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.
*Publishers Weekly: Best Book of 2018: SF/Fantasy/Horror
*BookPage: Best Book of 2018: Science Fiction & Fantasy
"With luscious and hypnotic prose, Rena Rossner tells a gripping, powerful story of family, sisterhood, and two young women trying to find their way in the world." — Madeline Miller, bestselling author of Circe
In a remote village surrounded by vast forests on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have been raised on the honeyed scent of their Mami's babka and the low rumble of their Tati's prayers. But when a troupe of mysterious men arrives, Laya falls under their spell -- despite their mother's warning to be wary of strangers. And this is not the only danger lurking in the woods.
As dark forces close in on their village, Liba and Laya discover a family secret passed down through generations. Faced with a magical heritage they never knew existed, the sisters realize the old fairy tales are true. . .and could save them all.
Discover a magical tale of secrets, heritage, and fairy tales weaving through history that will enchant readers of The Bear and the Nightingale, Uprooted and The Golem and the Jinni.
Praise for The Sisters of the Winter Wood:
"Intricately crafted, gorgeously rendered. . .full of heart, history, and enchantment." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A richly detailed story of Jewish identity and sisterhood. . . Ambitious and surprising." —Kirkus
For more from Rena Rossner, check out The Light of the Midnight Stars.
Rossner's intricately crafted, gorgeously rendered debut alternates perspectives between teenage sisters Liba and Laya Leib, who narrate in prose and verse, respectively. They are left to fend for themselves in the mysterious woods that border the town of Dubossary while their parents are away on urgent business. Before their parents leave, the sisters learn the family secret: their father can transform into a bear, a gift Liba will inherit, and their mother into a swan, as Laya will. The pair disagree on how to enjoy their newfound independence: where Laya longs for freedom, Liba craves stability, worrying constantly for her younger sister's safety. People are going missing from the town, there are rumors of a bear in the woods, and anti-Semitic sentiment is on the rise. All of these strange occurrences coincide with the arrival of the Hovlins, a seductive band of fruit-peddling brothers whose otherworldly appeal Laya cannot resist. To save her sister and her people, Liba must learn to accept her bear-like nature. Drawing on true events, folklore, and Christina Rosetti's classic The Goblin Market, Rossner's fairy tale is creepy and moving by turn, full of heart, history, and enchantment.