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The Forest of Vanishing Stars  By  cover art

The Forest of Vanishing Stars

By: Kristin Harmel
Narrated by: Kristin Harmel - author's note,Madeleine Maby
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Publisher's Summary

Parade “Best Books of Summer” pick * Real Simple pick * She Reads “Best WWII Fiction of Summer 2021” pick

The New York Times bestselling author of the “heart-stopping tale of survival and heroism” (People) The Book of Lost Names returns with an evocative coming-of-age World War II story about a young woman who uses her knowledge of the wilderness to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis—until a secret from her past threatens everything.

After being stolen from her wealthy German parents and raised in the unforgiving wilderness of eastern Europe, a young woman finds herself alone in 1941 after her kidnapper dies. Her solitary existence is interrupted, however, when she happens upon a group of Jews fleeing the Nazi terror. Stunned to learn what’s happening in the outside world, she vows to teach the group all she can about surviving in the forest—and in turn, they teach her some surprising lessons about opening her heart after years of isolation. But when she is betrayed and escapes into a German-occupied village, her past and present come together in a shocking collision that could change everything.

Inspired by incredible true stories of survival against staggering odds, and suffused with the journey-from-the-wilderness elements that made Where the Crawdads Sing a worldwide phenomenon, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel from the #1 internationally bestselling author whose writing has been hailed as “sweeping and magnificent” (Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author), “immersive and evocative” (Publishers Weekly), and “gripping” (Tampa Bay Times).

©2021 Kristin Harmel Lietz. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

"In this compelling coming-of-age story, narrator Madeleine Maby portrays the mysterious Jerusza in a wise and foreboding tone. The intuitive woman kidnaps Yona from Berlin just before her second birthday and raises her in the Naliboki Forest of Poland. Maby's depiction of Yona, initially brimming with curiosity and wonder, evolves to reflect the girl's growth into an increasingly self-assured young woman after Jerusza's death. As WWII approaches, Yona's purpose becomes clear: She is to help the Jews who are hiding in the forest. The author delivers a note on the historical underpinnings of this story at the end of the audiobook. Light, plaintive clarinet music introduces and ends the production." (AudioFile Magazine)

What listeners say about The Forest of Vanishing Stars

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  • Overall
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Meh

I liked the historical aspect of the book, and am always interested in the plight of the Jewish people in WWII, so I appreciate the effort here. The book just had too many unbelievable aspects such as the protagonist running into her father and identifying him though she hadn’t seen him since she was a toddler. And the love stories were unnecessary distractions and not well written. The narrator over enunciated her words and made the book sound like an instruction manual.

9 people found this helpful

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Meh

Story was okay, but narrator was terrible. her voice was robotic, and I will pass up on any other books she narrates.

6 people found this helpful

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Great story, not so great narrator

O loved the book, but I wish I had read this story instead of listening to it. The narrator read as if she was reporting the news. Her “acting” just didn’t do the story justice.

3 people found this helpful

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Meh

Narrator was very robotic which really took away from the story. It was a struggle to finish.

2 people found this helpful

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Different Narrator Needed!!!!!

This story was actually interesting, but it really felt like the narrator was just reading the book as opposed to performing it… It was painstakingly slow-moving, and there were many times I wanted to stop the audio, but kept thinking her performance would improve. I fell asleep more times than I could probably count. Wish the author replaced the narrator with someone more animated, because based on the negative reviews about her performance, I’m clearly not alone.

1 person found this helpful

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A bit unbelievable

The story of what happened to the Jews was an incredible story but the main character in the story became a bit unbelievable. There were events that stretched credibility. I also agree with some of the other reviews about the narration and romance not being my favorite parts of the book.

1 person found this helpful

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Wonderful story. I found myself cheering on the characters.

This was such a good book! Though the characters are fictional, their circumstances and ghettos mentioned are all very real.
Hopefully the world will stop allowing hate to splinter us in such a way that we wish death and harm on one another. Hopefully something like this will never happen again, but you never know.
The greatest thing you can do is to help those in need by showing love and compassion.

1 person found this helpful

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Another success

I had a cousin who escaped into the Polish forest to join a resistance group but never knew any more. He survived in Israel . Thanks to Kristen I’ve learned so much about this chapter in Polish Jewish survival & resistance during world war 11
The author’s notes at the end r worth the whole journey & I highly recommend this novel & so far all her novels I’ve read

1 person found this helpful

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Thoroughly enjoyed

Reminded me of Hanna … a life meant to be. I thoroughly enjoyed this book & could not put it down. The heroine was fantastic as well as many of the other characters. Well done.

1 person found this helpful

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got boring

I liked it, then I didn't. I skipped so many chapters and still finished it. it was fine. not spectacular