The Forest of Vanishing Stars, Kristin Harmel

Books that take place during the World Wars are my favorite. With the bonus of having a person raised in the woods as a survivalist, I thought this would be an easy home run. But unfortunately, for all the strength Yona was supposed to have, I found her lack of assertiveness weak. She let people walk all over her. First Chana, then Sulia, and then Aleksander. She pretty much let them yell at her without even trying to explain or stick up for herself. It was incredibly offputting. And Aleksander took advantage of her kindness so often I found I couldn’t stand him as a character.

When Yana was explaining survival, I enjoyed the knowledge of the earth that shined through. I only wish that strength and know-how spread to each facet of her character. But between having a weak main character and occasional characters that I couldn’t stand, there is a good story here. I enjoyed the research that went into this. I highlighted a lot of insightful things that I feel will stay with me. Thank you, Gallery Books, for sending this along.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars is available on Amazon for $14.99.

About the Book

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

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