Another prompt for the #BacktoKindle TBR challenge was to read a book on your kindle that was “Downloaded awhile ago.” My choice for the prompt was to finally read The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner.
The book was set in a small, remote village along the border of Moldova and the Ukraine. The area had village was surrounded by forests, which may or may not be enchanted.
Two sisters, Liba and Laya, have been temporarily left by their parents. Their father, Tati (aka Berman, will possibly become a rebbe in his hometown. He had moved to the new village to be a part of another Chassidism, also known as Hasidic Judaism. A Chassidism is “Jewish religious group that arose as a spiritual revival movement in the territory of contemporary Western Ukraine during the 18th century, and spread rapidly throughout Eastern Europe.” – Wikipedia
Liba has been instructed by Mami (aka Adel) to not let the swans get too close to Laya. Apparently, Mami can shapeshift into a swan. She is afraid that the other shapeshifting swans will take Laya away. It can be difficult to tell who is a shapeshifter and who is a real animal.
There are also other strange men who grow and sell fruit. It seems that the women in the village cannot get enough of the fruit. Did they put a spell on their peaches and plums? What is their endgame? Why is Laya so drawn to them when they are obviously anti-semitic?
Liba spends most of the book trying to keep the strange men and the swans away from her sister. In her other free time, she is trying not to shapeshift into a bear. Her father is a bear shapeshifter too. She has also fallen in love with a young man named Dovid. Hopefully, her father will approve of the match. On the other hand, eventually Dovid is going to notice if she turns into a bear.
If you are interested in reading a fantasy novel about two sisters trying to survived the perils of an enchanted forest, the weird fruit sellers and animals of the forest. There is an interesting story about Saint Anna of the Swans. So far I cannot find any other information about Saint Anna but if I was going to pray to a Saint, it would be Saint Anna of the Swans.
If you are anti-semitic then you are missing out on a beautiful story. What a shame.