Monday, February 9, 2015

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

Set in 19th century Norway when superstition rules and it's hard labour just staying alive. Astri (14) is sold to a horrible old goat herd by her aunt and must leave her little sister Greta behind. She dreams of escaping to go and find her father in America, but it seems she is bound for a life of slavery. She's a smart girl though, and eventually tricks old Svaalberd  and makes a desperate escape along with a dumb girl also held prisoner. In their scrambling escape and attempt to rescue the sister we are caught up in the danger as their every move is precarious and it seems they will be caught at any moment. 

Astri makes sense of the world by referring to old fairy tales, making cleverness from what we might have thought of as only a simple story, but for Astri they are part of her plot for escape and justification for everything she does, and she's not always honourable in her own actions, stealing and playing tricks on people who help her along the way. She's stroppy and determined and will do whatever she has to in order to achieve her goal but the reader might not always find themselves on her side, but you will be compelled to run along with her to see how it all turns out in the end.

There are excellent author notes providing background to the story.

West of the Moon
By Margi Preus
Amulet (imprint of Abrams)
ISBN 978-1-4197-0896-1
Hardback NZ$25.99


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