What readers think of The Forest of Vanishing Stars, plus links to write your own review.

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Forest of Vanishing Stars

A Novel

by Kristin Harmel

The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel X
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Jul 2021, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

Page 1 of 4
There are currently 27 reader reviews for The Forest of Vanishing Stars
Order Reviews by:

Write your own review!

Cindy Roesel

Story of survival
Bestselling author, Kristin Harmel shares another message of hope within the darkness of WWII in her new novel, The Forest of Vanishing Stars (GalleryBooks).

"The forest knew no difference between race, religion or gender."

In 1922, two year-old Inge Juttner, daughter of a Nazi Commander is stolen as she sleeps by an old woman called Jerusza. She renames Inge Yona. She lives in the forest for twenty years under Jerusza's control. She is educated in how to survive and live well in the forest in all seasons and from books, Jerusza steals from towns, but Yona never meets another person. She is raised not to trust people and to stay safe in the forest. Jerusza dies, but not before instilling in Yona's mind that dark days are ahead.

Yona meets a group of Jews escaping from the ghettos and realizes her destiny is to help them live and survive. The escapees don't have any of the skills to survive the winter and they become her family.

"Home is not a place, but the people you choose to love."

Soon the group is growing and Yona fears for all of their lives.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars is based on true events. Kristin has done a great deal of research and she shares her sources with readers at the end of the book in "Author's Notes." In 2020, Kristin interviewed Aron (Bell) Bielski who was one of the Jews who survived the Nazis by living in the forest. Aron's entire family was killed and to this day he suffers from survivor's guilt.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars has everything you could hope for in a novel. It's brilliantly written, suspenseful, has some romance, along emotions of fear, pain and love. It is also very hopeful. The light will always be stronger than darkness.
Jeon kanak

A woman raised by her kidnapper
Well, I am more likely to read romance novels, but this one changed my mind; I truly loved it. It's really written beautifully about the girl who gets kidnapped and raised by her kidnapper. It's something new. But I still want to know about how she overcame the voices In her head...and I would recommend this book for everyone. it really has some life lessons.
Power Reviewer
Elizabeth@Silver'sReviews

Another FIVE star but very heartbreaking gem from Kristin Harmel
Yona was kidnapped out of her crib at a very young age and forced to live in the forest with a woman named Jerusza. Jerusza felt it her duty to take Yona from her German parents.

Yona knew nothing other than living off the land, surviving in the forest, and stealing things from stores and people in the villages.

When Jerusza died at 102 years of age, Yona was alone but able to survive because of her skills.

When Yona meets a group of Jewish folks who had escaped the ghetto, she felt it her duty to help them survive.

THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS takes us with Yona through her years with Jerusza and her harrowing, frightening, and dangerous time with the group as we see them learn the ways of the forest, live with fear, hide from the Nazis, and learn to trust each other.

When she is betrayed by the group, she leaves them and has to again make decisions on her own.

Ms. Harmel again did meticulous research and portrayed the plight of the characters with such authenticity that you were right there with them suffering through all the horrible conditions they had to endure.

This book is a beautiful tribute to the human spirit, to perseverance, and to finding the qualities a person possesses for empathy, kindness, and making choices.

Another FIVE star but very heartbreaking gem from Kristin Harmel. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
anita

never expected to like to it until........
I really got into the book and could not put it down. My resistance was...oh no another war book. But this was different and Yona proved to be an incredible character. A different take on the war presented by a most unusual woman who could and would take chances on her life and many others. An outstanding read!
Power Reviewer
Betty Taylor

Captivating Story
I love Ms. Harmel’s books and think this may be her best so far. Her newest book is a story of hope, courage, bravery, survival, and love. It is also a story of determining who we are inside and how to become that person.

Yona was born to a German family and named Inge. But when she was two years old, she was stolen from her parents by a woman named Jerusza and renamed Yona. Living in the forest, Jerusza taught Yona valuable survival skills. These skills would be the key to Yona’s survival and her ability to save other lives.

As the Nazis gained ground in Poland, thousands of Jews fled to the deep forests of Eastern Europe to escape their clutches. When Yona encounters some of these Jews, she feels she must help them survive. But because she has been isolated deep in the forest throughout her life, she has no social skills. All this leads to a fascinating story of underground bunkers, danger, hardships, trust, conflict, and betrayal. But through it all, Yona learns how to open her heart to others. And when Yona comes face-to-face with her past, her world is turned upside down.

Ms. Harmel did intense research so she could tell the story of the real-life Jews who lived this story. The writing was so vivid that I felt an emotional connection with the characters. I could feel their fear, their hunger, their shivering in the harsh winters, and the solace that came from looking up at the stars from deep within the forest.

I highly recommend this stunning book to all historical fiction fans.
Power Reviewer
Elizabeth@Silver'sReviews

Elizabeth @Silver's Reviews - Another FIVE star but very heartbreaking gem from Kristin Harmel
Yona was kidnapped out of her crib at a very young age and forced to live in the forest with a woman named Jerusza. Jerusza felt it her duty to take Yona from her German parents.

Yona knew nothing other than living off the land, surviving in the forest, and stealing things from stores and people in the villages.

When Jerusza died at 102 years of age, Yona was alone but able to survive because of her skills.

When Yona meets a group of Jewish folks who had escaped the ghetto, she felt it her duty to help them survive.

THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS takes us with Yona through her years with Jerusza and her harrowing, frightening, and dangerous time with the group as we see them learn the ways of the forest, live with fear, hide from the Nazis, and learn to trust each other.

When she is betrayed by the group, she leaves them and has to again make decisions on her own.

Ms. Harmel again did meticulous research and portrayed the plight of the characters with such authenticity that you were right there with them suffering through all the horrible conditions they had to endure.

This book is a beautiful tribute to the human spirit, to perseverance, and to finding the qualities a person possesses for empathy, kindness, and making choices.

Another FIVE star but very heartbreaking gem from Kristin Harmel. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Cheryl P. (Lebanon, PA)

The Forest of Vanishing Stars
Applause to Kristin Harmel this is one book that is extremely difficult to put down after reading the first page. I loved how she brought the characters in the story together to fight for survival amongst enemies around every corner. I believe this book would be a great selection for a book club, so many thoughts and opinions can be generated from this book. Very well written, transported you to a different time of hate and violence where acts of kindness were extremely difficult to find.
Laurette A. (Rome, NY)

Home is not a place, but the people you choose to love.
Inspired by true stories, this extraordinary novel draws you in from the very first page. Yona is a young woman who uses her survival skills to help those fleeing from the Nazi invasion of Poland. How she does that and the ensuing results are the focus of the novel. I believe "The Forest of Vanishing Stars" will appeal to history fans, book clubs and anyone who likes suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

Beyond the Book:
  The Bielski Partisans

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks


Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
In Every Mirror She's Black
by Lola Akinmade Akerstrom
An arresting debut for anyone looking for insight into what it means to be a Black woman in the world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Never Saw Me Coming
    by Vera Kurian

    "Fun, entertaining and hard to put down."
    The New York Journal of Books

  • Book Jacket

    Blind Man's Bluff
    by James Tate Hill

    A writer's humorous and often-heartbreaking tale of losing his sight—and how he hid it from the world.

Win This Book!
Win A Most Clever Girl

A Most Clever Girl by Stephanie Marie Thornton

A thrilling novel of love and espionage, based on the incredible true story of a Cold War double agent.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Run T G

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.