Parade “Best Books of Summer” pick * Real Simple summer reading pick * SheReads “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).
Harmel (The Book of Lost Names) returns with a powerful account of a young woman's efforts during WWII to teach Jews how to survive in the forests of Eastern Europe. In 1922, Yona, born Inge J ttner, was kidnapped at age two by Jerusza, a clairvoyant forest dweller who felt compelled to save the child from her German parents, whom Jerusza later says were "bad people." Jerusza hides Yona in the Nalibocka Forest and, as she grows up, teaches her survival skills. In 1942, after Jerusza dies, Yona encounters a group of Jewish refugees in the woods and shows them how to evade the Nazis and survive the harsh winters. But after a romantic betrayal, Yona leaves them, and in a village she meets a group of nuns targeted for execution by the Nazis. She appeals to the Nazi leader, whose face is instantly familiar to her, to stop, then is ordered to remain with him. After Yona learns of an imminent forest raid, she escapes and rejoins the refugees, guiding them deeper into the forest. With the Nazis tracking them, the narrative culminates in a terrifying climax. Along the way, the author impresses with descriptions of how Yona and the refugees survive. Harmel's stirring adventure will captivate readers.