The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Captivating and boldly imaginative, with a tale of sisterhood at its heart, Rena Rossner's debut fantasy invites you to enter a world filled with magic, folklore, and the dangers of the woods.Raised in a small village surrounded by vast forests, Liba and Laya have lived a peaceful sheltered life - even if they've heard of troubling times for Jews elsewhere. When their parents travel to visit their dying grandfather, the sisters are left behind in their home in the woods.But before they leave, Liba discovers the secret that their Tati can transform into a bear, and their Mami into a swan. Perhaps, Liba realizes, the old fairy tales are true. She must guard this secret carefully, even from her beloved sister.Soon a troupe of mysterious men appear in town and Laya falls under their spell-despite their mother's warning to be wary of strangers. And these are not the only dangers lurking in the woods...The sisters will need each other if they are to become the women they need to be - and save their people from the dark forces that draw closer.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood Details

TitleThe Sisters of the Winter Wood
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 25th, 2018
PublisherRedhook
ISBN-139780356511436
Rating
GenreFantasy, Magical Realism, Fiction, Adult, Young Adult

The Sisters of the Winter Wood Review

  • karen
    January 1, 1970
    man, i was so looking forward to this - it seemed, from the description, to be exactly my kind of book; one blending fairytale sensibilities with realworld atrocities à la Gretel and the Dark, with girls shapeshifting into bears and swans, and coming as it did in an envelope full of bear n’ swan confetti and GOLDEN FEATHERS, Y’ALL!!!and, because those bears are too good at camouflaging themselves:feel free to read my palm!knowing it was an unusual blend of rossetti’s goblin market, jewish folklo man, i was so looking forward to this - it seemed, from the description, to be exactly my kind of book; one blending fairytale sensibilities with realworld atrocities à la Gretel and the Dark, with girls shapeshifting into bears and swans, and coming as it did in an envelope full of bear n’ swan confetti and GOLDEN FEATHERS, Y’ALL!!!and, because those bears are too good at camouflaging themselves:feel free to read my palm!knowing it was an unusual blend of rossetti’s goblin market, jewish folklore and history (anti-jewish pogroms in moldavia and ukraine), i was looking forward to something dark and surprising. and it was surprising, just not in a way that pleased me, although it clearly pleased many other readers, so feel free to disregard any and all of my own personal gripes. it is sort of dark historical fantasy, but its front-and-center taxon is YA fantasy romance. even though it lists and is priced as adult fiction, it does not seem to offer as much to an adult reader as it would to a teen: the characters are teen girls, very sheltered, whose parents are called away unexpectedly, and they are forced to take responsibility for themselves for the first time - keeping themselves fed and out of trouble, but also with their strict, religious parents out of town, they’re free to let their repressed sexuality off the chain a bit, and even though people in their village are going missing and the news of the pogroms targeting jews reaches them, that is largely in the background, and it really is mostly a story of duty and desire as it relates to boys - liba likes a boy who is tender and chaste and devout, but she knows he is not who her parents would choose for her husband. meanwhile, laya is seduced by a bad boy and made giddy by the temptations of fruit and freedom, and they are both discovering their shapeshifting abilities (i.e. their changing bodies); liba = bear, laya = swan, which are manifesting alongside all of these confusing new feelings. so, thematically, it’s very YA: a coming-of-age, emotional/sexual awakening story, where the parents are conveniently absented so the sisters can begin to make their own decisions and take on adult responsibilities and their characters can be tested for the first time as they become independent young women. but the balance is heavily slanted towards the individual rather than the historical - there is so much time spent on the inner battle of permitting/suppressing the body’s urges, and liba being ashamed of her curves, her appetite (for food), her sensuality, her wild inner self, and so little time spent on, you know, the ethnic massacres occurring offstage. did i want graphic descriptions of torture and murder? no, but it’s such a superficial treatment of historical brutality - i thought it would be used as more than a backdrop for romance. if this is supposed to be adult fiction, the expectation is that it will explore themes more meaty than ‘first kisses’ and ‘establishing an identity apart from the family.’ i personally find the romance parts of books tedious, so a book with this much “will they or won’t they?/should we or shouldn’t we?” is wasted on me. and it’s even worse when it occurs in laya’s chapters because her POV is written entirely in verse: his lips touch mineand everything around usdisappears. I drink him in,ravenous, I can’t get enoughof his lips, I nip at themand tug at his tonguewith my teeth,sucking on his lipslike they are lifeand air,like I am thirsty and his lipsare an oasisin the desert.I feast on them.On him. As everything around me spins.He breaks the kiss,both of us breathless, eyes wild,lips swollenand red.I shake my headand rub my eyestrying to clearthe glare, the fog.I lean in againso close, my lipsalmost at his,and beg for more.there is never any reason given for the decision to write her segments in verse, and the whole “everything is poetry!” mentality so pervasive these days is bad enough when it’s all that kissyface stuff, but the “i have found the return key!” attitude is even more baffling when it’s fancying up life's most banal moments:Liba didn’t wake upearly this morninglike she usually does.I’m worried about her.I’ve never seen herlike this.Sad, quiet, thoughtful.So I get upand do the chores,and let her sleep.so that’s where i’m at: a crank who’s too old to be reading about teenagers in love, too widely-read to be impressed by metaphors already encountered elsewhere, too appreciative of the dark and gritty to have it be sidelined. unless you are me, sleepwalking, you are a different reader with different preferences - fans of The Weight of Feathers would probably dig this. i will say that i liked the author’s note very much, in which rossner discusses her intentions and inspirations, both historical and literary. i wish more of that had found its way into the story. come to my blog!
