Historical Fantasy

The Bear and the Nightingale

Winternight Trilogy, Book One

Amazon’s #1 pick for the year’s best science fiction and fantasy in 2017

Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil.

Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village.

But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales.


Essay What Marina was doing before she came in out of the rain in Chapter 1. Prologue
Essay An early scribble of the first chapter. Chapter 1, First Draft
Excerpt This is the image that got me writing in the first place. Frost
Excerpt The first chapter of Part II. The Priest with the Golden Hair

Praise for The Bear and the Nightingale

Arden’s debut novel has the cadence of a beautiful fairy tale but is darker and more lyrical. - THE WASHINGTON POST
Stunning... will enchant readers from the first page.... with an irresistible heroine who wants only to be free of the bonds placed on her gender and claim her own fate. - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (STARRED REVIEW) read full review
Utterly bewitching... a lush narrative... an immersive, earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family. - BOOKLIST (STARRED REVIEW)
Arden has shaped a world that neatly straddles the seen and the unseen, where readers will hear echoes of stories from childhood while recognizing the imagination that has transformed old material into something fresh. - KIRKUS REVIEWS (STARRED REVIEW) read full review
An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale... The Bear and the Nightingale is a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic. - ROBIN HOBB
Vasya [is] a clever, stalwart girl determined to forge her own path in a time when women had few choices. - THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR

Signed Editions

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Winternight Trilogy

Set in the cold winter of a medieval Russian wilderness, this is the story of a girl who must draw on strange gifts that she has long concealed in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have sprung from her nurse's most frightening fairy tales. Includes The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch.


Fairy tales are sweet on winter nights, nothing more