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Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose's birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home... but she can't suppress Rose's true nature forever.
So when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it - in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family - she readily agrees.
Rose travels on the bear's broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart - and finds her purpose - and realizes her journey has only just begun.
Amazing book. This is another retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" (here's the link to the original fairy tale), like the book Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow that I reviewed a while ago. However... I was very put out after reading this, not because it was bad but because Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow seemed to be almost plagiarizing East!!!! GAH.
East was a lot more realistic and developed, and the switching of the first-person perspectives helped the reader get to know the family better - and was therefore a better justification of Rose's leaving home with the white bear, because you really got to care about them. I loved how the White Bear's perspective was expressed in disjointed, free-verse poetry... really made the whole thing more beautiful.
The trolls being beautiful and clever made them more formidable as opponents, unlike in Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, where they were stupid and garish, unable to make anything for themselves. The four winds in East were embodied by actual people, which was far awesomer (SHUT UP about my grammar) in my opinion, and made them all the more important.
Rose's family was just... amazingly lovable. Her superstitious, foolish mother, her father with a guilty conscience, Neddy with his bad poetry... the one thing I noticed was that there was never a section from Rose's mother's POV, which I thought was weird. Then again, Rose's relationship with her mother was... strained, because Rose was a "north-born".
As you can probably tell, I loved East... some really nice fantasy stuff going on here. I may look for more books by Edith Pattou in the near future... 5 of 5.