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Publisher's Summary

Ann Holmes seems an unlikely candidate for revelation. A sixteen-year-old runaway, she is an itinerant mushroom picker who lives in a tent. But on a November afternoon, in the foggy woods of North Fork, Washington, the Virgin Mary comes to her, clear as day.

Father Collins, a young priest new to North Fork, finds Ann disturbingly alluring. But it is up to him to evaluate the veracity of Ann's sightings: Are they delusions, or a true calling to God? As word spreads and thousands, including the press, converge upon the town, Carolyn Greer, a smart-talking fellow mushroomer, becomes Ann's disciple of sorts, as well as her impromptu publicity manager. And Tom Cross, an embittered logger who's been out of work since his son was paralyzed in a terrible accident, finds in Ann's visions a last chance for redemption for both himself and his son.

As Father Collins searches his own soul and Ann's, as Carolyn struggles with her less than admirable intentions, as Tom alternates between despair and hope, Our Lady of the Forest tells a suspenseful, often wryly humorous, and deeply involving story of faith at a contemporary crossroads.

©2003 David Guterson; (P)2003 Random House, Inc., Random House Audio, A Division of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This ambitious and satisfying work builds vivid characters and trenchant storytelling into a serious and compassionate look at the moral quandaries of modern life." (Publishers Weekly)
"Guterson's third novel is thoughtful, humane, richly detailed, and atmospheric." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
  • Mary
  • Madeira Park, BC, Canada
  • 04-08-06

Better than Snow

I put off reading this because so many reviewers compared it unfavourably to Snow Falling on Cedars but I felt just the opposite. Guterson has learned something about making his characters more believable and lost none of his exquisite sensitivity for the northwest coast setting. The story is better, too.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Emilie
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 12-16-04

No Big Deal

Trying too hard to be hip and current, this book reads like a laundry list of society's woes and laments. This is a good-vs-evil morality tale that spins in drug use, ecoterrorism, spotted owls, and oppression of the working class. The characters are rich but the amount of detail is burdensome. Rather than a character driven story, the author seems determined to show off his talents at overanalysis and strained internal dialog.
Although I am not Christian, I am fascinated by Virgin Mary iconography. While the story includes discussion of Mary in the Catholic faith (I can't comment on the quality of this dialog, though it might be interesting to those who are knowledgeable), the writing itself lacks emotional impact and truth. Overall, an interesting story, but a disappointing delivery.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Saints and Sinners

A book that explores motivation and guilt from many perspectives and refuses to give pat answers to anything. I great springboard for discussion - even within my own mind. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

While different from his other works in many ways, it is another star attached to the name of David Guterson. His feel for the small Washington peninsula town is dead-on perfect.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

You believe what you want to believe

This book was a mandatory read for my bible class studying the Virgin Mary. I thought k would bot like this book but I ended up loving it. You don't hear much about Ann but you hear about the lives of the people that live in the town and how this apparition sighting has changed the life of the town. I would recommend his book but remember you believe what you want to believe.

  • Overall

Safe to read

God fearing Christians can read this if they realize that this is fiction and more a novel about people around what seems a true apparition. It's end seems flat, but satisfying enough because it answers lingering questions in the simplist fashion.

3 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Deborah
  • New York, NY, USA
  • 11-07-06

AWFUL

I can not find the words to describe how awful this book was. It was boring and poorly written. I suffered through half of it and then gave up.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Martha
  • rapid city, SD, USA
  • 09-16-04

OK - and yes safe for Christians

I am a Catholic. I knew it was fiction before I listened (it is not under the religion catagory!) But as for fiction - I felt a few of the characters were not developed fully-Tom Cross and Carolyn,for example. An ok book.

1 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A TOTAL ABOMINTION TO CHRISTAINS

I would not reccomend this book to any God fearing christain and anyone who has any christain values. Any author that takes a religion ( in this case Catholic's ) and writes a story that digraces God and all he has done should not be an author. If I could I would demand a complete refund for now my money went to suport a author that has no regards for our Heavenly father above.

To take a person who,s life is filled with drugs, sex, and abortions and turn her into a person who recieves visions from Mary the mother of God. A priest that all but rapes her in his mind. Uses language that would never be accepted in any christain religion in any form. And Makes a mockery of others who have done great things. If I could I would give this book a minus 20 stars thats how bad it was. Don't waste your time or money on this one.

7 of 67 people found this review helpful