Reviewed by Charlene
Fans of Ms. Harmel’s Book of Lost Names will want to read this remarkable World War II novel. Yona, a kidnapped young German girl raised wild in the forest by her kidnapper, is taught how to survive in the wilderness without the contact of other humans. When she is left alone upon her kidnapper’s death with an ingrained fear of other people, she resigns herself to spending the rest of her life by herself. When Polish people move into the woods to escape the Nazis, Yona at first watches them without making contact, but soon realizes these people have no idea how to forage for food, cover their tracks from those pursuing them or survive the coming winter. Slowly, as she and the refugees learn to trust one another, she teaches them the way of the forest enabling them to survive. More and more refugees arrive in the forest and Yona feels the responsibility to help them, until one reveals to her the truth about her family leading to an unexpected confrontation between her past and her present.