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The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

Rich with Jewish folklore and magic, The Sisters of the Winter Wood is a lush tapestry of sisterhood and identity.

Cecelia Beckman, Sheaf & Ink

The Story

From the Publisher:

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.

My Review: The Sisters of the Winter Wood

A beautifully choreographed story about two sisters and their interminable bond between each other.

As we dive into the story, there is this deep sense of history layered into the novel. Rossner’s history. Where she takes pieces of her own past and delicately weaves it into her story. Infusing it with the Jewish culture, practices, language and faith. Creating this personal and eloquently crafted fairytale of love, loss, and longing.

Rosner’s tale unfolds with two points of view. Each sister distinguished between prose and poetry, given this ethereal thread that pulls from elements of Jewish, Greek, Russian, and Ukrainian folklore against the backdrop of pogrom-era Eastern Europe.

The writing is lyrical as it is vivid.  As though we step into a magical realm, where the magical current of the story sweeps us away. Our emotions and feelings keeping us on the edge of our seats, the pages quickly turning. Desperate to know the end.  

It is the sisters love for each other that makes this an enchanting tale of self discovery.  The sisters contend with their identities that at times seems terrifying, Liba craving meat and growing claws, and Laya looking towards the sky, an eerie feeling of wanting to grow wings and fly.

A Few Last Thoughts

Though there were times I was confused by Laya and Liba’s actual intentions to help her each other throughout the novel, even towards the end, the vein of the story will keep readers interest.

The Sisters of the Winter Wood is a heartfelt fairytale.  The bond between the two sisters and the folklore and fantastical elements will commander readers and hold them captive until the very end.

Happy Reading  ̴  Cece

RATING: ink blotink blotink blotink blot – Exceptionally Inked

Publication Details

  • Publication day: September, 2018
  • Publisher: Redhook
  • Hardback ISBN: 978-0316483360
  • Pages: 480
  • Age Group: 18+
  • Paperback: $27.00
  • Get A Copy⬇️

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