First of all, it will be a very difficult review to write. That book is unique and Glendy Vanderah never takes where you expect to go.
It begins with sorting that book under a genre.
Is it a thriller? A family saga? A woman fiction? A drama? Something else? I think it’s all of these.
Second, Glendy’s books always have a touch of magic. She is constantly flirting with what’s real and what could be magical. You nearly believe in magic even if your story is firmly rooted in contemporary drama.
You just have to suspend your belief and go with the flow. Let the story take you where she wants, like a river leading you to the ocean.
The plot in a nutshell:
The story begins with Ellis, a young mother of twin and a small baby, Viola. She has gone to the woods with her kids as she has to think about her future. The forest always offered her solace. But she is so distracted and unsettled that she’ll forget her baby while leaving with the car.
She’ll soon realize her mistake, will go back but…the baby has disappeared.
That event will provoke her descent into alcohol and drugs. She is so addicted that she decides the best chance for her twins is to leave them, leave her husband and try to go heal in the wild. We’ll follow her journey through healing and drama.
Parallel to that story, you also follow a young girl, Raven. Raven is being raised by her mom who speaks with the spirits. She is very secluded, isolated on their land and encouraged by her mother to wander in nature all day. Make wishes to the Gods of nature. Her mom told her she is the daughter of a Raven spirit.
One day, her life will change when she’ll meet three boys around her age in the woods and will have her first friendship.
We will alternate POV between Ellis and Raven, guessing why we are following these two characters through moments of joy, sadness and angst. Until one day everything will come together.
There are so many themes in this book.
First is certainly the resilience of human beings.
Ellis has gone through hell and she will have a very long way to heal and forgive herself. And Raven had a very unconventional childhood and had to learn to be resourceful.
Both main characters are so strong in their own way!
There is also the Butterfly effect.
How the abduction of a child will affect so many people.
From Ellis, the mom, to her husband Jonah and their kids. Her daughter’s life will also veer from the expected path.
This is also a splendid demonstration of how parent’s trauma can affect kids. History repeats itself.
But it’s also about how one dramatic event in the end plays out. How, when sometimes you get a hardship, once it’s past, sometimes years later, you realize that without that drama, you’d never have gained what you have in the end.
You don’t get what you want but what you need. And some doors close because you need a new path, other doors to open, even if it seems so unfair at the time.
Because when you lose something, you win something too.
You also have grief taking center place in that story, paired with all the ways you can try to cope with grief like addiction.
Glendy Vanderah builds the tension, accumulating drama and near happening until you can’t stand it anymore! You need a respite for the growing stress. That had me wanting to throw my phone to the walls! And then suddenly, you come to a crescendo and finally, everything unravels. I truly was gripping the edge of my seat as I HAD to know what would happen.
But not everything is sad or dramatic.
You have a fabulous friendship with Raven and the boys. Heartwarming moments when she was pulled into their warm orbit and got to enjoy the peace in their home. These kids were tight knit like the three musketeers and were Raven personal knights in shining armor when she finally could attend school.
Ellis found her knight too and I wished such a park ranger could be in my life! Keith was simply steady, supportive, loving…
It’s the friendship and the budding romance that prevented me becoming crazy with stress!
To sum it up: you can’t have ups before having downs. Glendy Vanderah wove a tale of resilience, showing that sometimes, when life throws you lemon you can make excellent lemonade…in the end.
Thanks for reading!