Monday, April 21, 2014

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

When Astri's father immigrates to America, he leaves them with their aunt.  He promises to send money and news, but she and her sister never see any.  When the goatman comes to get a new goat girl, the aunt gives him Astri.

Amulet Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It was published the first of this month, so you can find a copy at your local bookstore now.

This concept for this book is interesting:  Mix an old fairytale while telling a new one and give the reader twice as much pleasure.

The goatman is not a nice man.  He lives in a hovel, he keeps some outbuildings locked and he barely shares any food with her.  When he starts to push her to marry him, she knows she has to leave.  When she escapes, she takes the young girl she found incarcerated in one of those outbuildings.  She also gets her little sister, Greta.  She's bound and determined to get to America.

The original tale is Norwegian.  The two fairytales are similar and it enhances the current story being told.  Astri and Greta have quite a journey ahead of them.  Even travel on the boat isn't safe.

What made the story entertaining was how Ms. Preus wove her two tales together.  Life was not easy for these girls, but it's not easy for anyone trying to immigrate.  Even more interesting is the fact that the reason the author wrote this story is because it came from a few lines in her great-great-grandmother's diary.  She includes a picture from long ago and a copy of a page of the diary.  The story is fictional; the circumstances are authentic.

I liked it.  Why don't you give it a try?

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