The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel begins in Berlin in 1922. An old woman, Jerusza, takes a two-year-old girl from her home and raises her in the forest. The girl is called Yona from that time on. Yona means “dove” in Hebrew. The girl has a dove birthmark on her left hand.
Jerusza taught Yona everything about surviving in the forest: what you could eat or not, herbs that were medicinal, how to track. She also taught Yona other subjects like religion, languages and a hundred ways to kill a man.
After Jerusza passes away, Yona is alone in the forest somewhere in eastern Europe. She learns about how the Jewish people are trying to escape from the Nazis. She vows to help people survive in the forest. Yona teaches many people how to survive.
At one point, she hides with a group of people on an island surrounded by a swamp. This part is based on a story that actually happened.
Yona has seen the best and the worst of people. She finds love and heartache.
If you want to see the good fight against evil, then you might like this book. I wish that more people were like Yona. She is so kind and knowledgeable.
If you are anti-Semitic or a Nazi sympathizer, then shame on you. You need to change your evil ways before you read this book.
* I received this book from NetGalley. All opinions are my own. Obviously.