East by Edith Pattou is a remarkable tale told by Ebba Rose, a young girl born to replace a her older sister, who was an east born, who suddenly died; Neddy; a Northwest born, her older brother who is closest to her; and their father, a Southeast born, secretly calls Ebba Rose Nyamh Rose, a mapmaker and farmer; The troll Queen, a troll who stole a mortal prince, and is determined to marry him; and White Bear, the mortal turned in to a bear as punishment for the Queen. Rose’s mother Eugenia is superstitious, and refuses to have a North born, for their wild, wandering, and bad behaved. Their family is poor, and when Roses older sister, Sara falls ill, and a white bear shows up at their family door, offering health and prosperity to her family, she agrees to go with him, against his families wishes.
At the castle she is homesick and spends her days sewing and weaving, a childhood habit. At night she sleeps with a stranger, lights turn off when he comes, and he’s gone when she awakens. She grows more homesick as time goes on, and eventually gets sick so white bear takes her for a visit home. When she returns, things go bad. This sparks another adventure, and this time Rose is the one searching. Along the way she meets kind families the Inuit Indians, and rude sailors.
Rose reminds me of my friends, parents, and myself; willing to do anything for our families, yet wild and mischievous. Neddy reminds me of one of my friends, he is kind, great at giving advice, friendly, hilarious, keeps you laughing, and smiling, yet doesn’t hesitate to scold, trustworthy, and got your back. He’s like a brother to me.
East is a beautiful spin off of Beauty and the Beast and remake of East of the Sun and West of the Moon. The book is for children 12 and up although I don’t agree. This book is the perfect bedtime story.