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The Sisterhood of the Enchanted Forest

A Memoir of Finland's Karelia


What would happen if your culture and society were formed inside a forest—where women were full partners in power. How would that shape the future? Take a journey deep into one of the world's last great wildernesses and join the sisterhood...

After living for twenty-five years in New York—the ultimate roller-coaster ride of drama, competition, over-achievement, self-promotion, and sensory stimulation, Naomi Moriyama entered a life-altering zone of tranquility, peace, and beauty.

Welcome to the vast and unspoiled forest of Karelia in Finland, the mysterious region on the Russo-Finnish border that inspired J.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth fantasies.

The Karelian Forest is the spiritual heart of the nation ranked as one of the world’s “happiest nations,” and has the world's most empowered women.  But to Naomi, the Finns didn’t look much happier than anyone else. In fact, the default facial expressions on most people seemed to be blank, bordering on morose.   But Naomi quickly came to realized that their happiness wasn’t a boisterous, slap-happy exuberance.  Rather, it was a sense of serenity and contentment, a feeling that comes from living in a society that is simultaneously super high-tech and profoundly connected to nature. 

Finland is the country with cleanest air and water, the lowest crime, and the best schools.  It is a country where motherhood is supported, childhood is revered, schoolchildren are required by law to play outdoors. There are no “soccer moms” or “mommy wars.”

It was here in the Karelian forest that Naomi, always fascinated by food as a way of understanding a culture, found a culinary symphony of succulent wild edibles, herbs, berries, mushrooms, and fish, all freshly plucked from the moss-carpeted forest and sparkling clear streams. She also found something even more nourishing that would help her begin to grasp the Finnish way of being—a tribe of invincible women who would become her soul-sisters.

As an idyllic summer and gave way to a sub-Arctic winter of mind-bending darkness and cold, Naomi would face her fears and her future. Over the course of six unforgettable months with her new sisters, Naomi finds her life transformed, and discovers the power that lay within her all along.

Naomi Moriyama was born in Tokyo and as a U.S.-Japan marketing consultant, she has worked with some of the world's leading fashion consumer brands. She is the author of Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat and lives in New York City with her husband and coauthor, William Doyle, and their son.

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (October 5, 2021)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781643136479