East is a classic retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon combined a bit with Beauty and the Beast and Nordic mythology. If you’re looking for something to read after reading A Court of Thorns and Roses or watching Once Upon A Time, this might just be the book for you! I first came across it when it was released back in 2003 and I remember absolutely loving this book then, but I was a little worried that it wouldn’t hold up over the test of time. I recently re-read the audiobook so I could have a bit of a refresher before the sequel came out and loved it just as much - if not more - the second time around! Edith Pattou has an excellent way of describing things that’s poetic but not to the point of overkill; I especially love her description of Rose’s weaving and the things she makes - you can almost feel the hand woven fabric just by reading about it!
This story tells the tale of Rose, who is born as a replacement for a sister who died and how she ends up going along with a mysterious white bear in order to save her other sister’s life. The White Bear spirits her away to an enormous castle in the frozen tundra, where she is to remain indefinitely. At night, she gets a visitor that does nothing more than sleep in bed with her, but oddly she never sees their face. Aside from that oddity though, her mostly solitary life in the castle is pleasant enough with the two trolls caring for her and the White Bear to occasionally keep her company. But the mystery of who lays beside her at night gnaws at Rose day in and day out. Something tells her that she’s not supposed to see who it is, but she must know.
East was definitely a bit lengthy, but it’s so worth the read. It’s beautifully written and the sequel, West was just as good! It was fun to read something with a teenage heroine that never started out as a damsel in distress and always quietly takes charge and succeeds through sheer determination no matter the situation. Rose is by far one of my favorite literary heroines because she does what needs to be done and doesn’t complain or avoid things that she doesn’t want to do, even if it means leaving her family with a giant white bear to save them. If you’ve read East and its counterpart West and want more fairytale reads, check out this book list - it’s even sorted by fairy tale! Or if you're looking for more info on Edith Pattou and her books, check out her website!