EAST by Edith Pattou

Also called North Child


Since the day she was born, it was clear she had a special fate. Her superstitious mother keeps the unusual circumstances of Rose’s birth a secret, hoping to prevent her adventurous daughter from leaving home…but she can’t suppress Rose’s true nature forever.

EAST by Edith PattouSo when an enormous white bear shows up one cold autumn evening and asks teenage Rose to come away with it- in exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family- she readily agrees.

Rose travels on this bear’s broad back to a distant and empty castle, where she is nightly joined by a mysterious stranger. In discovering his identity, she loses her heart- and finds her purpose- and realizes her journey has only just begun.”

This is a book I’ve reread countless times. I read it first when I was about nine, and I read it again last night, and I saw the recommended age was twelve and above! It isn’t as well known as it deserves to be. It’s a retelling of the Norwegian folk tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

There’s a quote in the front that I think sums up my thoughts pretty well:

“Pattou has brought the tale of an enchantment, a Troll Queen, a talking polar bear, and a fabulous ice castle so completely to life that it hardly seems like fantasy.”

Bank Street Bookstore Bookmark 

It’s incredibly real. It’s not comically ‘talking polar bear’ and not Disney-movie-style ‘ice palace’ and ‘enchantment’. It’s not hilariously ugly ‘Troll Queen’. It’s very, very real because it’s all so very different. It’s told in different point of views, but mainly from the point of view of Rose, who is the main character of this story. You follow her from a really young age, where a lot of the talking is done by her family, and then it moves to mainly her, with bursts of the Troll Queen and, of course, our White Bear (the talking polar bear), who is the second biggest character- not speaking role wise, but plot wise. The book is quite thick, 507 pages, but please don’t let that put you off! It’s incredible. It’s got quite a heavy element of superstition- it’s her mother’s fault a lot of this happens, all because her mother is so superstitious.

Age? Well, as I said earlier- I read it when I was nine years old and I was fine (but I’m an incredibly obsessive reader)- but the recommended age is 12 and I think that’s good. This is one of those timeless reads that you can read whenever, though!


Author Edith Pattou official web site

WIKI site of EAST (aka North Child)

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