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The Sisters of the Winter Wood
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The Sisters of the Winter Wood

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  385 Ratings  ·  174 Reviews
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,
...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Redhook
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Melanie

ARC provided by Orbit in exchange for an honest review.

“Sometimes you know when you don’t belong, but you don’t know how to leave.”

This is one of the most atmospheric books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It was also able to evoke such a visceral reading experience from me. I never wanted to put this book down! And I knew that this was going to be heavy on the Russian folklore, but I had no idea that this was also a reimagining of Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. And I swear, I don’t r
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karen
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
NOW AVAILABLE!!

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
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destiny ♎ [howling libraries]
If there are a few things I love in my fantasy stories, they are: 1) good, diverse representation, 2) fairytale vibes and/or retellings, 3) historical settings, and 4) animals and/or shape-shifters. This book checks all those boxes, plus either other chapter is poetry (and if you didn’t know, I adore stories in verse), so basically this was one of the most “on brand for me” books I’ve ever seen in my life and I was absolutely ecstatic to read it.

There have always been rumors about the Kodari f
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Will Byrnes
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.

-----From Goblin Market by Christina Rosetti
I know what might be happening to me; I just don’t know if I want it to happen, and I have a feeling that there’s nothing I can do to stop it once it starts.
Once upon a time two sisters lived in a house in the woods. Liba (almost 18) and Laya (15) are the
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James Tivendale
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fairy-tales, fantasy
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
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Julie
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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."
Roman Clodia
Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was ok
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
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Emma
Sep 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Oh, how I wish
this were darker.
The winter wood
held little chill.
Its thorns were so small
and brittle.

Two girls, one fair, one dark, live with their Tati and Mami in a house by the forest, a simple life of religion and toil. When a stranger appears at the door one night, telling of an extended family about whom they knew nothing, Liba and Laya’s lives are changed forever. Their parents are made suddenly mysterious by their secret pasts, with tales of transformations and violent transgressions b
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Lou
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This had so much potential, bucket loads in fact, but it sadly wasn't as alluring as I thought it was going to be. Don't get me wrong, this is still a beautiful book, I just felt it may have been a five star read in the making. The story moves slowly and takes quite a while before it moves at a better pace, and it has an authentic fairytale feel about it which I very much enjoyed. Told from Liba and Laya's perspective with each alternating chapter, the differing points of view add more interest ...more
Ova - Excuse My Reading
Sep 20, 2018 marked it as to-read
This book was a huge disappointment for me. I really love this genre and this won my heart by the mention of Uprooted and Bear and the Nightingale. These two books were also mentioning/telling other cultures, using cultural references as background; Uprooted Polish and Bear and Nightingale Russian. So a Jewish tale sounded so promising, as I thought it'll be interesting to read. But in Sisters of the Winterwood isn't using Jewish culture. It's overwhelmed by the religion and the endless terms. R ...more
Katya de Becerra
This book was one of my most highly anticipated debuts of 2018 - and it absolutely delivered! I'm enthralled by it, by its hypnotic writing, unique setting, and the dual-voiced narrative that is clever and so beautiful. I particularly enjoyed all the linguistic and cultural descriptions in this Jewish fantasy. I highly recommend it, and can't wait for Rena Rossner's next book!

description

Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
My thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown and Co for a review copy of the book.

This is a retelling of Christina Rossetti’s poem Goblin Market but also much more, it weaves in folklore, history, myth and magic. This is the story of two sisters Liba, nearly eighteen, and fifteen-year-old Laya who’ve been living with their Tati and Mami in the woods on the outskirts of Dubossary, on the border between Moldova and Ukraine. Their family has never been accepted really in town for their mother is a conve
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Adam Sockel
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Anja
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
*2.25 DISAPPOINTED STARS*

/RANT INCOMING/

I'm afraid this book just wasn't for me, even though lots of people are probably going to love this.
This looked and sounded so promising (I mean, have you seen that gorgeous cover?!) and I'm all for discovering new ethnicities, cultures, history and folklore. I was hyped when I read this also involved shapeshifting swans and bears, but I just didn't like the execution at all. This was sooo slow!

My main problem was the writing. I love it when books borrow
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Solomon ~ TheBookishKing
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Solomon ~ TheBookishKing by: Melanie
Happy Release Day to this Gorgeous Book!

Full Review can be found on my Blog Here!

This book is so enchanting and wonderful and I'm so glad it's now out in the world for everyone to read! I did just recently finish so it's not like it's been a long wait lol.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood is about two sisters (no duh Sol) who live in a small cottage in a small town. This features a Jewish Family, who are very devoted to their faith, and who are removed from their original family and not very accep
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Diane
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
♡ Kayleigh ⚯͛  Awkword Reviews ♡
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"'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 the older sister, Liba, up, and as she eavesdrops she hears and sees parts of her current reality, past and future that were previously obscured from her. Her grandfather is dying. And Liba's father is needed at his sid
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Hayley Chewins
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
Acqua
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
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Bee (Heart Full of Books)
DNF at 67%

The plot was far too repetitive.
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.com/2018/09/25/...

A literary fantasy written in the tradition of books like Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale, The Sisters of the Winter Wood is Rena Rossner’s debut which blends magic and history with folklore and stories from her own Jewish ancestry. A nineteenth century narrative poem called Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti also provides much of the inspiration for the novel’s premise which centers on a pair of sisters who a
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Lauren [DontGoBrekkerMyHeart]
Jul 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
‘He gives me a basket
full of fruit.
“I can’t take this,” I say.
“For your sister and you
to 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
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Hannah
Sep 22, 2018 marked it as will-probably-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
I have decided to just give up on this. I am very much not the right kind of reader for this which is odd because I thought I would love this: I adore fairy-talesque stories influenced by Northern European folklore. I like books described as whimsy. I love stories focussing sibling relationships. But what I don't enjoy is YA-Romance; which this seems to mostly be. I could not get on board with the language nor the tone of the story. I don't think I would have picked this up if I had known that e ...more
Jenni
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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mo
Review also on my blog!

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Friends, I love this book. 💕 I think some readers who aren’t fans of verse in their novels may not enjoy it, but for anyone else, I highly recommend it. I want to say that before anything else because I went into reading this novel knowing very little other than that I loved its cover and found the synopsis enticing. I’m so glad I did. It captured my heart a
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Lucy Banks
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Richly told, an engrossing fairy-tale of a story.

With a sumptuous cover like that, I think most readers would expect an excellent fairy-story to nestle within. Luckily, it is indeed a great tale, and one that had me reading on to the bittersweet climax.

Liba and Laya are the two sisters in question. Born in a Jewish family, they live in the woods, just outside a town. However, there's something strange about their par
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Aila
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Meghan
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
*Thea 'Wookiee'sMama' Wilson*
The Sister Of The Winter Wood was a unusual and yet a fascinating and extremely atmospheric read indeed.

For a debut novel, Rena Rossner really impressed me with her light touch, creative folklore and nicely fleshed out characters. The mythology behind the folklore is wonderful and gives the story a real, solid basis from which the real magic springs.

This glorious and outlandish tale is told from the dual perspectives of two Jewish sisters, in a time where Jews were horribly persecuted which give
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Iryna (Book and Sword)
May 23, 2018 marked it as to-read
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.

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Rena Rossner lives in Israel where she works as a Literary Agent. She is a graduate of the Johns Hopkins University's Writing Seminars program, Trinity College Dublin and McGill University where she studied history. All eight of her great grandparents immigrated to America to escape the pogroms in Moldova, Russia, Romania and the Ukraine - from towns like Dubossary, Kupel, Riga and Bendera. It is ...more