Rose has always felt out of place in her family, a wanderer in a bunch of homebodies. So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him—in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family—she readily agrees. The bear takes Rose to a distant castle, where each night she is confronted with a mystery. In solving that mystery, she loses her heart, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun.
Ever since I read Jessica Day George’s book “East of the Sun, West of the Moon” I have loved this particular fairy tale, most likely because it resembles Beauty and the Beast so much. This telling is creative and interesting, what with the “birth-direction” superstition and the way she describes the trolls, which was unlike anything I’d ever read or heard before. The characters aren’t all that memorable, and a little flat, which often happens in re-tellings of famous fairy tales. She does do Rose credibly, but most of the other characters are rather stereotypical, but that doesn’t make them less likeable in many cases. The story is told in a many-perspective view, mostly in Rose, but sometimes the bear, the troll, her brother, and her father. That was a little distracting, and I typically don’t like different perspectives while reading, it’s too jolting. It works, but I still would have preferred at least less perspectives to jump to and from. When all is said and done, this was an interesting and quick jaunt, but I did get tired of reading it, which is never good. I can’t really recommend it if you enjoy re-tellings, though many people really love this book. My best guess is that if you like young adult fiction and you like fairy tales, this is a fun read. If, like me, you want to find the best re-tellings of fairy tales, this one isn’t the best in my opinion for the fairy tale “east of the sun and west of the moon”.