    more
  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    This is literally one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen in my life.Thank you so much to Orbit for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
  • James Tivendale
    January 1, 1970
    Every family has a secret... and every secret tells a story. I received an advanced reader copy of The Sisters of the Winter Wood in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Rena Rossner and Orbit Books for this opportunity.The titular sisters and their parents live close to the village of Dubossary and reside in a house that is close to the woods. They are a Jewish family in a tale that is like a melting pot of reality, Jewish mythology and a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The sisters L Every family has a secret... and every secret tells a story. I received an advanced reader copy of The Sisters of the Winter Wood in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank Rena Rossner and Orbit Books for this opportunity.The titular sisters and their parents live close to the village of Dubossary and reside in a house that is close to the woods. They are a Jewish family in a tale that is like a melting pot of reality, Jewish mythology and a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The sisters Laya and Liba are very different in personalities. This can even be seen in the way that their chapters are presented. Liba is the older, more serious, religious and over-analytical sister and her point of view chapters are written in a way you would expect from a modern fantasy novel. Detailed and explaining to the best of her knowledge what is happening in the world. Laya, her younger sister is daring, free, floaty and ambitious. Her sections are presented in a poetic stanza-like quality. Her chapters feel like a breeze in the air compared to the deeper and more thought-provoking chapters of her sibling. She occasionally repeats herself in a dreamlike state. "I've had too much wine.Too much fruit.And no answers.But I just wantto kiss him againand againand again."Towards the beginning of the novel, their parents inform them of what is up until that point secret mind-blowing family knowledge and then leave them to fend for themselves in the woods. Mami tells Liba to protect her younger sister from the swans. This is a magical, enchanting, haunting and mysterious debut featuring anti-semitism, enchantments, peculiar love stories, bizarre fruits and unsolvable murders in a small quaint settlement.The elements of magic and mystery were amazing. Rossner's imagination is heightened and colourful yet it is written in a way where people who can become cats, bears, swans and even goblins fits the world expertly and never seems forced or silly. I believe the differences between the two point of view perspectives with Liba's matter of fact views and Laya's cloudy dreamlike take on reality allow readers to open their imagination. Some of the scenes reminded me of a dark Disney fairy tale. The beginning starts at a steady pace. It features short sharp chapters ranging from 1 to 14 pages so it's always addictive and easy to read one more scene. The narrative features Hebrew, Yiddish and Ukranian words and phrases. It does feature a glossary of what these words mean at the back of the book but as a guy who watches foreign films (especially Chinese) without subtitles so I can follow the emotions instead of the meaning I just let it flow and took it in and therefore was familiar with certain phrases at the end. This is an alien, poetic and enchanted world so not knowing the meanings of some of the peculiar words seemed to fit the mise en scene. The only real negative I have about this narrative is that in certain chapters around the middle it seemed to go from Liba "I love this boy, he kissed me and it was great." Laya "I kissed this boy, I want to kiss him again." This seemed to go on for about 4-5 chapters and I'm not really into lovey-dovey romance in my fantasy. I can see why the author had these sections and they do add to the overall progression arcs for both the sisters but I just wish that they had other actions in between. The love seemed a bit too in my face! At this point, I did have to force myself to carry on but I did because I'd heard so many great things about this novel. This is a complex and unpredictable tale with a spectacular finale and I'm glad I carried on reading it. I read The Sisters of the Winter Wood in 3 days and that is including the fact I struggled with a handful of romance chapters. It analysed a Hansel and Gretal vibe from the beginning and some events here aren't that far away from that classic tale. Nobody and nothing is safe in the woods and the two girls are always running off into this enchanted forest. Whether to rescue each other or for their own needs. This really was the sort of novel I needed to read right now. It's excellent, perhaps more suited for younger and female readers however there are dark moments. One scene to do with blood-sucking and poisoning in particular. The trees are alive, the swans are trying to kidnap someone, the bears might be murderers, the new boys in town are charming women before they disappear. There is so much going on and it is excellent. The Sisters of the Winter Wood will be a huge hit, perhaps as popular as The Bear and the Nightingale. I can't recommend it enough. It doesn't get a higher rating because of the romance force-fed action in the middle but that's my personal taste and I still highly recommend it.
