“When a woodcutter’s daughter known simply as “the lass” agrees to accompany a great white bear to his castle, she believes she has made a wise decision. After all, the bear has promised her family untold riches in exchange for a year of the lass’s company. Although she is given every luxury, the lass feels more a prisoner than a guest, and it’s not long before her contentment turns to unease. One by one the servants disappear, and the lass suspects the bear knows more than he is telling. In her quest to learn the truth, the lass unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that take her on a windswept journey beyond the edge of the world, to fight for the man she has only just discovered is her true love.”
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I had the opportunity to live in Norway for a summer so when I heard that this book was based on an old Norwegian fairytale (East of the Sun, West of the Moon) I couldn’t wait to start reading. Norway is truly a magical place, it was so easy to slip into the book and imagine the small cottage “the lass” lived in and also the palace out in the middle of a snowy nowhere. The story is reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast, but very unique in its own way. The Lass and her faithful companion Rollo are endearing and although she makes mistakes along the way, causing more harm than good, you are always rooting for her and Isborn (the polar bear prince) to somehow find a way to be together. The reason why our heroin is known simply as “the lass” is because her mother basically didn’t love her; she was tired of having kids and decided not to give her ninth child a name. Early on she is eventually given a name, which we don’t find out until the end. Throughout the book it talks about her name or lack thereof so much that I thought something important would happen when she finally reveals her name…nope. Although that was a little disappointing it didn’t take away from the magic of the book. I loved it and recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good fairytale!