Where the Forest Meets the Stars

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While grieving the loss of her mother and recovering from her own battle with cancer, Joanna Teale rents a house in rural Illinois to study nesting birds, a step along the path to earning her PhD. At her rental, she is confronted by a seemingly abused child with exceptional intelligence. The girl refers to herself as Ursa, and she explains to Jo that she was sent to earth from the stars with a mission to witness five miracles. After attempting to return Ursa to her unknown home, Jo decides to care for Ursa despite the possible legal consequences. Helping her is Gabriel Nash, the withdrawn neighbor who sells eggs on the street. Their attachment to Ursa and to each other grows, but eventually a frightening encounter with Ursa’s past threatens to pull them apart.

While Glendy Vanderah’s heartwarming story has promise, Vanderah’s execution falls short. The novel centers on cliché characters; the predictable romance feels stilted, and the plot itself is sluggish. Vanderah deals with a lot of major issues in her debut including cancer, mental illness, and child endangerment; however, it doesn’t pack quite the emotional punch that one would hope. The underlying mystery of Ursa’s history is the only truly compelling element, and the way Vanderah reveals this is spectacular.


Reviewed By:

Author Glendy Vanderah
Star Count 3/5
Format Hard
Page Count 332 pages
Publisher Lake Union Publishing
Publish Date 2019-03-01
ISBN 9781542040068
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue June 2019
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller
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