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4.8 186
by Edith Pattou

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Rose has always felt out of place in her family. So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him, 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 finds love, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun.



Rose has always felt out of place in her family. So when an enormous white bear mysteriously shows up and asks her to come away with him, 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 finds love, discovers her purpose, and realizes her travels have only just begun.

As fresh and original as only the best fantasy can be, East is a novel retelling of the classic tale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon," told in the tradition of Robin McKinley and Gail Carson Levine.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Weaves the essentials of the children's fairy tale 'East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon' into a rich tapestry that will resonate with readers . . . the stuff of epic tale telling."  —Booklist
* "Compelling . . . Pattou's writing pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy, inviting those unaccustomed to either genre to explore the frozen world of questing that she has so vividly created."  —School Library Journal, starred review
A Junior Library Guild Selection
An ALA Notable Book
An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Readers
Ohioana Book Award Winner
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

"A rich tapestry that will resonate with readers . . . . epic tale telling." (starred review)
Publishers Weekly
Readers with a taste for fantasy and folklore will embrace Pattou's (Hero's Song) lushly rendered retelling of "East of the Sun and West of the Moon." In an old Norwegian village, a highly superstitious mother tries to protect her youngest child, Rose, from a dire prophecy; as the various characters take turns narrating the story, it is readily apparent that no one else takes the superstitions seriously. Nevertheless, Rose is "different" in many ways, from her purple eyes to her passion for weaving, which leads her to make a cloak patterned with a "wind rose" (a mapmaker's symbol indicating the direction of the winds)She also seems to attract the attention of a white bear, and when the bear finally approaches her, offering to make her poor family prosper and to restore her ill sister's health if Rose will come away with him, she finds the offer impossible to resist. Pattou unfolds her story slowly and carefully, luring readers across many miles with the brave and determined Rose. Handsomely evoking a landscape filled with castles, trolls, shamans and spellbound princes, the story will exercise its audience's imagination. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
"Pattou's writing pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy..."
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2003: From the author of Fire Arrow and Hero's Song comes a retelling of the fairy tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" in nearly 400 pages. It's a tale that arises from several cultures, even from the classical Greek myth of Eros and Psyche. East takes place in a land very much like northern Europe some centuries back. There are five narrators—Father, Rose, Neddy (Rose's brother), the Troll Queen, and the White Bear. Rose is our heroine, the youngest of a large family, struggling with poverty. To save the family Rose goes off with the White Bear, who promises the family riches if Rose will come with him. Sound familiar? What's vastly different from "Beauty and the Beast" and other tales that are similar is the cold north, the ice, snow, white bear, trolls and so forth. We are definitely in another culture. The story itself is gripping, endlessly so, in all its forms. Pattou certainly has made a successful fantasy out of a simple fairy tale: each character has a fleshed-out personality and the details of such work as map making and sailing ships among the icebergs come to life as she describes them. The illustration on the cover, a color painting of a great polar bear with a lovely young woman beside him, will attract all who love fantasy. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2003, Harcourt, Magic Carpet, 507p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
Children's Literature
Fantasy novelist Edith Pattou takes a break from her "Songs of Eirren" sequence to pen this adventure story with roots in fairy tales and Nordic mythology. Rose is the eighth child in her family, born as a replacement to her deceased sister, Elise. Her mother is superstitious to the extreme that she insists each of her children be born facing a particular compass point. Contrary to her mother's plans, however, Rose enters the world from the North, an adventuress spirit destined to roam strange lands. When the white bear offers to spare the life of Rose's gravely ill sister and rescue the family from poverty if Rose will come to live with him, Rose sacrifices herself for the good of her family. Rather than leave Rose's fate in someone else's hands, though, Pattou gives her heroine the strength and courage of a modern woman. This girl can kick butt. Rose's determination leads her from her comfortable home to the mysterious arctic regions of the Troll Queen, whose curse has lain on white bear for one hundred fifty years. Related in the alternating point of views of Rose, her father and brother, the Troll Queen, and white bear, this fantasy adventure deserves kudos for creating memorable characters, and soaring beyond the traditional fairy tale. 2003, Harcourt, Ages 12 up.
— Christopher Moning
Kirkus Reviews
Using multiple narrators, Pattou expands the Scandinavian folktale "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" to epic length-adding little to the original. A white bear appears at a poor Norwegian farmer's door, promising a reversal of the family's fortunes in exchange for worrisomely fearless Rose. Away goes Rose on the bear's back, to a subterranean palace in "Fransk" where, eventually, she learns that the bear is an enchanted human prince. When he's swept off by a troll queen who's fallen in love with him, Rose, aided by a drunken sea captain, an Inuit shaman, and others, travels to the Arctic's far reaches to confront her, whereupon she conveniently destroys herself, leaving Rose and the bewildered prince free to settle into a happily-ever-after. Rose is a sturdy character inside and out, some in the supporting cast show engaging foibles, and the pace does pick up in the second half-but only fitfully does this achieve the intensity of feeling or vividness of setting that drives the best of the recent flurry of retold romances. (glossary) (Fiction. 11-15)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.24(d)
900L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Once on a time there was a poor farmer with many children.