    more
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    My official review! Do NOT miss this book if you enjoy languorously paced, character-driven dark fairy tales and fantasies like "The Bear and the Nightingale" or "Uprooted.""This dark fairy tale about sisterly love and Jewish strength and courage, set against the backdrop of a deep and deadly winter forest, will haunt me for a long time. A powerful, emotional debut."
    more
  • Roman Clodia
    January 1, 1970
    If you enjoy modern whimsical re-tellings of folklore and fairy tales with a smattering of history (here Jewish pogroms in pre-Revolutionary Russia/Ukraine) then this might be for you. I liked the intentions but found this too YA and unsophisticated for my tastes.The two sisters, especially, are schematic: Liba is bear-like, dark, aligned with her father, and tells her story in prose; Laya is swan-like, white-blonde, aligned with her mother, and narrates in 'poetry' (really, though, this is just If you enjoy modern whimsical re-tellings of folklore and fairy tales with a smattering of history (here Jewish pogroms in pre-Revolutionary Russia/Ukraine) then this might be for you. I liked the intentions but found this too YA and unsophisticated for my tastes.The two sisters, especially, are schematic: Liba is bear-like, dark, aligned with her father, and tells her story in prose; Laya is swan-like, white-blonde, aligned with her mother, and narrates in 'poetry' (really, though, this is just prose broken up with just a few words per line: there's no rhythm, stanzas, poetic form or anything else to make it 'poetry'.)The myths and folkloric elements are a mix of classical Greek (Leda and the swan), Hebrew, Russian/Ukrainian, and jumbled up with Christina Rossetti's 'Goblin Market' though in lots of ways this is far less dark and ambiguous than the originals.The end, especially, where love is the cure for everything is too pat and unsatisfying.Worth a read but don't expect anything challenging or sophisticated.Proof via Amazon Vine
    more
  • Katya de Becerra
    January 1, 1970
    This book is one of my most highly anticipated debuts of 2018! I'm absolutely enthralled by it - months ahead of its release! So much that I've pre-ordered my copy - and so should you.
  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not sure there are enough superlatives to describe this book. First, there's the magnificent cover. It sets the tone for the book better than any cover I've seen. The story was beautifully written--much of it in a prose poem style that works fantastically well to convey the thoughts and conversation of the characters. Two girls lost in the woods. How many fairy tales have had that theme? But this book twists and turns the cliche into something breathtaking and fascinating and new. (See how m I'm not sure there are enough superlatives to describe this book. First, there's the magnificent cover. It sets the tone for the book better than any cover I've seen. The story was beautifully written--much of it in a prose poem style that works fantastically well to convey the thoughts and conversation of the characters. Two girls lost in the woods. How many fairy tales have had that theme? But this book twists and turns the cliche into something breathtaking and fascinating and new. (See how many superlatives I've already used?) One of my favorite scenes describes a Shabbat dinner. The food, the table settings, the people around the table, and love in the room--all were unforgettable. I'm not Jewish, so I also appreciated the opportunity to learn something of a religion I'm not that familiar with, a time I know little about, and a place I know nothing about. Such a lovely book. I'm convinced it will be an instant classic.
