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The Forest of Vanishing Stars

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  42,678 ratings  ·  4,800 reviews
The New York Times bestselling author of the 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 e
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published July 6th 2021 by Gallery Books
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Maridele I just finished this book and like you I have read many WW2 novels. This one is a very different angle and I found it outstanding.
Maggie Anton At least they got the black hair color right. I saw another WW2 cover with the back view of a woman watching vintage airplanes that didn't have anythi…moreAt least they got the black hair color right. I saw another WW2 cover with the back view of a woman watching vintage airplanes that didn't have anything to do with the actual plot. I would guess that Kristin Harmel didn't have cover control in her contract.(less)

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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  42,678 ratings  ·  4,800 reviews

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Jun 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel

In 1922, an eighty two year old woman steals a two year old baby girl from the home of her wealthy German parents. For the next twenty years the old woman raises the girl, teaching her everything about nature and how to live without the help of anyone else. She schools the girl with stolen books, instructs her so that she is fluent in many languages, gives the girl everything she needs to be self sufficient. And then the old lady dies. 

In 1941, Yona
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
I have read a lot of WW2 books and had taken a break from them for a while. This novel, however, sounded unique and it definitely was!!

Set in the vast forests of Poland, I learned about Jews who were able to survive the German genocide by escaping and surviving in the wilderness.

The novel starts with the kidnapping of a 2 y/o girl from a wealthy German household. This kidnapping however is not meant to harm the child but to keep her safe and on the path she was destined to take. An old woman,
4.5 rounded to 5 stars

I have not read many WWII historical fiction novels in the last several months, having binged on them over the previous couple of years. I am still interested in books set during this time period, but with the caveat that I want to learn new things from each of them. For this reason, I am looking for those that come at the reader from unique vantage points. I found such a book in this stunning piece of work by Kristin Harmel.

Our protagonist is Yona, a young woman who is st
Angela M (On a little break)
I’m almost always deeply moved by Holocaust stories, but that depth was deflected at first in this novel, by some magical realism, a fairytale like quality and too much focus on romance . The last part of the novel, the author’s note and her diligent research, though, made it meaningful in the end. The imperative message of resilience and remembering is clearly reflected.

“I don’t want to disappear. I want to survive so we can tell the world what has happened.”

I read this with my book buds Dian
This is a Historical Fiction that takes place during WWII. I have to say the start of this book was super weird, and I have to say I really did not like the beginning of this book. I liked the middle. The ending was everything, and I loved the ending so much. The ending will touch your heart. There was some really great parts of this book. I have to say the Author as away with words, and I love the writing in this book. I really love Yona's character, but on the other hand I wanted more for the ...more
"We all came from comfortable lives in the villages outside the forest. We were tailors and bookkeepers, shop owners and students. None of us could have imagined a day that our homes would be gone, and we’d be running for our lives into the depths of a forest we don’t know at all.”

This is the first book I've read by Kristin Harmel, although she's got a few well-known titles under her belt, including The Book of Lost Names published last year. Harmel has a background in journalism, writing for P
Dec 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My last book of 2021 and I loved it! 😍 Historical fiction, specifically WWII, is always so heart wrenching to read. 💔 This was sad, as expected…. But also triumphant, as there were indeed survivors of this tragedy. ❤️ I continually find myself drawn to this horrific time in our world. Perhaps it’s just a necessary reminder: that our world, at this time, may feel broken… but things could certainly be worse. 🌎✌️
Jul 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Dus zent ir

Yona was two years old when she was taken from her Berlin home by an 82-year-old woman named Jerusza. The woman claimed she was saving Yona from her 'bad' parents. The woman teaches Yona how to live off the land, to survive and endure.

When Jerusza dies in 1941, Yona believes she will be alone forever. When she finds a group of Jews fleeing the Nazis, she is stunned to hear what is happening in the world. She has been raised to not trust, to avoid people, to live and to stay safe. Ye
Diane S ☔
Sep 01, 2021 rated it liked it
2.5 By the very nature of the subject, it is hard to criticize any book that includes the horrific actions of the Holocaust. So, I'm not going to do that here and will keep my review short and simple. Keep in mind my rating is one of the lower ones I've seen and it's due to this reader, who felt there was too much of the personal romantic dealings, within. The authors note shows how well researched this book was an I wish I could have felt differently. But I didn't, so there you have it. A good ...more
Elisabeth Plimpton
A truly beautiful and emotional story unlike any other WWII book I’ve read.

The Forest of Vanishing Stars tells the story of Inge, who was taken from her home in Berlin when she was two years old by an elderly woman named Jerusza. Jerusza believed that the child had a higher purpose and that her parents were bad people. After renaming her Yona, Jerusza educated her and taught her how to live off the forests of Eastern Europe while trusting her instincts.

Yona is lonely and confused from her chil
Aug 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars out of 5! Kristin Harmel has succeeded again in writing an unforgettable and gripping historical fiction novel. The Forest of Vanishing Stars explored an aspect of World War II survival that few had ever explored in such detail and complexity. Kristin Harmel delved into the details of the lives, survival tactics, bravery and hope Jewish men, women, and children faced in the safety of the forests after successfully escaping from the confines of the ghettos where they were being held. Th ...more
May 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
I've been avoiding writing this review.
I REALLY REALLY wanted to love this book, and it started off feeling like I was going to. I love a touch of magical realism and "witchy" female characters. Make that character Jewish? WOW! Yes, please! I love an opportunity to see and feel myself in characters in new and exciting ways.

The premise for this book is also SO GOOD. Living off the forest? Jewish Resistance? Give me all of it!

Unfortunately, this book very quickly turned to disappointment for my l
Jun 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
That red coat! I love, love, love this cover. This fascinating, bittersweet tale of the Jews hiding in the forests of Poland during Nazi occupation is one I did not know. Somehow I missed the movie "Defiance" that came out more than ten years ago starring Daniel Craig and was based on one of the largest hidden groups. What I loved about The Sweetness of Forgetting is also true of this book by Harmel. Discovering some new heroes and interactions during WW II that shed light on the good guys. Our ...more
Sep 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“The Forest of Vanishing Stars” by Kristin Harmel

Such a powerful Historical Fiction taking place in WWll the extent and depth to survive. Kristin Harmel you never disappoint me with your extensive research and incredible writing.
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’ve been reading Kristin Harmel’s books since she wrote contemporaries full of heart. As she transitioned to historical fiction, my favorite genre, I could not have been happier. While she has made the arc to this genre, and her books are so beautifully done, I still feel her contemporary roots within the pages.

What I mean by that is while this book is definitely historical fiction and not at all historical romance, the romance elements are a shade more prominent. I still need to read The Book
Annissa Joy Armstrong
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book is not your typical book about the fleeing of Jews from the Nazis during WWll. It is so much more and it is just incredible!!! This book will evoke many emotions from you!! I cried, was angry at characters, was cheering for certain characters and did not want the book to end!! That always indicates to me that I am truly invested in the book!!

Yona is stolen from her parents and taken to live in the forest with Jerusza. Jerusza teaches Yona how to survive in the forest by learning how to
Mar 26, 2021 rated it liked it
The Forest of Vanishing Stars will appeal to a lot of readers. There are many powerful scenes in the book and it was definitely suspenseful. It was also a very original look at WW2 and didn't spare the reader the horrors people faced at the hands of the Nazis. I also have to say that the ending was well done. However, despite these strengths, it fell a little flat for me. I didn't feel connected to the story and I think I struggled with the tone. At the beginning, which really hooked me, it had ...more
May 11, 2021 rated it really liked it
The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristin Harmel takes place during WWII, which is an unforgettable time period in our history. When I think I know their stories... a book like this comes along. An amazing job on the research and relating it to the characters. This is told from a different avenue than most...basically about the ones who were not afraid to go on their own to help the Jews survive.

Yona can survive on her own in the forest with some amazing survival skills taught by an unexpected c
Marci carol
Jul 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Great historical fiction book about a child who was stolen from wealthy German parents and raised by a woman in the forest. She used this knowledge to help Jewish refugees escape the Nazis. Many Jewish who were in ghettos escaped to the forest during WW2 in an attempt to remain alive. I was surprised by how people in history were gathered in multiple ghettos and then if they didn’t die there, they were moved to death camps. The twist of this story is when this same child is a young woman and fin ...more
Mar 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, meticulously researched and utterly unique, The Forest of Vanishing Stars is a heart-racing and heart-wrenching tale of survival against almost impossible odds during WW2. Kristin Harmel is an extraordinary storyteller and this book is another stunning example of her remarkable ability to bring characters to life.
Jun 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021, netgalley-2021
4 Polish forest stars - Now available!

Historical fiction, set primarily during the WWII time period. Our main character is Yona who has lived nearly her entire life in the forests of Poland. She was raised by a mysterious woman who knows every facet of how to live and survive in the forest and she passes her knowledge along to Yona. She warns Yona that dark days are ahead and that Yona should not leave the forest for the next few years.

When Yona finds herself truly alone, she begins to wonder wh
Crystal Craig
Be sure to visit my Favorites Shelf for the books I found most entertaining.

NEW FAVORITE ❤️ I love the title. I love the cover. I love everything about this book, and I had this feeling right from page one. It's well-written and well researched, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and is tired of the same old war stories. This book is unique.
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
4.5 stars

Is it possible that another Nazi Germany could be in the making where prejudice, hate, and death await those who do not fit into the mold established by the state, the media, and now social media? It's a horrible thought, but one which seems to be possible in the world we live in now.

In Kristin Harmel's wonderful book, we again learn of this hate that occurred all those decades ago. It is a story of a girl child being taken by a woman of the forest who recognized in her, something speci
Susan Phillips
Oct 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Kristin Harmel delivers an incredible story based in history. I’ve told everyone I know about this wonderful book.
Kristy Harvey
Jul 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An impeccably researched, beautifully written story, THE FOREST OF VANISHING STARS is a completely immersive, fully transportive read that explores a part of World War II history I was unfamiliar with. Protagonist Yona and her struggles will stay with readers long after the final page. Kristin Harmel just keeps getting better!
Jul 21, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
“Humans had a responsibility to do more than just protect themselves. In the face of evil, they were compelled to save each other. It was the only way mankind could survive.”
The Forest of Vanishing Stars is an incredibly atmospheric and well-written historical fiction novel, but it is slightly muddled by a very unrealistic plot.

When she was two years old, Yona was kidnapped from her German family and raised in the Polish woods. Now an adult, Yona hopes to use her knowledge of the for
Jul 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow... this was another fabulous story by Kristin Harmel. I have become quite the fan of her writing. This particular story is historical fiction, but it also has a touch of magic and some romance. I greatly enjoyed this story and can't wait to see what Harmel comes out with next.

I will update with a more thoughtful review once I have had time to process this story.

#ForestofVanishingStars #NetGalley

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of th
Kezia Duah
Aug 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was hesitant about reading this book just because I know about the horrors of the Holocaust and I didn’t take my heart could take it…and I was right. My heart shattered and it’s okay. It was all worth it. Yona was such a great character and to think that some people were so ungrateful towards her made my blood boil. Through the author’s note, I learned that there was a lot of work put into this and I appreciate that. I loved this so much!
Great job Harmel!
Captivating story that touched my heart and brought me to tears. It was so powerful. As I was reading this book, it really hit me the unbelievably difficult circumstances people had to try to live through. Jewish people were trying to survive in the woods, so that they could try to keep themselves and their families alive. The hate brought on by the Nazis was that strong. It is hard to believe this is a fictional story, but based on the truth that many endured.

Little 2 year old Inge lives with
May 15, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways
I won this as a goodreads giveaway. Thank you Gallery Books and Simon and Schuster.

Throughout this story there was scripture. I closed my eyes and recited the verse and then read it in the story. I wonder if the author referenced the Torah for the scripture or another edition of the Bible.

This is a very powerful story based on Jewish freedom fighters during the Second World War. And it also a story about not being afraid of the person you are.

Many of the themes in this story are still playing ou
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Kristin Harmel is the New York Times bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES, THE WINEMAKER'S WIFE, and a dozen other novels that have been translated into numerous languages and sold all over the world.

A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has been writing professionally since the age of 16, when she began her career as a sportswriter, covering Major

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