At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.
After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.
And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.
As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.
The Bear and The Nightingale by Katherine Arden is by far the most compelling adult folk lore story I have read. The book is set in the heart of Russia. There I meet one family with interesting secrets…
A mother so frail is set to give birth to a daughter. Her husband fears losing his wife. But his wife is determined to see her daughter born. When the time comes, Vasilisa enters into the world and her mother soon dies. A sadness creeps upon the family home. The new child is unique. The fastest runner, smart, and loves exploring the world. Vasilisa has power. It will be her who protects her family…when danger comes, it will take everything, even a beloved father. A father who sacrificed himself for his daughter. A frost king in the woods is kind to Vasilisa. I enjoyed their connection. The siblings may tease each other but their love for one another is great.The story captured my heart and soul with every page.
The Bear and the Nightingale is a definite must read for all. For its dark enchanting tale will drag readers in deep. Never letting go…
Overall, I found Katherine Arden’s writing to be of superb quality. Visually enchanting scenes that contain action, suspense, danger, and sacrifice. The love found within is greater than any I have seen in books. I highly recommend this read to all.