I wish to inspire readers, teachers, and book clubs to bake along with their reading and promote discussion about the books we've enjoyed.
Yeva, Beauty to her father, is the youngest of three sisters, and a hunter. A necessary skill, though in a time when it is uncommon for a woman, for their father’s investments and fortune are lost at sea, and they are forced to leave their large, elegant home in the city and move to a small cabin deep in the woods. Their father also hunts often, but disappears one night in search of an enigmatic creature that he insists taunts him, just out of sight. So it falls to Yeva to provide food and pelts for her family to keep them alive by hunting, a practice she secretly prefers over the ladies’ discussions and dinners she was forced to attend in town.
Determined to find their missing father at any cost, Yeva packs her bow and leaves for the deep woods. She searches for the mysterious beast who was once a man, and now lives in a world of enchanted creatures few have the ability to see.
Hunted is for any girl who has ever felt out of place in society, for the girl "who feels most alive in worlds that never were, who knows magic is real." It is a tale of a huntress who becomes the hunted, by a beast who must remember what it means to be human, in a place where nothing has only one nature.
Perfect for fans of
- A heart pumping, consuming drama on a cold winter's day
- A mysterious, new retelling of a classic fairy tale interwoven with new tales
- Arabian Nights
- Beauty and the Beast
- Winter stories
- Romantic drama/suspense
- Magic/fantasy fiction
- Why did Yeva’s father send out a caravan to Constantinople searching for a new trade route?
- Despite everything that he offered, why didn’t Yeva want to marry Solmir?
- The life Solmir offered Yeva was far better than she could have hoped for from any other man in their village. So why was there still “a shadow over her heart, a tight emptiness”?
- Yeva’s father had always told her that no matter the predicament, a hunter should never lie to himself.” Why? How did this advice help her on more than one occasion?
- Why, when Yeva asked the beast if he was a prisoner too, did he reply yes?
- How was the silence of her cell worse than the silence of the woods?
- Why was the tale of Ivan and the firebird Yeva’s least favorite? Why did the beast love it so much?
- Where did Yeva finally feel at home?
- Who was Lamya? What abilities did Borovoi have?
- What did Beauty hear in the magic woods? What did Beast hear?
- What false hope did the Beast give Yeva?
- Why did Asenka want Yeva to marry Solmir/what was she afraid of would happen if they weren’t engaged?
- What quarry did Yeva need to hunt in order to save the Beast? Why couldn’t he find the creature himself?
- If the prince’s curse wasn’t “arrogance or cruelty, as it was so often in fairy tales” then what was it that he and Yeva shared battling, always _____________________?
At the first farmstead she reached, Yeva stopped and traded a brace of rabbits she’d caught for brown bread and apples and a mug of cider. This recipe combines diced apples and apple cider with a simple from-scratch pie crust (though you could buy a frozen one, if you prefer) to create Apple Cider Apple Pie Bites.
Apple Cider Apple Pie Bites
For the pie crust:
- 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 6 tablespoons cold salted butter
- 1/3 cup ice water
For the Apple Cider filling:
- 1 tablespoon salted butter
- 1 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced small
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon flour
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, cook the diced apples with one tablespoon of butter, two tablespoons of cinnamon, and two tablespoons of brown sugar until the apples are soft, about 4-5 minutes. Then add the flour and cook for one minute on medium heat. Add the apple cider and cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Boil, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is very thick. Remove from heat, and allow to cool to room temperature, while you make the dough.
