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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Crystal Midkiff on 02-04-17
I was swept away
This was such a wonderful story that I honestly got lost in it and it was unlike any book I have read. It was also familiar, in a way, and reminded me of stories my own grandmother used to tell me when I was little. This is a story with a strong protagonist, rich characters and an enchanting story that proves you are never too old for fairy tales. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially someone who loves folktales and especially on a cold night with warm tea handy!
34 of 36 people found this review helpful
By Jan on 01-28-17
Culture-Rich, Unusual, Captivating
This novel of Russian Folklore is beautifully written with smooth narration. Arden paints a great mental landscape with rich descriptions Russia and it's culture. If this is a fairy tale, it is an adult fairy tale.
The atmosphere is similar to Marillier's "Blackthorn and Grim," Joyce's "Some Kind of Fairy Tale," and "The Snow Child."
I love books that grab my attention from page one and maintain it until I hear "Audible hopes you have enjoyed this program." The Bear and the Nightingale did that for me.
52 of 56 people found this review helpful