The Hunted Rose by V.M. Sawh is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set during the Second World War.
Little Red Riding Hood has been popular with children and adults alike for centuries. Over the years, there have been countless adaptations of this intriguing folklore. After coming across multiple such renditions, I have come to believe that there is an underlying dark theme in the core story of Little Red Riding Hood. V.M. Sawh bestows the fairytale with his own unique twist in The Hunted Rose.
Set during the Second World War, The Hunted Rose revolves around Rose Harcourt. Rose’s father sheltered her from the war by staying in a humble cottage in their isolated vineyard. However, the war soon finds its way to their doorstep when the Nazi soldiers come knocking. All of a sudden, Rose is compelled to leave her abode and brave the dense woods. Garbed in her grandmother’s ivory cloak and equipped with her father’s hatchet, Rose aims to reach her grandmother’s cottage amidst the dense forest. Little does she know that the woods have their own secrets.
With Nazi soldiers swarming the area and a vicious wolf running around in the forest, will Rose be able to reach her destination successfully or will she be betrayed by the ones she places her trust on?
The Hunted Rose, penned by V.M. Sawh, is the fifth book of the Good Tales For Bad Dreams series. V.M. Sawh has outdone himself with this captivating novella. I love how he has taken the plot of a beloved fairytale and placed it in the backdrop of WWII. Being a history buff and a lover of fairytales, I absolutely adored The Hunted Rose. Sawh remains true both to historical accounts and the basic plot of the original tale. He masterfully enlivens the milieu of WWII. Rose and her family are Jews. They are good people faithful to their beliefs. I love how Sawh interspersed elements of Jewish culture and cuisine seamlessly in the story. Through Rose’s skepticism in revealing her religion to strangers, we experience the fear of persecution that was prevalent among the Jews at the time.
Yosef Naftali’s fate was heart-touching. The way the young Jewish boy and his family were torn apart and subjected to different forms of torture just because of their religion was indeed inhumane. Through Yosef’s story arc, we get to know about the horrendous dogs of war experiment conducted at the Hundehaus by the Nazis. It is heartbreaking to think that humans would do such things to fellow humans. Sawh’s portrayal of the experiments and his depiction of the unsuccessful attempts brought tears to my eyes. I also like how he presented Yosef’s character. Once upon a time, he was a good boy. It was inhumane cruelty that brought out his viciousness. The battle between good and evil in him made me empathize with him.
Heinrich Reichhardt was a true Nazi German. He believed wholeheartedly in Hitler’s propaganda of the superior Aryan race and would do anything for his Fatherland. His hatred for the Jews appeared in sharp contrast with their plight under the Nazi Regime.
Rose’s interactions with both Heinrich and Yosef shaped her as a person. I enjoyed the way she, a naive and seemingly fragile girl, took on two supremely powerful men fearlessly. Rose’s transformation into a strong individual is indeed admirable.
I have admired V.M. Sawh’s writing style ever since I read Cinders. In The Hunted Rose, he weaves an intriguing tale by adding historical and supernatural elements to a popular fairytale. The way he intersperses German and Yiddish in the dialogues makes the story all the more authentic. Sawh has included a glossary explaining the meaning of the foreign terms at the end of the book for the better understanding of his readers. I love how he uses some of the popular lines from the original in his own unique way. The way he shows the transformation of Rose’s ivory cloak into a red one left me awestruck.
Overall, The Hunted Rose by V.M. Sawh is a hair-raising read with lots of action and drama. The editing is professional as well. I recommend The Hunted Rose to WWII buffs and adult fairytale lovers. People who enjoy werewolf stories will love this novella as well.
- Title: The Hunted Rose
- Author: V.M. Sawh
- Genre: Adult Fairytale, Historical Fantasy
- Theme: WWII, Survival, Identity
- Publication Date: October 31, 2022
- ISBN or ASIN: B0BJGK7M27
- Number of Pages: 101
- Minimum Audience Age: 14
(Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual themes: 1
- Religious themes: 0
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 3
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 2
- Other adult themes: 0
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 5 stars
- Other factors: 5 stars
- Overall: 5 out of 5
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One thought on “A Book Review by Kajori: “The Hunted Rose” by V.M. Sawh”
Nazis are way scarier than any big bad wolf. Yosef’s backstory seems particularly insightful. What an interesting take on an already darkish fairytale.
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