East (novel)

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East (also known as North Child in the UK and Australia) is a 2003 novel by the author Edith Pattou. It is an adaptation of an old Norwegian folk tale entitled "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" and is an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults. The novel is written in a style similar to that of Brian Jacques, including the use of a change in point of view in each chapter.


When Arne married the superstitious Eugenia, he agreed to have seven children with her, one for each point of the compass, excluding North. Each direction foretells a different personality and Eugenia believes North is wild and uncontrollable. Also, Eugenia was told years before by a skjebne-soke ( a fortune teller) that any North Child she had would die crushed beneath an avalanche of ice and snow. Her favorite child, East-born Elise, dies young and Eugenia has another child to replace her, Rose. Rose feels out of place in her family, So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him--in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family--she readily agrees. The bear takes Rose to a distant castle, where each night she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she loses her heart to a polar bear, discovers her purpose of life, and realizes her travels have only just begun.


East is a deftly woven tapestry that melds traditional fairy tale motifs of both Beauty and the Beast and East of the Sun and West of the Moon, with the haunting icy lore of medieval northern lands. Told in a changing chorus of voices, including that of Rose, her hopeful brother Neddy, her regretful father, the charmed white bear, and the Troll Queen whose selfish wish is the catalyst that seals Rose’s fate, East will enchant any and all who venture within its pages. It is a tale for the Ages, and for all ages. Highly recommended. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert Review at Fantastic Fiction[1]

"Pattou's writing pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy..." --School Library Journal [2]

"Readers with a taste for fantasy and folklore will embrace Pattou's lushly rendered retelling....Handsomely evoking a landscape filled with castles, trolls, shamans and spellbound princes, the story will exercise its audience's imagination." --Publishers Weekly

"Rose is a sturdy character inside and out...and the pace does pick up in the second half — but only fitfully does this achieve the intensity of feeling or vividness of setting that drives the best of the recent flurry of retold romances." --Kirkus Reviews

"The story itself is gripping, endlessly so....Pattou certainly has made a successful fantasy out of a simple fairy tale: each character has a fleshed-out personality and the details of such work as map making and sailing ships among the icebergs come to life as she describes them." --KLIATT [3]


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