I was thrilled to be offered The Light Through the Leaves by Glendy Vanderah for review. Her first book, Where the Forest Meets the Stars was a delight. I thank TLC Book Tours for sending me a copy at no charge for my honest review.
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About The Light Through the Leaves:
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.
As Ellis and Raven each confront their powerful longings, their journeys will converge in unexpected and hopeful ways, pulled together by the forces of nature, love, and family.
About the Author:
Glendy Vanderah is the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Amazon Charts bestselling author of Where the Forest Meets the Stars. Glendy worked as an avian biologist before she became a writer. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in rural Florida with her husband and as many birds, butterflies, and wildflowers as she can lure to her land. For more information, visit www.glendyvanderah.com
“A memorable story of love’s healing power.” ―Publishers Weekly
“The Light Through the Leaves opens with an unspeakable mistake and characters you think at first will never find their way back. Then, with the assured hand of a master storyteller, Vanderah weaves a deeply-moving tale of healing and redemption, catapulting the reader toward an ending that will make you believe in nature’s magic.” ―Steven Rowley, bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus and The Editor
“A unique page-turner of remarkable richness, a tale of unthinkable trauma and the powerful, steady healing to be found in the natural world. I love the women in Vanderah’s novels, women who are allowed to be as flawed and raw and brave and fierce as men. And I loved the unfolding layers in this book, layers of love and disaster, secrets and longings, mothers and children, and always, nature as the steady backdrop to all life, offering the hope of renewal at all turns. Exquisite.” ―Barbara O’Neal, USA Today bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids
“Glendy Vanderah’s love for nature shines through in this captivating story about love and loss and carrying on in the face of tragedy. Bursting with extraordinary moments of magic and beauty, it is an enchanting story that tugged at my heartstrings from the very first page and did not let go.” ―Suzanne Redfearn, bestselling author of In an Instant
“The Light Through the Leaves is simultaneously painful and perfect. Dappled with beauty and buoyed up by an undercurrent of magic―or maybe faith―it is a story to be cherished and cheered.” ―Amy Harmon, New York Times bestselling author
Ellis seems to have it all; the perfect family, the wonderful husband and a wonderful life. But all is not as it seems for one day Ellis sees something that blows her dreamworld wild open and her reactionary fog to to what she sees combined with ill behaved toddlers has her forgetting her infant for just long enough for the baby to vanish. What follows is the destruction of her marriage, the wholesale disdain of her community, and her complete loss of self.
Elsewhere a woman with beliefs that few understand is raising a girl. Since that child has been old enough to understand she has told her she is a gift of the forest and a child of a raven spirit. So much so that she has named her Raven. As Raven gets older she starts to ask questions and wants to know more about the children that come to play in the stream at the border of her world.
Raven befriends the children and by default their parents. Her mother encourages her in her relationship with a young boy to the point of telling her to enjoy sex – that she can’t get pregnant because she is part raven. Not knowing any better Raven enjoys her relationship but we all know that things are not going to work out well here.
I’m not going to spoil the story despite what might seem obvious. There is much more to this novel than the simple tale of a kidnapping and two separate lives. It’s two separately complex stories that ultimately come together but not without some twists and turns.
The writing is as magical as the light through the leaves and despite some implausibilities in the story I found myself carried away by the magic Ms. Vanderah created. Don’t look for reality where it isn’t and don’t let reality control your emotions and you will be rewarded with a story that takes you away from your everyday into a world where anything is available for the asking.