    more
  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Orbit in exchange for an honest review.Blog | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram | Youtube | Twitch
  • Adam Sockel
    January 1, 1970
    There are not many books I can think of that so beautifully tell a story of family, love, magic, pain and culture like this. Rena has created a powerful story of two sisters, bound by the unique magic that both connects them and sets them apart. Equal parts prose and poetry, the dizzying, circular story reminds me Wintersong by S Jae-Jones as well as And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich. All of these stories keep you guessing and somewhat confused until you reach the final page and can, quit There are not many books I can think of that so beautifully tell a story of family, love, magic, pain and culture like this. Rena has created a powerful story of two sisters, bound by the unique magic that both connects them and sets them apart. Equal parts prose and poetry, the dizzying, circular story reminds me Wintersong by S Jae-Jones as well as And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich. All of these stories keep you guessing and somewhat confused until you reach the final page and can, quite literally, see the full forest through the trees. A modern day fairy tale in the finest sense of the word.ARC sent in preparation for an upcoming episode of the Professional Book Nerds podcast
    more
  • ↠♥☾ Kayleigh ☽♥↞
    January 1, 1970
    "'He is a hunter, or did you not know that? All men are beasts inside. Some just show it differently than others.'" Liba and Laya are two Jewish sisters that live in a small village surrounded by forest. When there is a knock on the door one night, it wakes Liba up, and as she eavesdrops she hears and sees more than she thought would be possible. Her grandfather is dying. And Liba's father is needed at his side. After hearing this news, Liba's father reveals his true self; a giant bear with dar "'He is a hunter, or did you not know that? All men are beasts inside. Some just show it differently than others.'" Liba and Laya are two Jewish sisters that live in a small village surrounded by forest. When there is a knock on the door one night, it wakes Liba up, and as she eavesdrops she hears and sees more than she thought would be possible. Her grandfather is dying. And Liba's father is needed at his side. After hearing this news, Liba's father reveals his true self; a giant bear with dark fur and blue eyes. Before her parents leave for Kupel, Liba's mother tells her the family's deep secret: her father is a bear, and her mother is a swan. Laya will also be a swan one day. And Liba... Liba will soon become a bear. Terrified of managing without her parents, and even more terrified of her own true nature, Liba does what is necessary to prevent Laya from finding out the truth. To be honest, my synopsis doesn't give this book justice. It only shows one small portion of the novel and it's story, but I'm not entirely sure my limited semantics will allow me to put into words just how unreal The Sisters of the Winter Wood is. This novel is a dark fairy tale, a retelling of Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. It contains immense elements of fantasy versus the appalling truth of our world's history and antisemitism. I have never read anything quite like it before. The entertainment and appeal was there wholly; yet the nasty, honest undertone that was ripe in the 1900s was there in its true, uncovered discriminatory form. Rena Rossner was knowledgable, picking upon true events to give the story an extra edge; a texture that proved necessary. When I read the Author's Note, I genuinely cried.I'll be frank, I really didn't like it at first, I found that the language was too foreign and unfamiliar for me to make sense out of anything, or to read smoothly, since I had to keep stopping and stumbling over words that I was clueless on how to pronounce. I persevered. It was worth it.Eventually, I got used to the unknown colloquial language, and the story soon began to take the shape of what it is: a sisterly love combating all sorts of dangers ranging from forbidden love to anti semitism. It was immersive and wonderful and I felt like I was sat around a campfire listening to woodland animals. The imagery produced from the poetic narrative was simply magical. It was historical yet ominous. Unfamiliar yet familiar. The characters were well thought through; their respective introspection was deep and insightful, identifying with human beings as people, rather than to individual reader needs. I favoured Liba over Laya. I always find myself relating intensely to characters who are uncomfortable with themselves. Liba was one of them. Scared of who she really is, and the unfathomable damage she could cause, Liba has to learn to let go, whilst Laya has to learn to find home. One gripe of mine: Laya's point of view is written in verse. It's not everybody's cup of tea. And I didn't think it would be mine at first until the storyline dragged me under and I would have read any word the author had written, be it in the book, or not. I began enjoying the verses, next the blocky narrative of Liba, the alternating points of view and the prose in which they were written reflected the characters inner selves. Liba: stout, honest, strong. Laya: graceful, lithe. These characters were well worth the fairytale the author had painted.I will be purchasing this book when it is released 27th September 2018.Thank you to Net Galley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Acqua
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 33%The Sisters of the Winter Wood is a historical fantasy novel following a Jewish Ukrainian family. The two main characters are Liba and her younger sister Laya, and this is a story of self-discovery that almost reads like a dark fairytale, partly inspired by Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market and by many Russian and Ukrainian folktales.Sadly, I couldn't get into this book at all. Half of it, Laya's PoV, is written in verse. I usually don't agree with those who say that modern poetry is DNF at 33%The Sisters of the Winter Wood is a historical fantasy novel following a Jewish Ukrainian family. The two main characters are Liba and her younger sister Laya, and this is a story of self-discovery that almost reads like a dark fairytale, partly inspired by Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market and by many Russian and Ukrainian folktales.Sadly, I couldn't get into this book at all. Half of it, Laya's PoV, is written in verse. I usually don't agree with those who say that modern poetry is just prose randomly broken up, but... this totally felt like prose randomly broken up. I don't understand why it was even told that way - there was nothing poetic about it, it just felt stilted.Not that the writing in Liba's PoV was much better. All the dialogue felt really forced to me, and I can't figure out if the way the writing always kept me at arm's length from the characters was intentional or not.If it hadn't been for the writing, I'm sure I would have liked this, maybe even loved it. The dark, mysterious atmosphere was there, there were a lot of food mentions and descriptions (worldbuilding done through food is my favorite kind of worldbuilding), and this blend of fairytales, coming-of-age themes and history could have been a very good adult/YA crossover.Unfortunately, I just couldn't finish it.
