East, by Edith Pattou

[Happy birthday, erectile Dad!]

I honestly thought I hadn’t read this book before; it was still in my head as ‘a book I need to read’, so when I found an inexpensive paperback copy, I grabbed it PDQ. Then, of course, I read the first twenty pages and thought, “This sounds awfully familiar.” I guess I did read it, or at least the first part of it, at one point a few years ago, but luckily I didn’t remember every single part of it. Edith Pattou is American; an Ohioan, to be precise (like me!); she has written two other YA books and one picture book. I don’t see that the third book in the YA trilogy ever got published, which is unfortunate.

(Ebba) Rose is the last of eight children; her mother is superstitious about birth direction, so all eight children were born facing different points on the compass rose. Rose, however, was not the east-born child they told her she was; she was actually a north-born, but her mother does not want to believe it because of a prophecy. The prophecy said that a north-born child of hers would die covered in ice and snow after a long journey. When Rose was old enough to make her own decisions, the family had a good deal of misfortune. Their (rented) farm was sold out from under them; an older daughter, Sara, became ill as well. However, a white bear (polar bear) comes and says that if Rose comes to live with him, their troubles will be ended. Rose’s mother is certain this will lead to her death, but the bear promises her safety. So Rose goes. Will she be safe? And why does the bear want her to live with him? Continue reading East, by Edith Pattou