Brother and sister Ansel and Gretchen are haunted by the memory of a walk they took in the woods when they were young. Lost in an unfamiliar part of the forest, Gretchen's twin sister was taken by a witch with yellow eyes. Now, years later, when their stepmother throws them out because they are of age (nineteen and eighteen), they scrap what little money they have together and leave their home in Washington state, heading toward the ocean and South Carolina, a place that Gretchen thinks will finally allow them to escape all the bad memories of the day their sister disappeared.
Only they don't make it to the ocean; instead they end up in tiny Live Oak, South Carolina where their car breaks down. Live Oak is a place with its own ghosts, and settling in isn't exactly easy. They stay with a beautiful and mysterious chocolate maker who soon wins both Ansel's heart and Gretchen's admiration. Only as they start a new, seemingly safe life, Gretchen begins to realize that they didn't leave their troubles behind and that there is something evil lurking in the woods.
This is a fun fairytale retelling, and certainly readers will enjoy the familiarity of the tale as Ansel and Gretchen's adventure unfolds. Several unexpected plot twists keep things suspenseful. Some mature situations.