What if Little Red Riding Hood was real?
Ninety years before the Brothers Grimm penned their version of “Little Red Riding Hood,” an historic, gruesome series of events shocked all of Europe. Starting in 1764, an unidentified wolf-like animal ferociously mauled dozens of peasants in the Gévaudan region of France.
Whispered rumors of unnatural creatures blended with age-old superstition to cause mass hysteria. A werewolf was blamed for the carnage. Alarmed, King Louis XV sent his best huntsmen to rid the province of the beastly scourge, but this legendary massacre had only just begun.
Scarlette, a 19-year-old seamstress who is laboring to make ends meet, lives under this dark threat. Although fearful of the nightmarish monster lurking in the surrounding forest, she remains skeptical of the supernatural gossip.
Until her grandmother is attacked.
Scarlette learns that her grandmother has been infected by the animal’s bite. Desperate to save her, Scarlette begins to uncover the dark secrets of her village and finds there are those who wish to keep their pasts hidden. As time grows short, Scarlette is befriended by a local nobleman and a woodcutter who both share an eerie history with the wolf.
Scarlette must unravel the men’s connection and solve a long-forgotten crime. But as she pieces together the clues, Scarlette finds herself torn between the two men. Both of them desire more than friendship and together hold the key to the cure.
Based on both the traditional Grimm fairy-tale and older known French versions of “Little Red Riding Hood,” this dark Young Adult novel is set against the 18th century Beast of Gévaudan attacks and blends fairy-tale with Gothic romance in a modern, accessible prose style. Unique to the genre, the novel revives the fable of the girl-in-the-red-cloak with a new historical angle that blurs the line between folklore and reality.
Hey there, it’s Alexandra. I’m the last one to upload a review because I like to be fashionably late. Just kidding, I will be uploading an I-tried-but-failed review every Sunday!
When I read the summary of this book I knew I needed to read that as soon as possible. A novel that is both a retelling and a paranormal fairy tale? Yes please, I’ll have some of that.
I had already read a morbid Red Riding Hood retelling but I can honestly say I enjoyed this one way more. The main reason why I loved this novel so much is because it feels like coming home; it takes me back to so many memories of my childhood combined with my new interests in literature. It’s just perfect if you’re feeling nostalgic.
Scarlette started off slowly, introducing you to a character and to a story that we already know. But after a few pages of introduction, the book took a whole new meaning. Sometimes I even forgot that Scarlette was Little Red if it weren’t for the constant mention of the red cloak I could have thought this was another story itself.
“A red cloak for my Scarlette.”
I absolutely loved the characters; they were so well-written and they completely acted the way you would expect them to. Scarlette was indeed the naïve girl you could expect her to be but at the same time she did act like a 19 year old girl would. At the end of the book I was totally pulling my hair and shouting at my book because she wouldn’t see what was going on. Regardless, she felt real, she was weak but strong at the same time, naïve but intelligent, confused but with her ideas clear.
“You know, I’d say dancing comes easier for me than axe throwing.”
I loved the way the romance was displayed in this book, it played an important paper but not everything revolved around it. And yes, there’s a love triangle in it, a woodcutter and a Baron fight for Scarlette’s love. But it wasn’t an annoying love triangle, thank God, though I did have my favorite. François, my love *whispers*.
“Scarlette, I have to make something right in this world. Besides, I’ve realized I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop myself from helping you.”
But to be quite frank, all the characters were very well-written. Not one of them felt unnecessary. My favorite secondary character was Jeanne, throughout half of the book she was the main reason I would laugh, she was entertaining with all the weird things happening around Scarlette’s life.
“What? And Wait till our mothers finally marry us off at 27 just like every other girl in France? We live poor, we die poor, and we need to have some fun in between.”
At the end of the book I was really wondering “Is this considered YA?”. Because holly hell, there are some really gruesome moments and my heart would start racing because everything was so dark and mysterious.
I figured out who was the wolf and I thought “Meh, now I won’t be surprised by anything”. But no my friend, this book is full of plot twists at one point I was even confused.I couldn’t put the book down, so much was going on and I just couldn’t get enough.
I loved the epilogue; it was such an unexpected and original ending. I really like to think there were women that lived in the 18th century who could pull off what Scarlette did. But I guess that’s just wishful thinking.
“What’s more, Grandma and I finally live in our castle. We now do whatever we please.”
If you feel like reading a retelling, out of all of the ones I have read, I recommend you this one. It’s unique, captivating and it has dark touch to it.
PS: I want to thank Clara for recommending me this amazing book & many more!