EBBA ROSE WAS THE NAME of our last-born child. Except it was a lie. Her name should have been Nyamh Rose. But everyone called her Rose rather than Ebba, so the lie didn't matter. At least, that is what I told myself.

The Rose part of her name came from the symbol that lies at the center of the wind rose-which is fitting because she was lodged at the very center of my heart.

I loved each of her seven brothers and sisters, but I will admit there was always something that set Rose apart from the others. And it wasn't just the way she looked.

She was the hardest to know of my children, and that was because she would not stay still. Every time I held her as a babe, she would look up at me, intent, smiling with her bright purple eyes. But soon, and always, those eyes would stray past my shoulder, seeking the window and what lay beyond.

Rose's first gift was a small pair of soft boots made of reindeer hide. They were brought by Torsk, a neighbor, and as he fastened them on Rose's tiny feet with his large calloused hands, I saw my wife, Eugenia, frown. She tried to hide it, turning her face away.

Torsk did not see the frown but looked up at us, beaming. He was a widower with grown sons and a gift for leatherwork. Eager to show off his handiwork and unmindful of the difficult circumstances of Eugenia's recent birthing, he had been the first to show up on our doorstep.

Most of our neighbors were well aware of how superstitious Eugenia was. They also knew that a baby's first gift was laden with meaning. But cheerful, large-handed Torsk paid no heed to this. He just gazed down at the small soft boots on Rose's feet and looked ready to burst with pride.

"The fit is good," he observed with a wide smile.

I nodded and then said, with a vague thought of warning him,"'Tis Rose's first gift."

His smile grew even wider. "Ah, this is good." Then a thought penetrated his head. "She will be a traveler, an explorer!" he said with enthusiasm. So he did know of the first-gift superstition after all.

This time Eugenia did not attempt to hide the frown that creased her face, and I tensed, fearing what she might say. Instead she reached down and straightened one of the boot ties. "Thank you, neighbor Torsk," she said through stiff lips. Her voice was cold, and a puzzled look passed over the big man's face.

I stepped forward and, muttering something about Eugenia still being weak, ushered Torsk to the door.

"Was there something wrong with the boots?" he asked, bewildered.

"No, no," I reassured him. "They are wonderful. Eugenia is tired, that is all. And you know mothers-they like to keep their babes close. She's not quite ready for the notion of little Rose wandering the countryside."

Nor would she ever be. Though I did not say that to neighbor Torsk.

That night after we had pried Neddy from Rose's basket and gotten all the children to sleep, Eugenia said to me, "Didn't Widow Hautzig bring over a crock of butter for the baby?"

"She was only returning what you loaned her," I said.

"No, it was for Ebba Rose. Her first gift, I'm quite sure." Her voice was definite.

Eugenia did like to keep her children close, but it turned out she wanted to keep Rose closest of all. And that had everything to do with the circumstances of Rose's birth.


OUR FAMILY WASN'T ALWAYS poor. My grandfather Esbjorn Lavrans had a well-respected mapmaking business, and my father's father was a prosperous farmer. But Father had a falling-out with his family when he went to Bergen to be an apprentice to the mapmaker Esbjorn. My mother, Eugenia, was Esbjorn's daughter, which is how Father met her.

Father and Mother had eight children. Rose was the last-born and I was second to last, four years old when they brought Rose home from Askoy Forest. Some would say four is too young to remember, but I definitely have memories. Lots of them. I remember her smell, like warm milk and soft green moss. I remember the noises she'd make-gurgling like the creek we later took to calling Rosie's Creek because she fell into it so often; the clicking she made with her tongue, like a wren pecking at our chimney; the howls of frustration when she kept toppling over while learning to walk. Not that it took her long. She was running around on her short legs at just five months.