- In a medium bowl, combine the 1 1/4 cups of flour with one tablespoon of sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Place the cold butter on top and use a pastry cutter to mix the butter in until it resembles small crumbs. Then add the ice water, drizzling in a couple tablespoons at a time, and fold the water into the flour mix by hand. You may need a teaspoon more or less water depending on humidity (you want just enough water for all the flour in the dough to come together, but not to be soggy). Make sure the water you add is icy cold. When the flour is fully combined into a dough, roll into a ball and cover with plastic wrap or in an airtight bowl with lid. **Refrigerate for a minimum of 10-15 minutes (overnight is also fine, but set it out 30 minutes before you work with it).**
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a mini cupcake tin liberally with nonstick cooking spray, or oil and flour. Roll out the dough onto a heavily floured flat surface (I used 3/4 cup) to about 1/16 inch thick or the height of a thin cookie. Cut the dough into small circles just slightly larger than the holes of the tin, using a small cup or small, half-pint sized jelly mason jar. Then place each round in each hole of the tin and press down gently, floured side down. Repeat the rolling and cutting out process until the dough is all used up. Fill each pressed dough round with about a teaspoon of apple filling.
- Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the tips of the crust begin to turn slightly brown. Then allow to cool 5-10 minutes before devouring. Makes about 3 dozen pie bites, if rolled out thinner, 15 if thickly rolled.
Apple Cider Apple Pie Bites
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Other books by Meagan Spooner include the Starbound trilogy, beginning with These Broken Stars, and the Skylark trilogy, which begins with Skylark.
The short story "Vasilisa the Beautiful" by Alexander Koshkin is also referenced in this story.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik is also a book about a girl who didn’t belong, who learned to practice powerful magic and see a world most didn’t understand, filled with strange creatures and old spell books.
A Court of Thorns and Roses is fast-paced, fantasy novel that also begins as a play on the Beauty and the Beast tale, with a young girl hunting for her family’s survival, including two sisters, and a creature in the woods who seeks her after she kills a magic wolf who was more than he appeared to be.
Arabian Nights is a classic novel of stories within stories, told upon another by a young woman to keep herself alive in the clutches of a dangerous man, in a palace in Arabia.
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux is about a tormented half man, half other creature who believes a girl can save and change him from the monster he has become.
There are magic creatures with various powers in a magic wood where a princess escapes to In the Forests of Serre by Patricia McKillip. Robin McKinley, another famous fantasy fiction author also has written a novel called Beauty.
“To the girl who reads by flashlight, who sees dragons in the clouds, who feels most alive in worlds that never were, who knows magic is real, who dreams. This is for you.”
“We always know before the change comes. When a storm approaches, we feel it in the thickness of the air, the tension in the earth awaiting a blanket of snow. We feel the moment the wind changes direction. We sense a shift of power when it is coming. Tonight there is hunger in the air. The forest waits…”
“We should not have let him see us. He is mad with memory now.”
“When he was young he saw us and lived to dream about us. He could see the edges of the other world, the one that binds us.”
“I am not asking you to love me. Only that you let me love you. As I do.”
“Females are often the best hunters. They must provide for the young and survive…”
“By now I am more beast than man myself.”
“I have been here, alone, for many years. When you do not use a thing it withers and becomes dust.”
“Fairy tales are about lessons. Those who are virtuous and true are rewarded, while those who are greedy and wicked are punished.”
“In every fairy tale there were rules. Even the monsters could not break them.”
“The song wanted. It wanted in the way Yeva had always wanted, wanted not so much a thing as everything, something beyond naming, something more than, different, deeper.”
“It looked at her like nothing in her life had ever looked at her—it looked at all of her, every inch of her heart, every shadow that had ever darkened her soul, every wrong thing she’d ever said or done or felt.”
“I thought the reason I’d always felt to restless was because I was meant for magic. That if I could fix the story...and I held in my hands everything I’d ever wanted, I would live happily ever after.”
“A wolf and a man. A woman and a dragon. Hunter and hunted. Nothing in this world has only one nature.”
© 2019 Amanda Leitch
Shawindi Silva from Sri lanka on February 13, 2019:
Very clear description and the recipe looks tasty!!
Naude Lorenzo on February 12, 2019:
This is a very interesting book, we have read it more than once, the recipe looks awesome, small enough for kids, we know they will love it. Thank Amanda, keep it coming.