West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Quote of the Day:  “Norwegian folktales are seamlessly integrated into the fast-paced, lyrically narrated story, which features a protagonist as stalwart and fearless as any fairy-tale hero.”    – Hornbook, starred review West of the Moon by Margi Preus is most definitely historical and lyrical. She weaves folklore and ancient tales into a story of survival for Astri and her sister. After reading just the first few chapters, I was already emotionally attached to Astri and her plight. I felt sad and mad, worried and angry. Margi is not afraid to show the darker side of life, especially for those times, when young girls were sold off to work, fathers caught “the emigration fever,” mothers perished in childbirth, and most people scraped out a meager existence. Desperate people do desperate things.  Most of the action takes place in Norway in the early 1800’s. People are still influenced by folklore, superstition, tales of trolls, and crazy make-shift home remedies for mysterious illnesses. They were trying to make sense of their world and survive any way they could. While Astri is put in horrible situations and parallels her plight with that of the girl in an old tale of bears who kidnap youngsters, she remains ever hopeful. She is resourceful and intelligent, kind where she needs to be, and tough and determined to reach her goals. This is a fascinating tale of the...

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