Daughter of a soft-hearted money-lender, Miryem watches her family go hungry, cold, and turn sick, because her father doesn't like to press people. Even though she can see that the townspeople are better off and do have money to splurge on festivities and extras. As the winter's grow longer and colder, and her mother fails to recover from illness, Miryem goes out to collect money and doesn't take no for an answer.
I absolutely loved this tale. It is beautifully written. While I don't like cold climates, I really enjoy the winter atmosphere like Novik depicts. Novik weaves in folk and fairy tales (such as The Miller's Daughter or Rumpelstiltskin) with a Russian feel. It intertwines several powerful female characters in different positions in society. Despite the constraints on them, the women learn how strong they are. This tale emphasizes relationships, but contains no romance.
If you liked the Bear and the Nightingale I recomend you read this title.
It is so good, I am reading this a second time, reading it to my husband (who isn't usually a fan of fantasy).