    more
  • Hayley Chewins
    January 1, 1970
    This book is unlike anything I've ever read. It's so beautifully crafted. It's utterly surprising, startling and fresh. It's a sister story, and a Jewish story, and a fairy tale, and a story about first love. It's magical and filled with the most delicious imagery. It's wonderful. Just wonderful. It'll make you believe in the power of language again.
    more
  • Lauren [DontGoBrekkerMyHeart]
    January 1, 1970
    ‘He gives me a basketfull of fruit.“I can’t take this,” I say.“For your sister and youto share.” He puts it in my hands.’Not only is the cover to this story absolutely beautiful, but the content inside is amazing as well. It flips back and forth between prose and poetry, and I really enjoyed it. It added an extra depth and imagery to each of the sisters points of view. Made the story very unique.I was curious to see how Rena Rossner would juggle the fantastical, historical, Jewish, and Goblin Ma ‘He gives me a basketfull of fruit.“I can’t take this,” I say.“For your sister and youto share.” He puts it in my hands.’Not only is the cover to this story absolutely beautiful, but the content inside is amazing as well. It flips back and forth between prose and poetry, and I really enjoyed it. It added an extra depth and imagery to each of the sisters points of view. Made the story very unique.I was curious to see how Rena Rossner would juggle the fantastical, historical, Jewish, and Goblin Market tones to the story, and they meshed really well. She’s really talented at combining it all because it seemed like it could be slightly overwhelming. It wasn’t in the slightest.The Jewish history and representation was my favorite part. In the authors note you see the inspiration and the reasoning to how/ why Rena wrote this story, and I started tearing up because it only strengthened the message of the story at the end.Lastly, the sisters relationship was fantastic. I always love seeing familial relationships in stories, and this one was indeed genuine and difficult to be honest. The sisters butted heads, and to me that reminded me of my own interactions with my brother. It felt SO real even though the world has fantasy. The sisters are truly their own individuals, but their love for each other binds them together.I connected with both Liba and Laya, depending on the moment within the story, but Liba specifically just spoke to me on another level. A lot of her thoughts have just been in my head before.Lastly, in short there’s a mixture of past and present. Hope and innocence. Sexuality and love.I recommend this story to any one who wants a fantastical walk in the woods. It’s definitely for fans of Uprooted/ Spinning Silver and The Bear and the Nightingale. I cannot wait for y’all to dive into this luscious tale.Thanks Orbit Books for providing me with an ARC to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
    more
  • Jenni
    January 1, 1970
    The Sisters of the Winter Wood got off to a truly amazing start, I love the way that the story switches between the sister's points of view. Both Liba and Laya are really interesting and I also love the differences between their prose, steady and descriptive Liba and poetic and flighty Laya. This was really unique and I really loved it. There were so many amazing fairytales woven in to the story, it was wonderful to see familiar favourites as well as finding new ones. The Sisters of the Winter W The Sisters of the Winter Wood got off to a truly amazing start, I love the way that the story switches between the sister's points of view. Both Liba and Laya are really interesting and I also love the differences between their prose, steady and descriptive Liba and poetic and flighty Laya. This was really unique and I really loved it. There were so many amazing fairytales woven in to the story, it was wonderful to see familiar favourites as well as finding new ones. The Sisters of the Winter Wood was a beautifully written and darkly enchanting fantasy tale which I just did not want to put down. The character development of the two sisters is a big focus in the book, and I love both of the sisters and how different they are. It's so interesting to see how the two sisters cope, in their own way, with their parents leaving them alone in their house. I felt a kinship with Liba, as an older sibling myself, and the lengths as which she goes to hold everything together and to protect her younger sister. There is a darkness to the tale which I found really enchanting, you feel compelled towards it, just as Laya is compelled towards Fedir. I found the fact that the two sisters were both experiencing their first love, in very different ways, in parallel was a really great way to drawn the narratives together. It was wonderful to highlight the differences between us all. I loved the fairytale elements to the tale, they really added a richness to the world of the Winter Wood. But the elements of reality, which were also woven in to the story made The Sisters of the Winter Wood really incredible. It's really interesting to have a window in to a Jewish family, and the Jewish community of the town. For me, the message I took away from The Sisters of the Winter Wood, is that is it sometimes what we don't say that can cause the most hurt. This seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the books. Overall, I absolutely loved The Sisters of the Winter Wood and I would definitely recommend it to any fantasy fans, and especially those who love fairytale retellings.
