Published: May 18th 2020
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)
Vasilisa has always been strong. She’s strong enough to break the arm of the bully that daily taunts her. She won’t because she and her mother are servants at the Orlov manor, and her mother would be punished for her retaliation. Instead Vasilisa bides her time until she is sixteen and can return to the forest.
Only Staver, the master’s son, shows her kindness. His friendship pulls as strong as the forest, but their classes are divided forever by law. She is a forest born, fatherless servant and her future at the manor holds mockery filled drudgery.
War threatens. The forest calls. Will she stay to protect the one who can never be more than a friend, or flee to the peace that the forest offers?
I've enjoyed other books by the author so I was super excited to check this one out.
The story follows Vasilisa who is much stronger than anyone in the village. She could easily break the arm of her bullies, but she won't because she and her mother are servants at the Orlov manor and they would be punished. Vasilisa is just bidding her time until she is sixteen and is ready to return to the forest and live free. The master's son, Staver, is her only friend and this love has a huge pull as well as to why she waits to run away. There could be more between them but there is no hope because of their class difference.
I really adored this! I loved Vasilisa and I felt so bad for her but I never worried for her. She is strong and smart and clever. She is a great character and I can see teen Carole looking up to her. I did worry, though, about what she was going to do. Should she stay at the manor but be terrorized by the mistress and the village....but she would someday be free when Staver takes over OR she can try and escape to the forest with her mom and have to hunt for her own food and survive out there....and never see Staver again.
The beginning was a little slow for me because I was a little unsure of where everything was leading to. I was unsure of Staver myself. I fell for him eventually especially after helping Vasilisa. Love him!
The Russian lore mixed with fantasy and romance worked really well and it made the story so much fun! The author did fantastic with blending everything together.
That ending was awesome! I was on the edge of my seat!
I hope to see more of these two! They were fantastic and I loved this world. More please!
Overall, I'll give this 4 stars! A great YA fantasy for the Holiday season.