In the rural villages of Norway, there is an ancient belief that children inherit the qualities of the direction in which they are born. Nymah Rose, the last daughter of eight siblings born to a poor mapmaker and his superstitious wife, was a North-born baby. It is said that North-born babies are wild, unpredictable, intelligent, and destined to break their mothers' hearts because they all leave hearth and home to travel to the far ends of the earth. To keep her close, Roses mother lied and told her she had been born of the obedient and pliable East. But destiny cannot be denied. One day, a great white bear comes to the mapmakers door to claim Roses birthright. Everything that comes after, as richly imagined by author Edith Pattou, is the basis for one of the most epic romantic fantasies ever told. East
is a deftly woven tapestry that melds traditional fairy tale motifs of both Beauty and the Beast
and East of the Sun and West of the Moon
, with the haunting icy lore of medieval northern lands. Told in a changing chorus of voices, including that of Rose, her hopeful brother Neddy, her regretful father, the charmed white bear, and the Troll Queen whose selfish wish is the catalyst that seals Roses fate, East
will enchant any and all who venture within its pages. It is a tale for the Ages, and for all ages. Highly recommended. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert
From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up-A compelling novelization of the folktale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." Rose's story-from her birth as a replacement for a dead sister to her eventual happy marriage to Charles VI's fifth child-is recounted from the kaleidoscopic viewpoints of her father, her brother, the troll queen who bewitched the Dauphin, the White Bear whom the Dauphin became until Rose's rescue, and Rose herself. Each character's unique perspective and voice adds texture and tension to the plot, which is imbued with Nordic mythology and unfolds in a unique story line. Numerous interpersonal tensions are examined, including those between a comparatively "modern" man and his superstitious wife, between the bewitched bear and the women who want to claim him as a mate, and between Rose and the neighbors she meets in each of her worlds. Pattou's writing pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy, inviting those unaccustomed to either genre to explore the frozen world of questing that she has so vividly created.Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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