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.
The Legend of the Wind Hag
by Michelle Diener
Mistress of the Wind is obviously a story about a woman who commands the wind, but at the start of the book she doesn't really understand that. In the fairy tale Mistress of the Wind is based on, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the heroine is only a woodcutter's daughter, and nothing else, so this empowerment of my heroine is one of the major changes I made to the original.
The concept of a wind hag, the controller of the winds, was one that delighted me immediately. In the book Women Who Run With the Wolves, Clarissa Estes talks about hags and crones, including the Russian uber-hag, Baba-Yaga, as women of power and consequence. The word 'hag' generally has such negative connotations, but Estes introduced me to the idea that rather than a negative, it was a positive. Her ideas really resonated with me, so when I stumbled upon the Wind Hag folk tale, I was all over it. It just fit so well into the story, as seamlessly as if it was meant to be there.
The myth of the Wind Hag also helped me in other ways, as well. In the original Wind Hag tale, the Wind Hag favours her warmer winds over the cold North Wind, because she likes to move about the Earth in warmth and comfort. She is all that keeps the North Wind, the strongest of all the winds, in check, by calling on the East, West and South winds to carry her from place to place. I used this idea of playing favorites, and the discontent that would result from that, as well as what would happen if the Wind Hag was ever not in a position to control her winds properly, to build on the plot in Mistress of the Wind.
In the original East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the winds aren't at odds with each other, but by incorporating that element of the Wind Hag myth, I felt like I enriched another fundamental element of the fairy tale—the idea that many of the challenges in the story are allegories for internal growth and development. There was no room for that growth for Astrid, my heroine, when the winds were all getting along, but by writing the story to include a vicious fight for supremacy between them, I gave her a way to discover her strengths and master herself.
Ultimately, although I tried to keep to the original tale of East of the Wind, West of the Moon as much as possible, it felt completely right to weave the Wind Hag myth into the storyline. Powerful heroines are my favorite type, and by making her the mistress of the wind, I was able to create a truly powerful heroine in Astrid.
About the author:
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.
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