    more
  • Aila
    January 1, 1970
    The Sisters of the Winter Wood is a quiet, captivating tale that follows the growth of two sisters - vastly different from one another - and the secret power that their heritage has passed onto them. I really enjoyed this adult fantasy, and would really recommend it for readers looking for a magical escape into woods that are either enchanted or haunted - take your pick. Rossner writes her Jewish ancestry with heart into these pages, and it is clearly evident within the characters’ actions and b The Sisters of the Winter Wood is a quiet, captivating tale that follows the growth of two sisters - vastly different from one another - and the secret power that their heritage has passed onto them. I really enjoyed this adult fantasy, and would really recommend it for readers looking for a magical escape into woods that are either enchanted or haunted - take your pick. Rossner writes her Jewish ancestry with heart into these pages, and it is clearly evident within the characters’ actions and beliefs. Along for the ride are familiar tales such as the Goblin Market and magical creatures that come alive with just a thought. The Sisters of the Winter Wood offers a blend of sensuality and sin alongside innocence and hope, leading readers on an emotional yet heartfelt journey that takes place in a rural village.“Something is definitelyInside me.It is not glory, Or devotion.It is somethingThat wants to burst free.”
    more
  • Meghan
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as an advanced reader's copy and I always get excited for books on unique topics that the everyday person never thinks twice about and puts an interesting spin on it making it more enticing to read. The Sisters of the Winter Wood. While reading this book and learning about the sisters Laya and Liba, I could not help to think of Little Women. This book was Little Women, Meets Once Upon a Time,meets Into the Woods and that is what made me love this book even more. I also love I received this book as an advanced reader's copy and I always get excited for books on unique topics that the everyday person never thinks twice about and puts an interesting spin on it making it more enticing to read. The Sisters of the Winter Wood. While reading this book and learning about the sisters Laya and Liba, I could not help to think of Little Women. This book was Little Women, Meets Once Upon a Time,meets Into the Woods and that is what made me love this book even more. I also love it when as soon as you read this book, you feel like your transported into Liba and Laya's world as if you were going on the journey with them. This book will do fantastic in our fiction collection at the library and that is why we are giving it 5 stars.
    more
  • Iryna (Book and Sword)
    January 1, 1970
    I am very curious in how Jewish oppression will be interwoven with magic and fairytales. On my TbR this goes! Also the cover is beyond gorgeous. My WEBSITEMy INSTAGRAMMy WORDPRESS BLOG
  • Kath (Read Forevermore)
    January 1, 1970
    An arc of this book was sent to me by Redhook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.Rating: 4/5Lush and dark, Rena Rossner spins a beautiful, enthralling fairytale retelling with The Sisters of the Winter Wood. I love how contrasting this book is, with it’s two different perspectives. The “dark” sister’s tale is told in a “prose” type of writing, while the “light” sister’s tale is told in a very poetic way. Rossner’s writing style is something that quickly caught An arc of this book was sent to me by Redhook in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.Rating: 4/5Lush and dark, Rena Rossner spins a beautiful, enthralling fairytale retelling with The Sisters of the Winter Wood. I love how contrasting this book is, with it’s two different perspectives. The “dark” sister’s tale is told in a “prose” type of writing, while the “light” sister’s tale is told in a very poetic way. Rossner’s writing style is something that quickly caught my attention when reading this book, and I could definitely tell she worked very hard to tell this story. I loved how she incorporated historical aspects into this fantasy story. This is definitely beautifully written and filled with magical folklore & fairytale stories.I originally found this book to be a bit cliché at first, but as I kept reading into this book, I was blown away by what was happening. Everything took a whole new turn!I loved that Rossner eagerly told a tale that explored cultural and religious roots. It was definitely interesting to read and learn more about Eastern European (in what I believe might be Ukraine?) and Jewish folklore. I could tell that Rossner is truly passionate about this story, and the way she told it is definitely unique and beautiful.The one thing I found myself very SLIGHTLY disliking about this book was that it had a too happy ending (?). It just seemed too much like a young adult novel instead of an adult one. But besides that, this book is was amazing!
    more
  • Chasty
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it!!!I started and could not stop reading till the end. It is beautifully written and it makes you hang on to every word. I love how everything come together in the end. It is a reminder that love and truth will set you free.
  • Hanna
    January 1, 1970
    I finished this book in 3 days. I didn't want to put this one down. I had the privilege of reading it while I was up in the mountains, which truly feels like the best place to enjoy this book. I loved this retelling of the classic poem, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. I loved that the author threw in phrases in Yiddish, a language I've never read before, that brought these characters to a whole new level. I also appreciated the focus on the characters Jewish beliefs, another aspect of the s I finished this book in 3 days. I didn't want to put this one down. I had the privilege of reading it while I was up in the mountains, which truly feels like the best place to enjoy this book. I loved this retelling of the classic poem, Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. I loved that the author threw in phrases in Yiddish, a language I've never read before, that brought these characters to a whole new level. I also appreciated the focus on the characters Jewish beliefs, another aspect of the story that I didn't know much about, and the ways in which Jewish folks have constantly faced and persevered through oppression. A story of sisterhood, growing up, temptation, and finding yourself. I definitely recommend for fans of fantasy and fairytales.