I also remember clearly the evening Mother and Father came home from an afternoon of herb hunting, and instead of herbs they were carrying a lumpy bundle that made funny noises.

My older brothers and sisters had been worried about Mother and Father because there had been a storm and they were much later than usual returning. I told everyone not to worry, that they had gone out to bring home the baby and that's why they were so late getting home.

My older sister Selme laughed. "Mother is still more than a month away from her lying-in time," she said. "And besides, everyone knows you can't just go pluck babies out of Askoy Forest," she added with a superior look.

But it turned out I was right after all.

When they finally came through the door, Mother looked very pale and sat down as soon as she could, holding the noisy thing on her lap. The others crowded around, but I hung back, waiting. When they'd all looked long enough, Father led me to Mother's side. When I gazed at the little scrunched-up face, I felt a peculiar glow of pride. Like I'd done something good. I knew it was Mother who'd brought this baby into the world (and she certainly looked worn out from doing it), but from that moment I felt like the wild little brown-haired baby was my very own gift-and that it would be my job to watch over her.

If I had known just how wild a thing she would turn out to be, I might have thought twice about taking her on. It's a funny thing. I think it was Mother and I who had the hardest time with Rose's wandering ways. But we both had different ways of living with it. Mother tried always to reel her in. To keep her close by. But for me, I knew it couldn't be done, so I just ached and felt sorry for myself when she'd disappear. That's the trouble with loving a wild thing: You're always left watching the door.

But you also get kind of used to it.


I COULD SAY THAT I FELT guilty and ashamed about the trouble I was always getting into when I was a child, driving my mother to her wit's end on a daily basis. But the truth is I never did feel either of those things.

I don't think it's because I was selfish or unfeeling. I just couldn't understand what all the fuss was about. What was a little spilled blood or a broken bone now and then?

I never set out to be disobedient. I just couldn't keep my thoughts, and then my feet, still. I'd see something-the azure flash of a butterfly's wing, a formation of clouds like a ship's mast and sails, a ripe yellow apple perched high in a tree-and I'd be off after it without a second thought.

Exploring ran in my blood. My grandfather Esbjorn was a mapmaker as well as an explorer. And my great-great-grandfather was one of the first Njordens to travel to Constantinople.

The only thing that gave me the slightest twinge of sadness was Neddy, with his exasperated, sorry-for-himself look when he found me after yet another time I'd run off without telling anyone.

"But I saw this rabbit with a tail so white it glowed," I'd try to explain (when I was old enough to put words to my feelings).

Neddy would just sigh and say that Mother wanted me in the kitchen straightaway.

"I'm sorry, Neddy," I'd say, wrapping my arms around his legs, watching the corners of his mouth for the smile I always managed to squeeze out of him. And then I'd go to the kitchen and Mother would scold me yet again.

Copyright © 2003 by Edith Pattou

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department,
Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

What People are Saying About This

"A rich tapestry that will resonate with readers . . . . epic tale telling." (starred review)
From the Publisher
"Weaves the essentials of the children's fairy tale 'East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon' into a rich tapestry that will resonate with readers . . . the stuff of epic tale telling."—Booklist

"Compelling . . . Pattou's writing pitches readers gracefully between myth and fantasy, inviting those unaccustomed to either genre to explore the frozen world of questing that she has so vividly created."—School Library Journal

Meet the Author

EDITH PATTOU is the author of East, and the two novels in the Songs of Eirren sequence: Hero's Song and Fire Arrow, a Booklist Top Ten Fantasy Novel of the Year, as well as Mrs. Spitzer's Garden, a picture book illustrated by Tricia Tusa. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

