Tina Skupin: Hollerbrunn

As part of the Fairy Tale Summer/Märchensommer you get my review for Hollerbrunn by Tina Skupin.

What is it about?

4 of 5 stars

Everything changes for Marie after her mothers death, especially when her fathers brings home her stepmother Desiree and her stepsister Pegg. When she has to take part in an internship everything goes topsy-turvy, as she isn’t allowed to take care of her mother’s restaurant as she had hoped, and Desiree doesn’t yet have a clue how to handle things. Instead she has to help out Frau Hollerbrunn (Ms. Hollerbrunn) at the Hollerhof (Hollergrange) and soon learns that not everything there is at it seems…

Frau Holle meets Alpine legends (with a hint of The Snow/Ice Queen) by the Märchenspinnerei.

The reading experience

For this one I as well wrote down some thoughts in the Reading Group on Facebook (Magical Book Reading) and also kept track of them on Goodreads, so most things might sound familiar.

As I told you before was this the adaptation I feared the most, because the premise is too familiar. When Tina and other readers assured me that the “mean” parts were well executed or rather in the first chapter that calmed me down a little. As I soon discovered myself it really isn’t as bad as I had feared; the description in the Axolotlking was worse…Here the focus is on the description of the loss not on what really happened and that made it easier for me.

Reading the blurb of the book I was confused at the description that it used “a hint of Ice Queen”, but it soon turned out that this Ice Queen is more like the Snow Queen than the Disney-version that I kept thinking about.
The story itself is parted into different chapters that are fittingly titled after characters, places and a few other things that play a major role in the chapter. It prepares you a little of what’s to come, but at the same time doesn’t give away too much. Some titles are also references to the original Fairy Tale, which is a nice nod in that direction. Towards the middle there is a really incredible perspective change that makes the story just a little more interesting.

Other than that did I directly dive into the Hollertal (Hollervalley). I can easily see the place before my inner eye. From bureaucratic nonsense to the general interactions, all of it felt natural and realistic. I was taken in by the descriptions pretty fast and later didn’t want to put the book down as it was nearing its end. It had some quite surprising and exciting twists and portrayed certain dangers quite well. I was quite excited while reading some parts of it, even if some stuff was – and still is – quite confusing regarding the backstory of certain characters. Unfortunately including that would have been too much for the story. 😦

The characters

I never thought I’d find a version of Frau Holle where I prefer the Pechmarie (Pitchy Marie) over the Goldmarie (Golden Marie). I’m not even sure why… It feels like I should feel more connected to the golden one, as we’ve suffered a similar loss, but I guess I’m too annoyed by her, but that could just be me not liking main-characters again. Marie seems a little too well loved by everyone, even if she’s certainly not a perfect character, as she definitely has her flaws. Two of her more prominent ones include rose-coloured glasses and a tendency to just accept other peoples opinion/orders without questioning them. And I guess I’m also a little frustrated that she’s still stuck in her grief after six months and doesn’t want to get out of her safety bubble. Sure such a loss is horrible, but not continuing is something I don’t think anyone passing away would really want for their bereaved… Still, in the end it fit for the character, even if I wouldn’t like her as a person.

Besides: The other one is snarkier and I like snark… Pegg is… Pegg is awesome, even if I felt bad for her at times. Sure she’s rough and says what she thinks, which is not always nice, but in the end was she way more useful than lovey-dovey Marie and actually gets things done. She’s a great contrast to her half-sister (and yes there is a great explanation for that Frau Holle-reference!). The way she’s treated is horrible, but unfortunately also very realistic, both in a working and a living environment. To have her as strong as she is regardless of that turns her into an incredible character. She’s like the tragic anti-hero that doesn’t want you to root for them, but in the end you’ll do it anyway…

Though even if I liked one sister more than the other, as she got on my nerves quite a bit in parts, that balanced itself out quite well.

Desiree is the typical stepmother with too high standards that wants too much in too little time and Marie’s and Pegg’s father is not really helping the whole family matter…he’s pretty frustrating too…

The other inhabitants of the valley are barely mentioned/seen so there is not much I can say about them, other than that they sure are great with prejudices. The Librarian being one of the more fascinating background characters.

Florian and the other employees of the Hollerhof (Waldemar, Ronan, Gustl and Gerda) are bit windy (pun intended 😉 ) and therefore have quite some mood swings, but the concept behind them is pretty cool and they make for some very funny scenes and play an incredible role in the finale.

Frau Hollerbrunn is a whole different story by herself and like Grischa from A Cloak as Red would describing her give too much away. Let’s just say: There is a lot more to her than “just” being Frau Holle. 😉

General Opinion

I like the combination of Frau Holle with the idea of the Snow/Ice Queen and some Alpine legends, it just worked very well together. Also great were the twists on the original tales elements like the he whole baking and picking apples part (two of my favourite scenes), and the stepmother. There were also a lot of magical rituals at play throughout the story and it’s a pity that the different magical backgrounds (of characters and rituals) were only scratched on the surface. Though, more attention to them – and the backstory of certain characters – would have been beyond the scope of the story. I know, I’d really enjoy reading another book just about that. 😀

The story also sets good examples of what jealous and prejudiced people are capable of doing and how other people have to pay for it. I enjoyed the character development and I especially enjoyed the finale – and the epilogue that had a pretty cool scene that made me like a certain character just a little more. 😉

All in all: A beautiful story about two sisters that overcome their differences in an incredible adventure after a blow of fate.

Stuff I’d like to add

Today the new book of the Märchenspinnerei is released: Brighblack Ravenmoon

As a reminder: As part of the challenge you can collect points by reviewing Fairy Tales yourself. 😉

On Saturday you’ll get an interview with Tina about the book and some other Fairy Tale related stuff. So stay tuned!


© For the cover belongs to its rightful owner.



  1. Another great review, though at some times as confusing as the original book 😉 I totally get why you loved Pegg more than Marie, everyone does. Looking forward to the next one!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes (like in the part with the rituals) you jump from topic to topic very quickly, which makes it really hard to keep track. At other parts you take more time and sort your thoughts really well. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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