    more
  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Not going to rate this as it's a DNF at page 100 so wouldn't be fair. Unfortunately, beautiful as the book is and even though I can see why it would appeal, this one is not for me. Its a YA/Adult hybrid and the story starts off intriguingly enough but I didn't engage with the Sisters and found myself getting irrationally irritated at the fact that one Sister's POV was written in verse for no discernible reason whatsoever and made the reading clunky for me on a personal level. Highly subjective o Not going to rate this as it's a DNF at page 100 so wouldn't be fair. Unfortunately, beautiful as the book is and even though I can see why it would appeal, this one is not for me. Its a YA/Adult hybrid and the story starts off intriguingly enough but I didn't engage with the Sisters and found myself getting irrationally irritated at the fact that one Sister's POV was written in verse for no discernible reason whatsoever and made the reading clunky for me on a personal level. Highly subjective of course and I'm sure the mix of magic and myth and the fact that generally it is well written will appeal to a lot of readers. Just not this one.
    more
  • Amy (magicallybookish)
    January 1, 1970
    I am fully obsessed with this book! It read like a dark fairy tale to me and I was intrigued from the very beginning! You know that there is something off about Fedir but find yourself as enamoured by him as Laya, wanting to know more about where he came from and what him and his brothers are up to! I thoroughly enjoyed the whimsical and magical feel this book gives you and the only reasons I put this book down were to eat, sleep and go to work! A new favourite!
    more
  • The Bookworm Central
    January 1, 1970
    In her first, Young Adult novel, Rena Rossner showed a world of magic, intertwined with the mundane realities of Earth. The Sisters of the Winter Wood is not only a tale of strength, and discovering one’s self, but of sisterly love. Throughout the book eldest sister, Liba, struggles to accept herself. The way she looks, the way she moves, the truth of her existence all fuel a burning inner conflict within her character as she struggles with the external disasters occurring around her. Not only d In her first, Young Adult novel, Rena Rossner showed a world of magic, intertwined with the mundane realities of Earth. The Sisters of the Winter Wood is not only a tale of strength, and discovering one’s self, but of sisterly love. Throughout the book eldest sister, Liba, struggles to accept herself. The way she looks, the way she moves, the truth of her existence all fuel a burning inner conflict within her character as she struggles with the external disasters occurring around her. Not only does she learn not to fear herself and to accept herself, she learns how to let her younger sister make her own mistakes. This was a beautifully written book, however, the only thing I personally struggled with was the large extent of Ukrainian, Yiddish, and Hebrew words and phrases that filled the book. As I’m not Jewish or Ukrainian and I don’t speak Yiddish, I found it really hard to read this captivating book when I couldn’t understand every other word. There is a glossary included, however, I kept finding myself annoyed that I had to keep flicking back to it in order to understand what the characters were saying. Sometimes I didn’t bother, but other times it was necessary to understand the situations the characters face. Regardless, I really enjoyed this book and the deeply touching tale of sisterly love and forgiveness. Definitely worth having on your TBR list once launched in September 2018. Not only because this book can remind you of your own sibling love, but also to further your path of self-acceptance of the beast that lives within.
    more
  • Debra
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited to find this arc as a part of my Temple's book club. I devoured this book. The blend of fairy tale and history, culture and fantasy were perfectly balanced. This lush and evocative story delves into pre-pogrom Russia/Ukraine within a larger fairytale. I loved the distinction between the two sisters' voices and their relationship. There is definitely an underlying romance, but I found the culture and sisterly bond to be my favorite parts of this novel.
    more
  • Phoebe
    January 1, 1970
    Captivating, gorgeous, moving. This dark, literary fairy tale is a story of sisterly love and rebellion. The historical, folkloric, and familial elements are all perfectly balanced. I cried.
  • Sofiya Pasternack
    January 1, 1970
    I love love loved this gorgeous book! The fairy tale elements are rich and stunning, the setting is beautiful, and the events outside the village are devastating. I can't wait for this to be published so I can hold it in my hands!
  • michelle
    January 1, 1970
    The sisters of the Winter wood is an beautiful retelling of the classic poem Globin Market by Christina Rossetti. It’s about sisterly love, it’s about growing up and discovering who you are. Laya and Liba live in the woods of the town of Dubossary, Moldova. Protected by their parents from people who discriminate against Jews and they have also been cast out by their peers. One day their father receives a message that his father, the girls grandfather is dying so he goes with his wife to see him. The sisters of the Winter wood is an beautiful retelling of the classic poem Globin Market by Christina Rossetti. It’s about sisterly love, it’s about growing up and discovering who you are. Laya and Liba live in the woods of the town of Dubossary, Moldova. Protected by their parents from people who discriminate against Jews and they have also been cast out by their peers. One day their father receives a message that his father, the girls grandfather is dying so he goes with his wife to see him. Leaving the two girls behind. The two girls, who are completely different from each other, go on a quest of discovery of each other and who they are.I quite enjoyed this magical story of the sisters and when the girls discovered what they were. Only thing when Laya falls in love with Fedir and the chapters referencing this, it got a bit too much for me. This book though entertained me throughout. I will be looking out more from this author.Thank you NetGalley and Orbit books for a copy of this book.
