Dec 29, 2013

The Tour! Mistress of the Wind + International Giveaway

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The Tour!



Mistress of the Wind

by Michelle Diener
New Adult/Sci-Fi Fantasy
Paperback, 342 pages
Expected publication: December 19th 2013


Bjorn needs to find a very special woman . . .

The fate of his people, and his own life, depends on it. But when he does find her, she is nothing like he imagined, and may just harbor more secrets than he does himself.

Astrid has never taken well to commands. No matter who issues them . . .

She's clashed her whole life with her father, and now her lover, the mysterious man who comes to her bedroom in darkness and disappears to guard his mountain by day as a bear, is finding it out the hard way. And when he's taken by his enemies, no one is prepared for Astrid's response.

It is never wise to anger the mistress of the wind . . .

A captivating and magical adult retelling of the fairy tale East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

My Review:
As a child I love the Norwegian folk tale.-  "East of the Sun and West of the Moon" (collected by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe), very much.

The Synopsis of the Norwegian folk tale.

The White Bear approaches a poor peasant and asks if he will give him his youngest daughter; in return, he will make the man rich. The girl is reluctant, so the peasant asks the bear to return, and persuades her in the meantime. The White Bear takes her off to a rich and enchanted castle. At night, he takes off his bear form in order to come to her bed as a man, although the lack of light means that she never sees him.
When she grows homesick, the bear agrees that she might go home as long as she agrees that she will never speak with her mother alone, but only when other people are about. At home, they welcome her, and her mother makes persistent attempts to speak with her alone, finally succeeding and persuading her to tell the whole tale. Hearing it, her mother insists that the White Bear must really be a troll, gives her some candles, and tells her to light them at night, to see what is sharing her bed.
She obeys, and finds he is a highly attractive prince, but she spills three drops of the melted tallow on him, waking him. He tells her that if she held out a year, he would have been free, but now he must go to his wicked stepmother, who enchanted him into this shape and lives in a castle east of the sun and west of the moon, and marry her hideous daughter, a troll princess.
In the morning, she finds that the palace has vanished. She sets out in search of him. Coming to a great mountain, she finds an old woman playing with a golden apple. She asks if she knows the way to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon. The old woman cannot tell her, but lends her a horse to reach a neighbor who might know, and gives her the apple.
The neighbor is sitting outside another mountain, with a golden carding-comb. She, also, does not know the way to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but lends her a horse to reach a neighbor who might know, and gives her the carding-comb.
The third neighbor has a golden spinning wheel. She, also, does not know the way to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but lends her a horse to reach the East Wind and gives her the spinning wheel.
The East Wind has never been to the castle east of the sun and west of the moon, but his brother the West Wind might have, being stronger. He takes her to the West Wind. The West Wind does the same, bringing her to the South Wind; the South Wind does the same, bringing her to the North Wind. The North Wind reports that he once blew an aspen leaf there, and was exhausted after, but he will take her if she really wants to go. She does, and so he does.
The next morning, she takes out the golden apple. The daughter who was to marry the prince sees it and wants to buy it. The girl agrees, if she can spend the night with the prince. The daughter agrees but gives the prince a sleeping drink, so that the girl cannot wake him, and does the same the next night, after she pays the daughter with the gold carding-combs. During the girl's attempts to wake the prince, her weeping and calling to him is overheard by some imprisoned townspeople in the castle, who told the prince of it. On the third night, in return for the golden spinning wheel, the princess brings the drink, but the prince does not drink it, and so is awake.
The prince tells her that she can save him: he will declare that he will not marry anyone who cannot wash the tallow drops from his shirt since trolls, such as his stepmother and her daughter, cannot do it. So instead, he will call her in, and she will be able to do it, so she will marry him. The plan works, and the trolls, in a rage, burst. The prince and his bride free the prisoners captive in the castle, take the gold and silver within, and leave the castle east of the sun and west of the moon. http://www.ifyoulovetoread.co/book/chtwo_storiesfulleast.htm
I was mesmerized by its cold beauty. So I admit that in the beginning I was afraid that the translating it to adult version will take much of the magic. Alas, nothing like this -  Michelle Diener succeed to refresh it in a her own unique way. The story moves quickly, and the characters don’t really spend any time sitting around unless it’s necessary. The author stayed pretty close to the origin, but  made Astrid stronger character as befit the "Hug of The Wind" (elemental force) that have power over the winds. Her, writing able me to picture all four different winds, their faint cloudy outlines, the sand they raised, feel the cold they brought. And like naming a horse that bring Astrid to her journey with cloud names - Nimbus, stratus and Cirrus.
The descriptions are superb, told in a way that is unique, fantastical, and yet, as crazy as this will sound, believable (a world filled with strange magical creatures and trolls).
After making a deal with the troll that married his father, Bjorn the Mountain Prince the son of a demigod, has spent the past year as a bear, searching for the one woman in the world who will always love him. To win the deal, he must then spend a year without her knowing his true nature. If he doesn’t find her, or she doesn’t stay, he will lose his kingdom and be forced to marry the troll’s daughter or she would plunge the kingdom into war and destroying the balance of a Nature and the lands in the process. The story started with his almost out of time and hope.
Astrid isn’t the easy, agreeable woman he thought she would be. Despite being hated by her father and most of her family, Astrid doesn’t obey when told to do something. She’s as independent as she can be, and as the two get to know each other, Bjorn finds he prefers that, instead of having a meek woman. And when the bear comes and demands her to be with him and in exchange he will give her family two sacks of gold. Astrid is grieved to see half her family willing to turn her over to an enchanted bear who may very well do wicked things to her all for wealth. Her mother and one brother beg her not to go, but her father and another brother show their greed when they angrily push her to go. Astrid is scared, but she is angry too. She will go on her own terms.
I appreciated that Bjorn came to accept Astrid as a strong woman, rather than trying to change her. The humor we see hidden in Astrid is how clever was, the request for an axe after she, with great trepidation, enters the castle stronghold and realizes she has a bargain to keep. Her appeal to the wind, the sight of it dancing around her, adds a moment of relief as the wind brings her joy, in this the unknown.
Astrid’s age is never even mentioned, and it’s not all that important; and while there’s a bit of sex in the book - she treat this subject so naturally and without any "steamy and gynecologic details' ( to my relief) , So either a teen or adult reader could enjoy Mistress of the Wind
Bjorn stresses over and over that she couldn’t see him, and that she needs to stay in the castle for her own safety. Astrid has a hard time listening, and often disobeys, putting both of them in danger. Eventually her ways get her into trouble.  But, we understand her plea to see Bjorn, her plea for freedom and to be outside. We also, understand Bjorn's fears of being trapped as a Bear forever, trapped into marriage with the Troll Queen's daughter, and his fears of betrayal.
The turn point and the inevitable. Astrid is more than she know. Maybe  her mother guess, but her father fears her and didn't let her tell Astrid the all story. So when Bjorn here the little she know he agree to made a quick visit back to Astrid home to learn something of her past. He knew that leaving her alone with her family will be a risk but he respect the union. That was when her mother give her a candle and matches, which mean that, Astrid is going to battle the temptation since that and of course she is going to fail.
Norga, the troll queen, does not leave anything to chance and Bjorn and Astrid are in constant danger. One day a tree sprite attacks Bjorn and leaves him near death. Astrid both takes the opportunity to tend to him and to finally look upon his human face. Her actions break the bargain and she is faced with the guilt of what she has done although it is unwittingly. Bjorn is taken from her to Norga's unfindable castle that is hidden East of the Sun and West of the Moon to wed her daughter. At this low point, Astrid must learn to come into her own if she is to save Bjorn and have a chance of happiness with him.
 Astrid's abilities develop alongside her love for Bjorn and are key to helping Bjorn free himself and his kingdom from the Troll Queen's thrall.

