Book Reviews

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

The blurb for this book intrigued me and I quite enjoy a well-written survival novel, so I thought I would give this one a go. I was very impressed! The survival details that Harmel put into this book were superb and clearly showed that she had done her homework. She didn’t just decide to write this book and then wing it. No, she obviously spent hours thinking it through and researching for it.

The main character, Yona, has had a rocky past and spends much of her time alone. I think we could easily say that things have been traumatic for her. Yet, I found myself really liking her. She had a maturity and purity that was beautiful to read about. She was naïve as was made obvious by the first man she fell in love with and the way he eventually treated her, but she grew and she learned and she did not become bitter because of it. Her relationship with her father was absolutely heartbreaking. I wanted so bad for her to be reunited with her family and to be able to build a relationship with them, but that was not to be. I think, however, that this was an important point of the plot. Because in losing her biological family, she became ever closer with her adopted family – the Jews she risked her life to save.

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Unfortunately this was not a clean read. Yona is intimate with Alexsander and then Zus which surprised me. I thought that there would at the very least be more push back at this because of their strong Jewish faith. Instead, it was easily accepted and hardly spoken of. At least, though, Harmel did not go into detail for these scenes and mentioned them, but did not feel the need to elaborate.

Despite this, I do plan to read more books by Kristin Harmel – I did very much enjoy this one.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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