The Bear and the Nightingale – Review


3 out of 5 stars

I didn’t really know a great deal about this book before I read it. I knew it was about Russian fairy tales, but other than that I was quite clueless.  I think I expected a light and enchanting tale, but what I got was quite dark and gritty (and, yes, I admit this book may have made me a little afraid when I had to upstairs in the dark by myself).

The Bear and the Nightingale follows Vasya, a young girl who has been raised by her nurse maid after her own mother died giving birth to her. She is raised hearing fairy tales, and so has a respect for them. She is also raised hearing that it is a woman’s duty to marry, to bear him children, and to look after their house. But does she take that? Nah. She doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do. She ain’t gonna conform to your arranged marriage, or to joining a convent. And when a young priest comes to her village, she is not swept up in the fear that he instills into her neighbors, instead continuing to pay respects to the dwindling household spirits.

While I enjoyed this book, I find it hard to decide on whether to give it 3 or 4 stars. I loved Vasya, and I really appreciated both the beautiful writing and the research gone into this book, but the main issue that I have is that I found myself a little bit bored half way through. The beginning started strong, and for some reason I was reminded of The Snow Child. The middle was quite meh, and then the ending was good. There are still things that I’m not sure about, like the whole necklace storyline. Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book for the most part.

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for giving me the chance to read this book*



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