When a simple woodcutter Jarl and his wife Frida have their ninth child, Frida is displeased that it is another girl. In fact she is so displeased that she doesn't even give the child a name. The child is simply called "pika" (Norwegian for girl) or "lass." One day her brother Askeladen comes running in with news that the fabled white reindeer has been spotted. Whoever catches this creature will be granted a wish of anything they want. When the lass finds the reindeer trapped in brambles, she isn't overcome with greed, instead she is overcome with compassion and frees the reindeer. When asked what her wish will be the lass picks one of the simplest wishes out there, a name. The reindeer whispers to her the most beautiful name and also bestows upon her the gift of speaking to animals. She loves her gift of speaking with animals, but never shares her beautiful name with anyone, not even her favorite brother Hans Peter. Then, during one of the worst snow storms ever, an isbjorn (a great white bear) tumbles into the lass's cottage and asks her to come stay with him in a palace for a year and a day. The lass is leery, but the bear promises her family great riches in return for her company. Not wanting to disappoint her family the lass agrees and sets of on a journey with the isbjorn and her faithful pet wolf Rollo. When the lass reaches the palace she is amazed. The palace is made of ice and she can tell it holds many secrets. The biggest secret is the identity of the man that comes and lays in bed with her every night. One night the lass is overcome by curiosity and looks at the mysterious sleeper. Little does she know this cost her the loss of her loved one. Determined to find her true love she travels east of the sun and west of the moon until she finds him. Will she get her love back, or will her efforts be in vain?
This was an amazing fairy tale. The book was very well written and the story line was awesome. I have never read the Norwegian fairy tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, that this book is based on, but nonetheless this was an amazing re-creation. I loved how the lass was such a simple character, yet she was so special. There were many mysteries intertwined into the book, which made it even more entrancing. If you can just imagine The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe mixed with The Princess Academy you've pretty much got Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. I highly recommend this magical book to anyone looking for a great read. Bravo to Jessica Day George on a book very well written and a hard to forget story!