ISBN - 9780987417664
Release date - December 23rd 2013
Find - Goodreads/BookLikes/AmazonUK/AmazonUS/Book Depository
'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 . . .'
A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows how much I love fairy tales and retellings which is why I leapt at the chance to read & review Mistress of the Wind, a retelling of the Norse fairy tale East of the Sun,West of the Moon. The original story is only about twenty pages long but gives plenty of scope for an expanded tale which is exactly what Diener has done, along with the added twist of making Astrid, the female main character, a more formidable girl/woman in her own right. Mistress of the Wind stays true to the original tale but more detail and background are given to make it a much longer read.
Bjorn is searching for the woman he believes will break the enchantment he has been placed under by the troll that married his father. He has one year to find her, in the guise of a giant white bear, and if he fails his future lies with the troll's daughter as her husband while she rules over his father's kingdom. Bjorn finds Astrid and as per the rules of the enchantment she accompanies him to his ice palace where she must stay for a year without laying eyes on him, either in his bear or human form. Of course, no-one can ever resist temptation and the inevitable happens, Bjorn is lost to her. However Astrid is not just your average girl from a fairy tale. In this version although she makes a lot of silly decisions she has power over the winds so with the help of Bjorn's allies & friends she sets out to find him. We then follow her journey to east of the sun and west of the moon, along the way she undergoes various trials and finally discovers who she is & how Bjorn seemed to know her. Although I loved the characters of Astrid and Bjorn, I think my favorites were the winds - especially North, who more than atones for his wrongdoings, and Jorgen the forest creature, a close friend of Bjorn's.
As Mistress of the Wind follows its predecessor so closely it's difficult to say much without giving things away but this was a thoroughly enjoyable retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon which is definitely worth reading either before or after this one if you're not already familiar with the story. Ms Diener's writing is delightful and so descriptive, especially in the latter half of the book when Astrid is traveling with the winds and I could have quite easily carried on reading for some time thanks to the wonderful world the characters inhabited brought to life by the author's writing style and obvious love of the original fairy tale. My only quibble, and the reason why I gave Mistress of the Winds four rather than five clocks, is that the story is described as an adult retelling but apart from one distinct mention of body parts, 'fade to black' scenes and numerous mentions of the word lover I can't quite understand why it's not classed as YA. Don't let this put you off though, it is one of my favorite retellings in the Beauty & the Beast/Cupid & Psyche vein and I will be buying a copy to add to my fairy tale collection and looking out for The Golden Apple, Michelle Diener's retelling of another Norse fairy tale, The Princess on the Glass Hill coming later this year.
As well as reading the original tale of East of the Sun, West of the Moon you could also try these retellings too, East by Edith Pattou (known as North Child in the UK), Ice by Sarah Beth Durst or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.
About the author
Michelle Diener writes historical fiction. Her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series, set in the court of Henry VIII, includes In a Treacherous Court, Keeper of the King’s Secrets and In Defense of the Queen.
Michelle’s other historical novels include Daughter of the Sky, The Emperor’s Conspiracy and Banquet of Lies (loosely connected to The Emperor’s Conspiracy).
Michelle’s first fantasy novel, Mistress of the Wind, was recently released in December 2013.
Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.
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10 copies of Mistress of the Wind, Kindle or print, winner's choice.
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Many thanks to Michelle Diener & Prism Tours for providing me with an e-galley for review via Netgalley!