The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

A Novel of War and Survival
Narrated by: Michael Page
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (139 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the last months of the Nazi occupation of Poland, two children are left by their father and stepmother to find safety in a dense forest. Because their real names will reveal their Jewishness, they are renamed "Hansel" and "Gretel". They wander in the woods until they are taken in by Magda, an eccentric and stubborn old woman called "witch" by the nearby villagers. Magda is determined to save them, even as a German officer arrives in the village with his own plans for the children.

Combining classic themes of fairy tales and war literature, Louise Murphy's haunting novel of journey and survival, of redemption and memory, powerfully depicts how war is experienced by families and especially by children. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel tells a resonant, riveting story.

©2003 Louise Murphy (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Lyrical, haunting, unforgettable." ( Kirkus, Starred Review)

What listeners say about The True Story of Hansel and Gretel

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This is the best experience.

Couldn’t get enough of story. Kept me wanting more. The narration melded me with each character. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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A creative retake on a classic fairy tale

The classic tale of Hansel & Gretel, the witch in the forest and the trail of bread crumbs reimagined as a harrowing struggle for survival in Poland during the Nazi occupation. Vivid dialogue and characters.

1 person found this helpful

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Great narration; content disturbing

I almost didn't finish listening to this book; the content and details were extremely graphic and upsetting. The story was engaging. Another example of the horrors of war and, sadly, pertinent in our world today.

1 person found this helpful

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Rated R for violence & rape

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who aren't bothered by awful details about a child being raped

Has The True Story of Hansel and Gretel turned you off from other books in this genre?

No, I love historical fiction.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The True Story of Hansel and Gretel?

I would cut out the gruesome language & unnecessary details about the awful things that happened in the book.

Any additional comments?

Not for people who like to keep their entertainment PG13. I felt like I lost a bit of my innocence.

2 people found this helpful

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Intriguing Title

As I am sure was the point: it was the title that intrigued me.

It was a clever way to weave the fairy tale into a story, but over all I didn’t love it. Not a bad story, but more disturbing and alarming than interesting and compelling… of course the plight of Jews in WW2 is disturbing; but I’ve read better.

2 people found this helpful

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Audio book helped.

It was very difficult to read the book alone. Listening to the narrator helped me finish the book. Narrator was awesome.

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Unique twist to the fairytale

I appreciated the unique twist to the classic fairytale. It brought two separate stories together and combined them in an unexpected way.

Of course anything written about the horrible and tragic events of holocaust always cuts deep with emotions and are usually rough to hear, but I think the author told those parts as respectfully as possible and showed the true courage of the people who endured the worst of mankind.

The narrator sometimes did throw me off with the way he did the voices and it was sometimes distracting, but also have to give him some wiggle room on that since he was not only changing through different ages and gender, but accents as well. I feel they needed to be a little exaggerated for you to know the difference in who was speaking.

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narrator brought the depth down a notch

This could have been a deeply moving story for me had it not been for the narrator's silly awkward voice when he was in character.

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although tough truths, story is interesting.

I had a hard time listening to war realities. Very good mixing the story with history. I did want to know about the characters.

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  • Cw
  • 02-08-17

Don't miss out!

Wow! I LOVED IT! So cleverly written and engrossing. It kept me on the edge. A MUST READ/LISTEN!