The Forest of Vanishing Stars

The Forest of Vanishing Stars


Yona has used her knowledge of the wilderness to help hundreds of Jews escape the Nazis. But what happens when a secret from her past emerges and threatens everything?

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.

Our Review

The Forest of Vanishing Stars is one of those stories that you read almost without realising, it absorbs you. 

The Forest of Vanishing Stars begins in 1922 with an old woman waiting outside a Berlin apartment where a Nazi party member, his wife, and his two year old daughter live. 

"She knew as surely as she knew that the bell-shaped buds of lily of the valley and the twilight petals of aconite could kill a man, that the girl must not be alllowed to remain with the Juttners. 

That is why she had come."

She takes her deep into the forest and teaches her how to live their and how to avoid people. After the old woman dies Yona has an encounter in the forest and must decide whether to aid a group of Jews or to keep to her solitary life. 

The Forest of Vanishing Stars deals with questions of faith, spirituality and culpability: what makes someone Jewish? Is it an accident of birth, blood or a question of spirituality? Can simply following the practices or a feeling of affinity make someone Jewish? What of German blood? Is someone culpable for the acts of their family simply because they share the same blood?

"What if her German blood made her culpable? It was something she had been thinking about lately. If Jewish blood made one Jewish, what did her German blood make her? If the legacy of miracles was part of one's birthright was the legacy of sins, too?"

Jeruza truly believes Yona to be better off living with her. She educated her on the ways of the forest, on matters of faith and a whole host of other things. She teaches her about balance, how to kill but also how to heal. What Yona knows next to nothing about is social interactions and the like. 

On her deathbed Jeruza reveals the truth of her parentage and informs her the knowledge may come in useful one day. 

"We are all interconnected, Yona. You know that by now. Once fates intertwine, they are forever linked. Lives are circles spinning across the world, and when they're meant to intersect again they do. There's nothing we can do to stop them." 

Some of the events in the book are all the more harrowing for being events that would have occurred in real life. 

"Hunting. The word lodged in her chest and throbbed there dangerously. She had hunted animals. She had been hunted by animals. But the thought of humans hunting humans - it was difficult for her to understand, and it made her feel ill."

This is a story unlike any other, a perfect read. 



Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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