The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale
, , ,

, Book # 1
Del Rey Books
January 10th 2017
Hardcover
323
English
May 1, 2020 May 3, 2020

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.


About the book

The Bear and the Nightingale is a book set in the cold Russia of the 14th century where a patriarchal society still reigns. We follow the story of a landowning family, who, despite the high social level, suffers from hunger in winter. Their home is located in a northern village where winter lasts 7 months and is well hidden in the forest.

The family is made up of the father, Petr, mother, Marina and 4 children and the story begins with the father returning home and his wife gives him the news of being pregnant for the fifth time. Her nanny tells her that pregnancy will kill her because she is too weak, but the woman wants baby because the girl “will be like her.” Some time later the baby is born and named Vasilisa, Vasja for the family, but unfortunately the woman dies.

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