    more
  • Sue Blanchard
    January 1, 1970
    Thankyou to NetGalley, Little, Brown Book Group UK, Orbit and Rena Rossner for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of The Sisters Of The Winter Wood. I found I was drawn to the book by the cover and after reading the description, I was hooked. This book is a beautifully written and an engrossing tale. When I read a book of this calibre, I find myself at a loss for words to describe how wonderful it was to read. There are no words that would do this book justice. I would highly recom Thankyou to NetGalley, Little, Brown Book Group UK, Orbit and Rena Rossner for the opportunity to read an advanced readers copy of The Sisters Of The Winter Wood. I found I was drawn to the book by the cover and after reading the description, I was hooked. This book is a beautifully written and an engrossing tale. When I read a book of this calibre, I find myself at a loss for words to describe how wonderful it was to read. There are no words that would do this book justice. I would highly recommend this book
    more
  • susmithj jakes
    January 1, 1970
    Rossner's debut weaves a richly detailed story of Jewish identity and sisterhood . . . Ambitious and surprising
  • Carol Kean
    January 1, 1970
    Fantastic! The book cover alone is beautiful and captivating, rich and ornate, shimmering with gold, promising treasures within. Rena Rossner delivers. This tale set in a remote village near Moldova and Ukraine is an enchanting mix of folklore and ethnic conflicts, such as the Jews being demonized by Gentiles. Parallels from history abound, In addition to the tensions between one culture and another, there are love stories, epic and timeless. Years before this story opens, a young woman from a k Fantastic! The book cover alone is beautiful and captivating, rich and ornate, shimmering with gold, promising treasures within. Rena Rossner delivers. This tale set in a remote village near Moldova and Ukraine is an enchanting mix of folklore and ethnic conflicts, such as the Jews being demonized by Gentiles. Parallels from history abound, In addition to the tensions between one culture and another, there are love stories, epic and timeless. Years before this story opens, a young woman from a kingdom of "swan" people fell in love with young man from the "bear" clan. The forbidden marriage of swan and bear yields our heroines, Liba and Laya. Every chapter alternates between the sensible Liba and the wispy, poetic Laya. Rossner captures their voices flawlessly.Both sisters are achingly believable, in spite of the shape-shifting aspect of the novel. I love Liba, an ugly duckling who will become the proverbial swan only in the eyes of her true love, not the eyes of the world. Laya maddens me, the foolish, headstrong, wayward little sister. Liba, the wise one, and Laya, the ethereal beauty, are at the age for marriage, and they don't want their parents to choose mates for them. A family emergency calls Mom and Dad away, far, far away, and the couple designated as guardians just disappear. This leaves Laya an opening to go to the market, sample a new vendor's apricots, and get hooked on a man as well as his wares. More people disappear, including a local girl who is later found dead. Liba becomes increasingly worried about Laya. She also has unusual cravings for meat, and a startling new reaction to the adrenalin rush of fear. Let's just saw any threat to her sister has Liba unsheathing claws and teeth.What happens if a headstrong young woman goes against tradition and marries outside her community? In Mami's case, her jilted mate never marries anyone else and keeps a watchful eye on his intended. He is beautiful and unforgettable. Their thwarted romance is full of glory and tragedy.Like her mother, Mami, Liba finds herself falling in love with a man her father, Tati, has forbidden her to marry. The local butcher's son, however, is such a great guy! Dovid really "gets" Liba. She has a rapacious appetite for meat, which might be a turn-off for most men. She is tall, strong, assertive, and not pretty the way her sister is, but Dovid finds her beautiful just the way she is. When the lovely Laya falls for a forbidden man, she reminds Liba that Dovid is also an “outsider” even though he lives in the same village and is also a Jew. The man Laya loves is anti-Semitic. Why doesn’t this seem to bother Laya? For Liba, that would be a deal breaker.Liba and Laya each have an intended mate, but neither girl has met the fiance chosen by the parents. When they do meet the "chosen" men, these guys are so epic, so endearing, it's hard to know who to root for. Twilight fans torn between Team Edward or Team Jacob would have great fun with this novel.Blood will be shed, hearts will be broken, and we are not sure who Liba will choose in the end, but either man is worthy. There’s no end in sight for anti-Semiticism, but there is abundant hope and healing. This is a novel to be read and re-read, savored and loved, for generations to come
    more
Write a review