Those of you who are familiar with the Norwegian Fairy Tale EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON will recognize many elements of that story, since this novel is essentially a retelling of it. But what a wonderful job Jessica Day George does in bringing this story to life!
Not much is said about the nameless young woman who loses her prince to the Troll Princess in the original tale. But Ms. George spends a great deal of time at the beginning of the novel telling us about her and her life as a woodcutter’s daughter, at a time when everyone is near starvation due to the near-constant winter they have to endure.
And so we meet Lass as a baby and young child, and we understand her neglect by her mother and the weak father who stands by and lets it happen. When she is nine years old, her eldest brother finally returns home, prematurely sad and grey. And so we wonder why. Then Lass meets an enchanted animal, gains an unusual skill, her fame spreads, and one day a Polar Bear knocks at the door…
Beautifully told in limpid prose, Jessica Day George’s retelling of this Norwegian tale is a must-read. Five stars.