Hansel & Gretel: To Have and to Hold by Rose Wulf

Hansel & Gretel: To Have and to Hold by Rose Wulf
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Genre: Erotic Romance, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Star Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

For nearly two hundred years, the Hansel and Gretel Academy has trained young adults to fight and protect the rest of humanity from the magical threats of the land.

After a decade of partnership, the Hansel and Gretel team of Katz and Chessa are going strong. They’ve never met a monster they couldn’t kill. When Chessa’s twin brother, Declan, finally writes her back after numerous months of one-sided correspondence, it’s with barely a note of acknowledgment. So Katz makes a surprise decision, bucking the tradition which insists upon keeping distance between different teams. He vows to Chessa they’ll track her brother down, just so she can have a face-to-face conversation with him.

As their journey begins, unbeknownst to them, they set off the first part of an ancient prophecy threatening the destruction of the very establishment that supports them….

Before they can learn about that, they have to survive some dangerous situations unlike anything they’ve encountered before. And when one momentary lapse forces Katz to reveal a dark, intimate secret he’s kept from Chessa for years … Chessa offers him an ultimatum. He can have her body, or he can pursue random strangers from whatever village they land in when he’s in the mood. But he can’t do both.

It’s a no-brainer for Katz, but will Chessa understand what their changing relationship really means? Or will her insecurities get the better of her, and ruin their blossoming romance?

Rose Wulf’s Hansel and Gretel: To Have and To Hold is not some tale of two naïve children wandering through the forest. Instead, the author takes readers into a world where hunting pairs train at the prestigious Hansel and Gretel Academy. Graduates are then sent out into the world to deal with all sorts of foul creatures, constantly moving from job to job. For one Hansel and Gretel pair, will their feelings for each other get in the way of stopping an ancient prophecy?

Katz and Chessa, who go by Hansel and Gretel when on a job–as tradition demands, have been a hunting pair for over 10 years. Chessa is great at being diplomatic and dealing with the townspeople who request their aid. On the other hand, Katz is a total hothead which makes him seem prickly. This trait serves him well – the monsters, not so much.

I love a book where the love interests are friends first before they end up in bed together. The tension and romance between Katz and Chessa have been developing for years by the time we meet them in the book. When they finally stopped resisting and allowed their relationship to develop into more, it was palpable and hot. Ms. Wulf left me hooked and wanting more – I couldn’t stop reading until she delivered all the spiciness she had been teasing readers with. I am happy to report those scenes were worth the wait once they arrived.

Fairytale retellings can be hit or miss. An author should use enough of the original story so it’s recognizable but put their own spin on it such that it doesn’t feel stale or repetitive. I was quite happy with the direction that Ms. Wulf took the Hansel and Gretel story in. I prefer stories where Hansel and Gretel are not siblings. However, despite my love of the idea, the plot execution fell flat for me at times. One issue I had while reading was the lack of knowledge on how the Academy operates. I was eighty percent of the way into the book before the author started revealing details like how the academy is structured, how pairs are matched, and who directs the hunters in the field. The magic system was also a big question mark for me. As a die-hard fantasy fan, there wasn’t quite enough detail for me to be satisfied with how everything worked. As a result, I didn’t appreciate some of the plot twists until well after the event had taken place –which took the fun out of it. This aspect may be off-putting for some fans who are looking for books that involve more fantasy and fairy tale references.

Mature erotic romance fans who enjoy books filled with action-packed adventure and paranormal elements will find themselves fans of this book. Despite some minor issues, I’ll definitely be checking out other books by Rose Wulf in the future when I have a free moment.

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