USA TODAY BESTSELLER!
A grieving widower, a determined girl, a courageous librarian and a mysterious book come together in an uplifting tale of love, loss, friendship and redemption.
Thirty-four-year-old Harry Crane works as an analyst for the US Forest Service. When his wife dies suddenly, Harry, despairing, retreats north to lose himself in the remote woods of the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. But fate intervenes in the form of a fiercely determined young girl named Oriana. She and her mother, Amanda, are struggling to pick up the pieces from their own tragic loss of Oriana’s father. Discovering Harry while roaming the forest, Oriana believes that he holds the key to righting her world.
Harry reluctantly agrees to help Oriana carry out an astonishing scheme inspired by a book given to her by the town librarian, Olive Perkins. Together, Harry and Oriana embark on a golden adventure that will fulfill Oriana’s wild dream—and ultimately open Harry’s heart to new life.
Grief works in mysterious ways in this winsome but overstuffed novel from Cohen (The Man in the Window). Forestry service bureaucrat Harry Crane and rural ER nurse Amanda Jeffers are widowed on the same day. While Harry withdraws into the job he hates and spirals into a bleak depression, Amanda focuses her attention on her daughter, Oriana, who imagines that her father will return as an angel or a bird. But after Harry decides to kill himself and sets off to do so in the woods near Amanda's home, an accident gives him a chance to connect with Oriana and undertake a life-changing adventure that forces all of them to question where magic (or luck) ends and reality (or chance) begins. Unfortunately, Cohen tries to do too much in an otherwise straightforward narrative. Appalachian decline, the role of books in society, health care dysfunction, and dendrology are all packed into the novel, but only add clutter to the central narrative. The result is a story that never truly gets beneath the surface.
A lovely story
Part fairy tale, part real. Enough intrigue to make it interesting. Engaging characters, location, and plot, and the best part—sorry, it would be a spoiler.
Light, fanciful read…
A fairy tale…allegory…with some twists and the requisite happy ending, though I confess I had trouble sticking with it.
This is a beautiful story with a hint of magic and It wasn’t until after I finished the book that I realized just how special this book was. There are some beautiful lessons here, one of which is to share. Share your love and share your burdens. For me, this book had it all: Nature, trees, birds, love, redemption, forgiveness and perseverance. And let’s not forget our love of reading.
Harry has lost the love of his life, his wife. Oriana, has lots her father, her hero.
Harry heads to the forest, for what, he isn’t quite sure. But he does meet an angel in 9 year old, Orinda; a little spitfire. Through forest wanderings, climbing trees, absorbing nature, plants, birds and a very unlikely friendship, Harry’s life begins to have a pulse.
“... he imagined himself a dweller in a serene place he called Harry’s Trees. Floating in the sea of green, safe among friends, some of whom had wonderfully strange names like fire cherry, pignut hickory, shagbark hickory.”
Oriana is a forest dweller and nature is her playground. She’s been given a loaner book called the “Grum’s Ledger”. The book has special meaning to her, which she shares with Harry. The two become the unlikeliest of friends and Oriana convinces him to read the book together and perform some of the tasks in the book. It’s their special secret.
The town has some interesting and quirky characters, which I ended up loving (some seemed a bit dowdy in the beginning). But one single act of kindness,morphs into another and I couldn’t help enjoying the ripple effect throughout the town.
I also love that the library is such an important fixture in the town and the love of books is so heartfelt.
“What else is a library, but a temple of truth? What other function do books have, the great ones, but to change the reader? Books to comfort. But most of all, books to disturb you forward.”
I, too, am a forest dweller and I am lucky enough to live in the woods where redwood trees majestically grow. I’ve spent hours outside, it’s my meditation. Nature is my lifeline. So I loved the story of the forest and talk of feathers and Red-tail Hawks. This book took me on my own little journey.
This was an enchanting, wonderful story and if you’ve ever been lost this might be a good read for you. Believe. 💫