Where the Forest Meets the Starsby Published 01 Mar 2019
|Where the Forest Meets the Stars.pdf|
|Publisher||Lake Union Publishing|
In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.
After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.
The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.
Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?
Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.
"Where the Forest Meets the Stars" Reviews
4.5 or maybe 10 stars, I don't know. My mind is still blown. Don't ask me about stars right now.
Oh wow! I know I shouldn’t begin a review with Oh Wow but I was so blown away with Where the Forest Meets the Stars that it has taken a few days to put words to my thoughts (and you see how well that has gone, right?) Oh wow is what I have come up with so far.
Joanna Teale is an ornithologist is safely tucked away in a researcher’s cabin on the marshes of southern Illinois where she is completing her graduate studies on nesting practices. It is here that she is healing her body and soul after a battle with breast cancer. Nearby is Gabe, the “egg man,” who lives on the farm up the road and is battling demons of his own. Into their lives a young girl wanders. She calls herself Ursa and claims to be an alien in search of five miracles. It is obvious to Jo that the girl needs help on multiple levels, but the girl is brilliant and cagey and every time that Jo attempts to turn Ursa into the “authorities” she eludes them, leaving Jo to care for the girl until Jo can unravel Ursa’s secrets and find out her past. Surely she isn’t really alien, is she? As Jo and Gabe begin caring for Ursa, they find themselves enveloped in a healing process of their own. But there are secrets yet to be uncovered that will have devastating effects on them all.
Where the Forest Meets the Stars is truly a magical tale. In the beginning you wonder if, in fact, it is going to fall into the realm of paranormal. Soon, however, you realize that the magic and wonder that Ursa possesses isn’t fantasy but rather the wonderment of love and that love; true, unselfish, altruistic love, has a healing, restorative effect on those with whom Ursa comes in contact. The miracles that Ursa seeks, baby birds in a nest or new kittens being born, pale in comparison to the miracles she brings to the lives of those around her. This is a story of forgiveness, friendship, restoration and, most importantly, love. It is simply but poignantly written, almost as a parable, and is one I encourage you all to read.
Oh my heart. Sob sob sob. I loved, adored, TREASURED this book and I didn’t want it to end. I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll keep it brief but it was just PERFECT. Full of magic and hope and despair and pain and longing and love and loss and fear and more magic. Woven throughout the story are threads of love. Love lost, love gained, love that the characters dreamt of but weren’t sure they deserved, weren’t sure they were capable of. Tenderly and beautifully written.
When my publicist buddy Ashley sent me this and said, you were this first person I thought of when I finished this one, it’s right up your alley and is very similar to Catherine Ryan Hyde I had a feeling I was in for a treat! Man was she ever right, I was totally charmed by this one it’s such an unusual and gorgeous read.
I adore books about unlikely friendships and the sudden bond that develops between Jo and Ursa was the type that I like most of all. Jo is a broken woman, she battled breast cancer at a very young age and has isolated herself from the outside world. She’s an ornithologist making it very easy to live a secluded life and the last thing she wants to deal with is a young girl. Ursa is the type of character that grabs your attention and your heart instantly, she’s such a strange child, but she’s precocious as well and she wiggled her way into my heart just as fast as she got into Jo’s. These two were both incredibly well developed, very deep and complex and extremely fascinating, especially Ursa. I was dying to hear her full story because the story she shares with Jo was so out there and I read this one fast because I was so intrigued.
This had such a magical feel to it, both because of Ursa’s individuality but also because Vanderah has a bewitching writing style. I absolutely loved the meaning behind this, it was about the bonds of love, second chances and most importantly the power of keeping hope alive.
Where the Forest Meets the Stars in three words: Enchanting, Insightful and Extraordinary.
4.5 Stars! What a wonderful story. This is definitely an author to look out for!!!
Magical quarks, full of emotion, possible spoilers.
First few pages: Alien kid, like KPAX or Sati. Ok, I can get into this.
A few more pages: Ominous foreshadowing. Not digging that. But hey, there's a cute dog, too!
A few chapters in: A romance between two damaged people. This works, too, and it works with the star child and the dog. Nice. I'll just forget about that foreshadowing nonsense.
A few more chapters: Ooooooohhhhh.... This book is going to break my heart.
After more chapters: Emotional revelations from the adults, laid bare moments more intimate than any sex scene could ever be. This book is really well done. A beautiful example that mesmerized me:
“When I knew my mother would be dead in a few months, I had two choices . . .” She looked at him. “I could distance myself from the pain or get closer to it. Maybe because I’d lost my dad without getting a chance to tell him what he meant to me, I decided to get closer. I got so close, her pain and fear became my own. We shared everything and loved each other like we never had when death was some distant thing. In the end, part of me died with her. I’m not recovered from it even now, but I made the conscious choice to enter the darkness with her. Everyone I know who’s lost someone they love has voiced regrets—they wish they’d done this or that or loved them more. I have no regrets. None.”
Further still: Sh!t Gets Real. Heart broken - but temporarily. It heals. They heal.
Conclusion: Happily ever after, or at least for now. I want to know what happens to these characters next, to read more of the conversations and interplay between them.
Kudos to the author - for a first book especially, it captivated me under a spell woven of fantasy, emotion, and love. It's cleanly edited, charming in places, raw in places, and beautiful through and through.