The Bear and the Nightingale

The Bear and the Nightingale

Large Print - 2017
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In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, where the winds blow cold and the snow falls many months of the year, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift: a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. Uncertain of its meaning, Pytor hides the gift away and Vasya grows up a wild, willful girl, to the chagrin of her family. But when mysterious forces threaten the happiness of their village, Vasya discovers that, armed with the necklace, she may be the only one who can keep the darkness at bay.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2017.
Edition: Large print edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9781410496171
Branch Call Number: F ARDEN
Characteristics: 519 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
large print
Alternative Title: Bear & the nightingale


From Library Staff

In a village at the edge of the wilderness of northern Russia, a stranger with piercing blue eyes presents a new father with a gift - a precious jewel on a delicate chain, intended for his young daughter. However, the father hides the gift away until mysterious forces threaten the happiness of th... Read More »

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Jan 06, 2020

Though I really do not like Russian folklore ( I am Russian and read a lot of fairytales in my childhood), surprisingly, I greatly enjoyed all three books of the trilogy. The whole atmosphere felt very true and magic! I just believed it and enjoyed it- something that didn't happen when I tried to read Gentlemen in Moscow ( that felt fake and had zero Russian atmosphere). So , if you'd like to read something light and making you feel like a child, listening to a magical fairy tale, this is a great book!

Oct 18, 2019

A beautifully imagined combination of Russian folklore and historical fiction. This is the first book in an amazing trilogy that gets better with each novel; The Girl in the Tower followed by the heroic conclusion in The Winter of the Witch. Magnificent to read, even more impressive to listen to on audio.

JCLSamS Sep 18, 2019

There are so many things I enjoyed about this novel: the setting of a remote medieval Russian village, the emphasis on Russian folklore and the creatures that appear in those tales, the main character Vasya, who is fierce and wild, and the historical realism. Still, there was something missing in it for me that I can't completely place my finger on. I wasn't sold on the romance element in the story and something feels off about the pacing, making the story structure not quite fit. Still a worthwhile read and an original story.

Aug 12, 2019

This was such a great read!!! I HIGHLY recommend it!! Arden’s writing was luring, fantastical! The title of the novel is perfect and its chapter headings are appropriate. I also loved all the characters (and their names) - but most especially Dunya, Pyotr, Morozko, and (of course) Vasilisa. I thought that the novel had a good ending (left me satisfied), yet I still feel excited that there is a whole series ahead. Beautifully written fairy tale! I can’t believe this is Arden’s first book. Well done! A TRUE 5-STAR NOVEL!

CMLibrary_sdeason Jun 03, 2019

What a wonderful book!! Using literary tools from Russian fairy tales, the author creates a great book for modern readers. The main character is both a mystery and entertaining forcing you to seek out the other books in the trilogy!

Jun 01, 2019

Most of the books I’ve read recently have been just okay, but nothing that truly gripped my attention and only let go long after the book was finished. Some were definitely page-turners, but the characters were lackluster, the writing choppy and bland, the setting overused. This book changed that. It has everything I like in books: atmospheric writing that doesn’t fall into purple prose, unusual and fascinating setting, magic, folklore, and mysterious characters. All of the characters had understandable motivations, even the not-very-likable ones. Vasilisa was a captivating and lovable heroine who I can’t wait to read more about, although my favorite character was probably Morozko, the frost-demon. I also liked the strong feminist themes. Altogether a great book, 10/10 would recommend!

May 26, 2019

I felt like a kid again with this book (In a good way). Initially it truly feels like a fairy tale and creates that sense of wonder.

The writing is beautiful and among other things does a great job evoking harsh Russian winters, the lurking fears of the family and townspeople, and the personalities of the characters and what drives them. It's a world you can readily get lost in.

The plot is a very slow burn. It`s fairly clear what events are leading towards for most of the book so it was frustrating to only get a very small slice of quick resolution at the end. However I think that is highly subject to personal preference. The rest of the book does a good job gradually heightening the tension and terror. It was done well, I just got a little impatient with it.

I loved the heavy use of Russian folklore and culture. The author must have struck pretty closely to naming traditions because there were variations on each characters name depending on the way someone else was talking to them. This was initially a little confusing but more because of not having seen anything like it before. It`s obvious who is being spoken to though.
Also...they`re pretty hard on Christians in this book. Not unfairly I thought. I enjoyed the theme of old traditions versus new ones. If you`re easily put off though you probably won`t like it!

May 25, 2019

I just picked up The Girl in the Tower. Can't wait to know what happens next.

"Now hear me. Before the end, you will pluck snowdrops at midwinter, die by your own choosing, and weep for a nightingale."

Apr 14, 2019

A one-eyed man, a bear, a storm. It's told like a myth, the way Neil Gaiman writes sometimes. It's been ages since I read a book with a talking horse, and even longer since it was a Good Book. Highly recommended!

Mar 08, 2019

Interesting and lots of potential but did not quite scratch my itch.

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ArapahoeKatieK May 23, 2018

ArapahoeKatieK thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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ArapahoeKatieK May 23, 2018

A story about Russian folklore. A girl is born to a Russian landowner in the middle of winter and there is something special about her. A tomboy from an early age, she spends her first decade and a half figuring out who she really is and how to use her abilities, how to fight evil, and how to keep her family safe.


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