BLOG, Celebrate Lit Publishers, Celebrate Lit Tour, Kindle, Purchase

A Ransomed Grete by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: A Ransomed Grete

Author: Chautona Havig

Genre: Christian Historical Mystery, Fairytale

Release date: December 28, 2022

October 1939—What happens when you run from danger… and into a trap?

After the Anschluss, Austria becomes a place its citizens don’t recognize—especially its Jewish citizens. Whispers ripple through Jewish communities—whispers about a chalet where a woman protects Jewish children from discovery. She’ll keep them safe, fed, and far away from Nazis.

Parents are forced to make horrific decisions. Send their children away to safety, possibly never seeing them again, or keep their families together and risk their children’s lives?

Hans Hartmann arrives at the chalet with a chip on his shoulder and a little girl in tow. He found Grete waiting at the train station. Alone. But life at Chalet Versteck feels more ominous than the streets of Vienna. Children sometimes vanish, and before Hans can figure out what’s happening, a high-ranking officer appears—and is killed.

It’s a race to find out who killed the man and get himself (and probably that pesky Grete) out!

A Ransomed Grete is the bridge book between the 1920s and 1940s Ever After Mysteries, combining fairy tales with mysteries.

Click here to get your copy!

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author of Aggie and Past Forward series, Chautona Havig lives in an oxymoron, escapes into imaginary worlds that look startlingly similar to ours and writes the stories that emerge. An irrepressible optimist, Chautona sees everything through a kaleidoscope of It’s a Wonderful Life sprinkled with fairy tales. Find her at and say howdy—if you can remember how to spell her name.

More from Chautona

Picture it. Ventura, California,1982. Why I went to the lock-in, I still don’t know. It wasn’t my church, I didn’t actually like the girl I went with, and I knew no one else. In hindsight, I think God put me there, because that was the night I was introduced to Corrie Ten Boom.

Yes, they showed The Hiding Place, and a near obsession with all things Holocaust followed.

I don’t remember when my brain connected The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe to that same war and helped me realize that the people bombing London and making the need to protect those children were the same ones ripping fathers, mothers, and children from homes in other countries and sending them “out into the country” too. But it happened. A sickening, nauseating understanding that still infuriates me today.

I railed against the evil soldiers. How could they do such a thing? My ever-patient father said, “Like our airmen should have refused to drop the bombs that ensured we’d end the war with Japan? When do soldiers get to decide which orders they will obey and which they will not?”

In my self-righteous, ever-black-and-white mind, I remember saying something to the effect of, “If they’d all refused, then the generals would have to listen. You can’t kill all your soldiers for insubordination.”

Dad’s quiet voice (it wasn’t always, but it was when he was deadly serious) answered that with a… “Considering the millions of Jews they slaughtered, I think they might have. Live soldiers can make a small difference.”

Look, Dad wasn’t defending the Nazi regime. He wasn’t defending sending innocent people to their deaths because some madman said they must. He did, however, point out that sometimes what seems to be acquiescence is really a front for helping people under the radar. Without proof of someone’s guilt, we could hope there was more to it than fear for self.

And that taught me another lesson—to assume the best of people until they gave me a reason to know otherwise. It also sparked ideas. How many men, women, and children pretended to be in league with the Nazis when they weren’t? How many people cowed to Nazi ideals out of self-preservation? How many others didn’t really see the evil until it was shoved down their throats?

It took forty years to do it, but those questions became the basis for A Ransomed Grete (pronounced Gret-uh, if it matters to you). What happens when the horrific occurs and self-preservation becomes a means of evil? I hope I offered enough hope amid the horror of Jewish genocide.

My Impressions

“Centuries ago, one of Austria’s most noble families built a small fortress in the forests south of Salzburg and east of Kuchl. There, hidden among the tall, stately trees and with woodland creatures as their neighbors, the family lived in peace and harmony for a century.”

Who can resist a beautiful fairytale? Chautona Havig begins A Ransomed Grete with the old-timey, flowery language of those beloved tales, but one can soon sense this will be one that has a darker side.

“A gray pallor hovered over Château Versteck. The sky, the trees, even the golden stucco all looked as if dusted with ash.” While Havig wields the pen majestically, world events were anything but beautiful and majestic.

Indeed, when we first meet Mina and Albert Gangl, it is in war-threatened Austria, 1938. Albert has been summoned to join the SS… or else…

When we next visit the Gangl home, Château Versteck, in 1939, Mina is a bitter woman, who has two faithful servants, Heddy, who sees children coming to be cared for as nuisances, and the cook, Frau Bauer, who though stern, has a softer side.

Havig has peopled her tale with multiple characters with varying degrees of kindness or will to survive the horrible days of occupation. What path will each choose as they look to escape the grim darkness of this time? I was so thankful Havig included the author’s note at the end. It helped me understand the story a little better. I was disappointed that the ray of Hope presented wasn’t brighter. I wanted the ending to be more solid, not so much left undetermined. That is just my preference, though. My first impressions were that the ending was truncated given all the suspense and terror to get there. Ruminating on the style further, I wonder if in fact, Havig didn’t just prove her brilliance as a storyteller, after all.

I received a copy of the book from Celebrate Lit. I also bought my own copy. No positive review was required, and all opinions are my own.

Notable Quotables:

“Children are often their parents’ puppets. See what a child does or hear what he says, and you will know his parents.”

“Don’t scold him for inconvenient obedience.”

Look for other quotes that define the story!

My Rating


Great! Grim, but some fairytales are! I really wanted a firm ending. Just my two cents.

Blog Stops

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 24

deb’s Book Review, February 25

Texas Book-aholic, February 26

Blogging With Carol, February 27

Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, February 27

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 28

Lots of Helpers, March 1

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 2

An Author’s Take, March 3

Denise L. Barela, Author, March 4 (Author Interview)

Mary Hake, March 4

Connie’s History Classroom, March 5

For Him and My Family, March 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, March 7

Betti Mace, March 8

Inklings and notions, March 9


To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

5 thoughts on “A Ransomed Grete by Chautona Havig Review and Giveaway”

    1. Emma,
      I would have to admit to some confusion, but it came together in the end, I think. Today I wondered if there was any (loose) connection to The Fall of the House of Usher to this book in combo with Hansel and Gretel.


  1. I enjoyed the excerpts. Considering what the story is about and that many original versions of fairytales did not have happy endings, the author’s ending may follow that concept. Havig is an amazing writer.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.