Author: Michelle Diener.
Published: December 23rd 2013 by Michelle Diener.
Source: eARC from the author.
Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . .
The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself. Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them... She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response. It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind.
This story is a grown-up retelling from ‘East of the moon, west of the sun.’ Michelle contacted me to ask if I wanted to be a bèta-reader. I'm still honored she asked me and she even mentioned my name in the acknowledgement! The basic of this story:
Astrid is bought by an ice-bear to live in his castle for a year. Her father is greedy and her family is in need of money – and the enchanted ice-bear can provide for that. He is actually a prince, cursed by a troll to find a girl within a year. He must sleep in her bed, but she can’t see his face in the night: that’s when he returns to his human shape. Astrid is of course curious, but she only breaks this rule when the ice-bear (Bjorn) is wounded in battle. He is swept away by the troll and he is now forced to marry her daughter, making sure she will rule the country. Astrid isn’t planning on letting that happen. On her journey to this impossible place, Astrid finds out about her new strength and with a trick, she knows how to free him.
The first thing I liked about this book is Astrid. The only reason she accepts is to save some family members. Most of them are harsh and unkind, but her mother and younger brother have a special place. She is brave, fearless and she knows how to stand up for herself. It was interesting to see how she grows and develops into the character she is supposed to be. I liked her quick mind and temper, so she was definitely a character I was rooting for.
The first time I read this book as a bèta, I had a lot of trouble with Bjorn. He said and did certain things that made me dislike him: even so much that I hoped he would be an ice-bear forever. Michelle did some adjustments and they completed the story for me. It shows how frustrating it is for Bjorn to switch between ice-bear and human. I could understand his need for change, but I still liked how he gives Astrid space to adjust to the new situation. It was fun to see why he picked Astrid and how their fate was settled in a situation long ago.
Most retellings are YA and it was refreshing to read something that was more for adults. It made it very easy to connect with Astrid and I’m looking forward to perhaps more retellings from Michelle.