbread house in a quite corner of a hot paradise."
(pg. 22, US Hardcover Edition)
Gretchen was probably my favorite character in the novel. She starts off so shy and timid, scarred from the "witch" that stole her twin sister away when they were children. When she decides to take control of her own destiny, she blossoms: She's able to survive on her own without having her older brother shadow her, and even able to fall in love. She even finds a sister in Sophia, and slowly, she moves on from the tragedy of her past, only to find herself spiraling into the new horrors of her future.
SWEETLY was well worth the wait, and I'm even more excited about FATHOMLESS than I already was (Mermaids!!!!!). Excuse me while I leave you to start reading SISTERS RED!