Review: The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
Title: The Vanishing of Katharina Linden
Author: Helen Grant
Review Source: Purchased at Barnes and Noble
Back of Book Synopsis (from goodreads.com):
It isn’t ten year old Pia’s fault that her grandmother dies in a freak accident. But tell that to the citizens of Pia’s little German hometown of Bad Mustereifel, or to the classmates who shun her. The only one who still wants to be her friend is StinkStefan, the most unpopular child in school.
But then something else captures the community’s attention: the vanishing of Katharina Linden. Katharina was last seen on a float in a parade, dressed as Snow White. Then, like a character in a Grimm’s fairy tale, she disappears. But, this being real life, she doesn’t return.
Pia and Stefan suspect that Katharina has been spirited away by the supernatural. Their investigation is inspired by the instructive --- and cautionary --- local legends told to them by their elderly friend Herr Schiller, tales such as that of Unshockable Hans, visited by witches in the form of cats, or of the knight whose son is doomed to hunt forever.
Then another girl disappears, and Pia is plunged into a new and unnerving place, one far away from fairy tales --- and perilously close to adulthood.
As you all well know. I am obsessed with anything related to fairy tales, especially if it describes the creepy nature of those fairy tales. The Vanishing of Katharina Linden definitely has the creepy quality that I love. It also has a dark humor prevalent throughout. The first line is “My life might have been different, have I not been known as the girl whose grandmother exploded.” Definitely dark humor. The great thing about the added humor is that it lightens (if only slightly) the otherwise serious nature of the story. It is very spooky and suspenseful, I spent the entire novel being afraid for Pia and StinkStefan, because they partially believe that the danger is supernatural, but as the reader knows, the danger is all too real. Pia, the narrator, is so adorable and innocent, and because of this innocence, the story as a whole feels like a folk tale despite the fact that it is realistically written.
I give it a *****