This absurdly cold weather has made me alternately long for stories of heat and sun for contrast and those in frigid settings, possibly to make the weather seem less wearying and more romantic. So I reread Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow - a perfectly freezing tale that fits the cold mood.
It is a gorgeous retelling of the Nordic fairy tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, which is on the more complex end of the fairy tale spectrum. Jessica Day George introduces the heroine only as 'lass' because her cruel mother refuses to name her when she was born. Despite her namelessness (which, in Nordic legend, makes her an easy target for trolls), the lass becomes famous in her town because of her gift of understanding animals. This talent attracts an isbjørn, an 'ice bear,' to her village; he asks her to live with him in an ice palace for one year to break the curse placed on him. Between that moment and the 'happily ever after (and yes, there is one),' the lass endures many adventures, from troll weddings to enchanted wine to riding the North Wind.
This book is so wonderful. I love fairy tale retellings anyway, and this particular one is fascinating and under-told. Ms. George creates a beautiful and frightening story but one with a delightful dose of humor and spirit. Her heroine is much more three-dimensional than I think many fantasy heroines are and the language is gorgeous.
If you are looking for a classic fairy tale with a wintery feel, this is your perfect story.
What books do you read when it's freezing outside?