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East 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 186 reviews.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
This book is wonderful. A beautiful fairy tale that I didn't want to end. It transported me back to when I was young and obsessed with Andrew Lang's Fairy Books. The story is told in many different voices: Rose, the heroine; the white bear, the troll queen, Neddy, etc. Rose is a strong heroine risking life and limb to undo a horrible slight. She never quits. The white bear speaks in poetry, and one almost can pity the troll queen; she can't help that her love is evil; it's still her way to love. I highly recommend this book, and it is promptly going on my favorite list. I will be purchasing Edith Pattou's other books. Her writing touched my heart.
pinkfairytale More than 1 year ago
East vs. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow : So I know that lots of people confuse these books with each other and many think they are practically the same story. I also thought this until I read them one right after the other. While EAST begins with the tale of a superstitious mother who wants to birth each of her children at a different point of the compass ( except for north, because she was told by a fortune teller that her North born child would die), SUN and MOON, Ice and Snow begins with a girl being born into a family where the mother doesn't want her and refuses to name her. Both Rose (from East) and the nameless girl (from S.M.I.S.) have a loving favorite brother that they spend time with, but while EAST is told from more than one character's perspective, S.M.I.S is told from only the nameless girl's perspective. Because EAST is told from more than one perspective, I feel as though you get to know the characters better, and I also thought that the writing in EAST is much better than the writing in S.M.I.S. In S.M.I.S. the nameless girl is able to speak to animals (because a white Reindeer kissed her after giving her the gift of a name - a name in which we do not find out until the end of the book), which is why she is able to communicate with the bear that whisks her away. In contrast, the bear in EAST is able to communicate with all people. In both books the girl's family's are promised something if the girls will go and live in an Ice Castle with the bear for 1 year. In both cases, the girls leave home to live in an Ice Castle, but while the girl with no name is allowed to bring her beloved pet wolf, Rose isn't allowed to bring anything. Although both leading ladies befriend the bears and understand there to be some sort of enchantment, nameless girl pesters the bear and others, constantly searching for the answer, while Rose is quiet and tries to figure out things on her own. While at the ice castle both girls encounter servants, but while Rose encounters two trolls, nameless girl encounters many servant creatures including a fawn. Rose and nameless girl also are given a chance to return home for a short visit, but while Rose returns for a moth to visit her family, nameless returns for about five days (and only because she thinks her father is dying). At the Ice Castle at night both girls also have a visitor that sleeps beside them although they cannot see it and do not know what it is.SPOILER. Eventually both girls give into their curiosity and use a candle to look at their nightly visitor, realizing it is a handsome prince. Even though both princes are taken away from the girls to marry a troll princess, Rose sets off immediately to find her prince with help along the way from a lady and her daughter, a sea captain, and a Eskimo, while the girl without a name sets off to find her prince with the help of three old ladies, and the North,South,East, and West winds. A white Parka plays a major role in S.M.I.S. while there isn't even a white parka mentioned in EAST. The endings in both books are rather the same and both stories are a bit edgy because of the element of the unknown bedside partner. The stories both remind me of Beauty and the Beast, but I have to say I would choose EAST over S.M.I.S. because I thought that it had more depth and the writing was at a higher level than the other book's writing. Although S.M.I.S did have many more elements contributing to the story to make it more interesting; Both books were good reads. There were quite a few more small elements that separated the Books from each other, but sadly, I didn't have enough room to write about them : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
East is a must-read book. My friend reccomended this to me and im so glad she did. This book had me staying up until two am to read it, and had me czptivated all throughout the book. You definitly need to read this book, its fantastic
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story.is beautifully written and imagined. The enormous research and dedication of the author is evident in even the smallest topic she introduces. She weaves an authentic picture of each culture and region through the eyes of realistic, lovable characters. It is, however, far from fast-paced. Pattou's style kept me reading, but there are some significant lulls in the plotline. The pace is relaxed and plodding, but somehow also addictive. Highly recommended for a cold winter day by the fire!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
East has always been one of my favorite books to read and, as many have mentioned, it is one that I love to read over and over. The book has a multitide of characters that draw you into their tale with their couragous, curious, and vengeful voices. East is a lovely adaptation and retelling of the old Nordic tale: East of the Sun and West of the Moon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great adventure story, but lacked a little in the romance department. I wish there were more "love" moments between Rose and the White Bear. I was glad it had a happy ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book once when I was younger and loved it. I recently had to do a project for my English class using any book I wanted. I had been looking for this book for quite some time because I had forgotten it's title. I finally found it right at the time when I was starting the project and decided to read it again. It was just as good the second time; I once again fell in total love with the characters... Neddy, Rose, Charles... I would gladly read this book again :) I highly reccommend it!! :) Happy reading, ~Bee
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A unique and unexpected twist to Beauty and the Beast. Not your typical fairy tale retelling, which is why I enjoyed this book so much!! In the nook version, there were some typos; but it wasnt so bad that i got annoyed.
