Title: The Bear & the Rose
Author: E.K. Larson-Burnett
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 247 Pages
Category: Fairy Tale, Folklore
Rating: 4 Stars
At a Glance: Written with an intimacy that transcends storytelling, this tale’s lyricism unfolds as an epic poem of gods and mortals, revenge and absolution, forgiveness and yearning.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Springtide has sprung, and the bear goddess Artio has awakened. For Rhoswen, sole Bearslayer of Hazelfeur, this means a season of overwhelm as vicious bears wreak violence upon her village. With one death too many and an insufferable anxiety haunting her, she sets out to liberate her people from Artio’s bearspawn for good, even though to end the goddess’s reign would mean to leave her without purpose.
In her search for the vengeful Artio, Rhoswen stumbles upon an enchanting forest maiden with secrets in her eyes and mysteries in her veins, a beauty which suddenly and unexpectedly captivates the Bearslayer beyond reason. Then she discovers the maiden is bound to Artio’s forest and longs desperately for freedom, and Rhoswen’s resolution hardens with passion.
She will unfetter Hazelfeur, and she will free her enchantress.
Review: The Rose & the Bear is a novel steeped in the old myths. Rather than a romance, in the strictest definition of the genre, it’s the story of a young woman who is a warrior, who has believed from her earliest memories of childhood that to be a part of Hazelfeur is to work to earn a place there. As an orphan, she didn’t benefit from the connection of family. As a Bearslayer, she serves a purpose, a purpose which puts her life on the line each time she fulfills it. A purpose which she believes is her only source of value as a person.
Rhoswen was a feral child, and still is in many ways. Until she happens upon a beautiful maiden, injured and alone and under a curse, who compels Rhoswen to want to be something, someone, more. Discovering who she is, if she is no longer Hazelfeur’s guardian, is Rhoswen’s journey. But there are secrets to which she is not privvy, mysteries that will be revealed in due time. Deceptions that will cause her to succeed and yet still fail the people she has sworn to protect.
Written with an intimacy that transcends storytelling, this tale’s lyricism unfolds as an epic poem of gods and mortals, revenge and absolution, forgiveness and yearning. Rhoswen suffers from severe anxiety, which offers a deeper connection to the battles she fights beyond her wants and needs. That she is poised to become a pawn in a conflict amongst the old gods is a lovely twist to the story, alters her path, and paves the way to a compassionate and happy ending.
Elegant narrative and lush imagery drew me into this story. My interest in Rhoswen and hope for her discovering her unique strength and beauty kept me hooked to the end.
You can buy The Bear & the Rose here: