Book: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogy
Published January 10th 2017 by Del Rey Books
The Bear and the Nightingale
Christmas is the time of year when we all long for the snow and cozy winter evenings under the blankets by the fireplace with a cup of tea or coffee. So if you are thinking of a book that is perfect for this time of year, be sure to read our review and recommendations of a very magical book, The Bear and the Nightingale by Catherine Arden.
The extraordinary Vasya Petrovna
Arden takes us to the Russian wasteland where the snowdrifts are higher than the houses. She throws us into the wide world of fairy tales. The story introduces us to Vasya and her family. Having no mother, she was raised by her nanny Dunya, who tells her and her family fairy tales every night. But Vasya Petrovna is not an ordinary girl and she sees things that others do not. Every page of this book is steeped in magic, the whole story is based on Russian folklore. Much of the book is devoted to religion. There is a clash between pagan customs and the newly introduced Christianity. When Vasya’s father brings his new wife Anna to Lesnaya Zemlya, she is ready to do anything to eradicate the people’s faith and impose Christianity once and for all.
Will people be able to forget the familiar spirits, the immortal Kashchei, Baba Yaga and Morozko? I liked that we follow life in Lesnaya Zemlya even before Vasya is born and she grows up before our eyes. This gives the book itself an added charm. We also see what the women’s place was in the house and how difficult it is for Vasya to follow her destined path. A very warm book that goes hand in hand with Russian history, well-developed characters and a dash of love. A wonderful prelude to the “Winternight” trilogy.
If for some reason you missed the magic of “The Bear and the Nightingale” if you miss the blanket of winter snow, or if you just want to read it again, I recommend a cup of hot chocolate and a fluffy blanket. The coziness that the story creates is amazing and somehow close.