WordWanderer More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite books that I can reread over and over again. A retelling of an old story with heartwarming characters.
schsreader0 More than 1 year ago
Rose’s mother (Eugenia) had a superstition that a north born child would face a life that was wild and uncontrollable. Rose was a north born child, but her mother tried to hide it and say she was east born. An east born child was said to live a peaceful and tame life. When Rose is asked to travel with a white bear in exchange for her sister to become well again, she decides it is best to travel with him to the north. However, when they are in the north Rose breaks a “condition”, and the white bear turns back into a man. Once the bear turned back into a man he was taken away by a queen. Rose immediately sets out on foot to find him, and eventually finds him east of the sun and West of the moon. Together they fall in love, and create their destination from there. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about fairy tales. I personally did not like this book at all, but I also learned that I don’t enjoy reading fairy tales. This book is full of adventure, and makes you think while you are reading. It also represents a lot of themes that are important in everyday life.
Indy25 More than 1 year ago
This is, by far, one of the most enjoyable books I have read in some time. I don’t care if am a decade older than the intended age group—I defy any adult to read this book and not enjoy the simplistic beauty of it. It is a beauty and the beast story, and a wonderful one. Rose is a brave and willful teenager who makes a grand sacrifice in her family’s time of need. The white bear is her friend, guardian and with time, love interest. A prince enchanted, he suffers from a terrible curse and Rose is key to his freedom. The story is beautifully written. Instead of focusing on the curse of appearances, the bear’s dilemma is deeper and far more tragic. The author’s writing truly sings when describing his turmoil to live as a bear but retain his humanity. Rose is breath of fresh air in an era of selfish, spoiled female protagonists. If I had a complaint, and it is a small one--is that the statutes of the bear’s curse are not all explained to the reader. Some are hinted at better than others. This book is worth every penny. Read it and enjoy.
Veva_Corona More than 1 year ago
I first read the very short version of this tale when I was about 7yrs old and it became my favorite. I found this book when I was about 16 yrs old and it is still one of my favorites. The characters are well written, the emotions are well displayed, and the reader is in a beautiful world of enchanting mountains and attractive, dangerous trolls. I will continue to re-read this book and I will definitely read this book to my children.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVE this book! I really wish they had it for the nook though so I could have it every where any time. But, anyway, this is one of my favorites, the plot and characters are well developed and there are tons and tons of description. You should read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
its great and you wont want to put it down but it is really very similar to "sun and moon, snow and ice"
Scotti_LeeMarie More than 1 year ago
This was a fabulous adventure. It has been a long time, measured over many books read, since I felt the need to sit back and savor the story. With the various settings that this it takes place in, the strong protagonist, and the writing that makes you feel like you are in all of this places right along with her, this is definitely one of those unforgettable tales that you will want to recommend to your friends and read over again!
Epic_Insanity More than 1 year ago
"East" is a book that you will want to read again-I know I did. I found it on a dusty shelf in the junior high library when I was but a youngster, I being one of the only students to traverse the exciting world of books. After reading it, I swore to purchase my own copy one day so that I might enjoy it whenever I desired. Five years later, I did just that when I accidentally discovered it on sale at our beloved B&N. I reread it to experience the ride all over again. And what a ride it was. Pattou tells her story from the narrating points of multiple characters: the protagonist, Rose, her favorite brother (she has many siblings) and father, the White Bear depicted on the book cover, and even the Troll Queen, a character whose interference in the storyline becomes known over time. By taking the stand point of many characters, Pattou had created a completely sound, full storyline. Not to mention, the detail put into the novel is clearly shown in the knowledge spent on the father's map industry and his love for wind roses. There is also the timeless addition of magic that makes this book one to fly through. The topic of finding one's place in the world is introduced, causing the reader to internally ponder. As the reader journeys with Rose, they begin to see a wonderful world unfold and also the awkwardness with which a teenage Rose tries find where she belongs. Rose's mother remains a stumbling block in her daughter's quest for self-realization, asserting that Rose is not to be one of the wandering children that we've all come to know and love for their adventurous side. "East" is exciting, mysterious, and even romantic. This novel does not stand out as the everyday teenage read, but it should be found on young adult bookshelves everywhere. Pattou's book is all you need to find a truly astounding fiction novel with a splash into the world of magic.
Anonymous 6 months ago
A very good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book with amazing charicters and i absolutly love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had me constantly on my toes waitimg for the next part, I didn't want it to be over!
adventurerHC More than 1 year ago
This book is an adventure, and one of the few books I can reread once a year and go on a journey that I truly enjoy, each time I reread it I fall deeper in love with this book 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Had lots of meaning was very deep and heartfelt.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book i've been reading it since i was in middle school alnd it never gets boring to me. The family the love and loyalty through out thd book were so touching. This is a must read in my opinion
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago