One unbearable mistake at the edge of the forest.
In a moment of crisis, Ellis Abbey leaves her daughter, Viola, unattended—for just a few minutes. But when she returns, Viola is gone. A breaking point in an already fractured marriage, Viola’s abduction causes Ellis to disappear as well—into grief, guilt, and addiction. Convinced she can only do more harm to her family, Ellis leaves her husband and young sons, burying her desperate ache for her children deeper with every step into the mountain wildernesses she treks alone.
In a remote area of Washington, a young girl named Raven keeps secrets inside, too. She must never speak to outsiders about how her mother makes miracles spring from the earth, or about her father, whose mysterious presence sometimes frightens her. Raven spends her days learning how to use her rare gifts—and more important, how to hide them. With each lesson comes a warning of what dangers lie in the world beyond her isolated haven. But despite her mother’s cautions, Raven finds herself longing for something more.
Vanderah follows Where the Forest Meets the Stars with another magical story about the power of love and second chances. After Ellis Bauhammer discovers her husband, Jonah, is having an affair, she takes a day trip with their four-year-old twins and newborn daughter, Viola, to a forest preserve near their home in Upstate New York. Ellis has had a lifelong connection with nature, and finds solace there. But tragedy strikes when she leaves Viola for a moment in the parking lot and the baby is abducted. Ellis numbs herself with booze and pills, and permanently leaves Jonah and the twins to visit her Midwest home. In a parallel narrative set in the Washington wilderness, a child named Raven is sequestered by her mercurial mother. Raven longs for human connection and briefly finds it with a group of boys who encourage her to visit their school, prompting Raven's mother to place her on a strict lockdown. Meanwhile, several years after Viola's disappearance, Ellis has achieved sobriety and begun a new life running a nursery in Florida, and eventually the stories of Ellis and Raven converge. Despite an ending that resolves complex conflicts too quickly and neatly, Vanderah elicits wonder in Raven's strange world. Readers are left with a memorable story of love's healing power.