The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale

by Katherine Arden

Overview: Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

Linda Smither (06/20/18): After slogging through the 800 page "The Kennedy Women" non-fiction (which was very interesting), I needed a light read. The Bear and The Nightingale did not disappoint. It's Russian folk tale driven, so there are lots of mythical creatures....or are they mythical... (?)This is a fun fantasy where the good guys sometimes are bad and the bad guys sometimes are good. Well written with lots of good visuals what life was like in medieval Russia.

P.S. Even if you're not interested in this book, check out the Authors biography, her determination to write this novel is heart warming. Three 1/2 stars!
Rating: ***+

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