Saturday, October 17, 2009

East by Edith Pattou

Genre: YA Fiction

One Word Review: In-depth

First Line: “I found the box in the attic of an old farmhouse in Norway.”

Synopsis: “In the rural villages of Norway, there is an ancient belief that children inherit the qualities of the direction in which they are born. Nymah Rose, the last daughter of eight siblings born to a poor mapmaker and his superstitious wife, was a North-born baby. It is said that North-born babies are wild, unpredictable, intelligent, and destined to break their mothers' hearts because they all leave hearth and home to travel to the far ends of the earth. To keep her close, Rose's mother lied and told her she had been born of the obedient and pliable East. But destiny cannot be denied. One day, a great white bear comes to the mapmaker's door to claim Rose's birthright.” –GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This is a retelling of an old Norwegian fairy tale called “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” I was first introduced to this story when I read (and loved) Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.

Pattou’s retelling really takes on a life of its own and it was easy not to compare it with George’s version. Overall, I really liked the book, but felt it was a little long in parts. Pattou provides a really in-depth version of the story, which gives you the opportunity to really get to know the characters. The story rotates between five different points of view (Rose, White Bear, her Father, her brother Neddy and the Troll Queen). In a way I was grateful for the rotating narratives, it helped move the story along, and also gave you an insight to a lot of the characters that you normally wouldn’t have. On the other hand it was almost a bit too much, I would have preferred maybe only two. I liked Rose, thought she was a smart character who makes the best of her situation. She teaches herself new skills, languages and even how to play musical instruments. I liked the white bear, although I felt that they cared about each other but not in a romantic way, so that left me wanting more.

If you like re-tellings then you will probably enjoy this. I would also highly recommend
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.


  1. My good friend just recently told me how much she liked this book. Since this is a Newbery, I will definitely get to it sometime.

  2. This is one of my favorite retellings! I'm glad you liked it so much, and that you were willing to get through it- it's a longer read! :)

  3. I'll have to look into both retellings. I love fairy tales retellings. Great review!

  4. I'm a HUGE Norwegian geek. I didn't even really read your synopsis, but I saw the word Norway, and I knew I had to find this. :)

  5. Hey Kath and Jess I nominated you ladies for an award at


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