Other Praises for Mistress of the Wind:


“Diener’s adaptation retains the familiar elements of the original, echoing both the structure and spirit of the classic, but true to form, she puts her own spin both the plot and the narrative, crafting an intricately alluring tale of self-sacrifice, steadfast devotion and enduring love.“ Flashlight Commentary

“The story is fast-paced and never boring, the world a beauty and Michelle’s writing so wonderfully detailed that I felt I was with Bjorn and Astrid on their journey.“ Book Bird Reviews

Author Michelle Diener takes this re-telling to another level. She doesn’t restrict herself to an East of the Sun, West of the moon retelling. Instead we are also given parts reminiscent of Psyche’s quest. Which just allowed for a much more richer story. Paperback Wonderland


Check out each stop on the tour!


12/29: Launch
12/30: My Seryniti
1/17: Grand Finale


Michelle Diener writes historical fiction. Her Susanna Horenbout & John Parker series, set in the court of Henry VIII, includes In a Treacherous Court, Keeper of the King's Secrets and In Defense of the Queen.

Michelle's other historical novels include Daughter of the Sky, The Emperor's Conspiracy and Banquet of Lies (loosely connected to The Emperor's Conspiracy).

Michelle's first fantasy novel, Mistress of the Wind, is set for a December 23, 2013, release.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa and currently lives in Australia with her husband and two children.



International Giveaway:


10 copies of Mistress of the Wind, Kindle or print, winner's choice.

 


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