I discovered Where The Forest Meets The Stars late in 2020, and as the December weeks ticked away with our fun holiday-themed stories, I could hardly keep from pushing this book to the front of the line and sharing it with you right away.
In Where The Forest Meets The Stars, author Glendy Vanderah presents characters to readers as clearly as if we were meeting each other in person. The story’s protagonist, Joanna “Jo” Teale, is a down-to-earth graduate student studying birds and an unflappable cancer survivor. After her mother passes away, Jo regroups and returns to rural Illinois to pick up where she left off on her research. When a barefoot child starts hanging around Jo’s cabin, Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor.
The first few chapters of this book were the most intriguing I’ve read in a long time. Right away, we see that Jo and the little girl need each other very much, yet so much is unknown about the girl’s history that we can’t be certain if she and Jo should continue on the path they’re taking.
The little girl, who goes by more than one name, is precocious, whip-smart, and painfully vulnerable. She worked her way into my heart immediately. (And I love that this story includes a wild dog who instinctively knows to protect this child.) But can we trust Jo’s reclusive neighbor, The Egg Man? We want to, but too much is at stake for us to lean into him too quickly.
Vanderah does not skirt around the griefs of this world, but effectively uses them as a backdrop to spotlight human resiliency.
Sensitive readers will want a heads up that a few characters use brief language. A couple of sensual scenes move quickly and with minimal description.
This incredible story is hard to put down. As the dramatic ending began taking shape, I set aside time to finish the book in one sitting and read the final pages with tears falling too fast to keep up with.
Reader, I’d love to know how, like the characters in this story, you’re becoming stronger and more resilient. Your story is incredible, too.
Here with you,