About the Book:
In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.
After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.
The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay – just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.
Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?
Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.
What an absolutely sensational debut novel! I haven’t read anything quite like this in years. Moving, emotional and yet deeply human and funny, this is a book that will stay with me for a long, long time.
A mysterious little girl appears seemingly out of nowhere on the doorstep of Jo, a graduate student completing her research on birds’ nests. The little girl calls herself Ursa and insists she is from a faraway galaxy, sent to Earth in the body of a child to learn about the human race and our planet. Ursa never wavers from her story and does act much older that her age.
“I have to stay on Earth until I’ve seen five miracles. It’s part of our training when we get to a certain age—kind of like school.”
This is not a fantasy or book that employs magic. The story is a wonderful tale of love, broken families and forgiveness. Soon Jo must turn to her odd neighbor Gabe, also known as the Egg Man, for help with Ursa. Jo is ill-equipped to care for a young child but the authorities don’t seem interested in taking a missing person report on Ursa.
Jo and Gabe quickly realize that the three of them make an odd group and that their taking care of a young child might seem odd to an outsider. But their little unit works well and they are absolutely enchanted by Ursa. She is very smart, funny and very, very inquisitive. Jo’s friends and colleagues warn her that having Ursa living in her rented cabin for the summer might raise a few eyebrows.
“How does that Gabe guy figure in?”
“She likes to hang out at his farm.”
“He’s okay with that?”
“It’s a village-raises-the-kid kind of thing.”
Gabe is funny and ruggedly handsome and very kind and soon Jo is falling for him. But Gabe has what might be THE most dysfunctional family and he can’t seem to break free from their emotional blackmail.I could not stop reading and could not get these characters out of my head while I was reading! Gabe, Jo and Ursa are some of the most memorable and unusual fictional characters I have ever read about. It is hard to believe that this is the debut book for this author. The story is absolutely riveting and the prose is perfect!
“As always, words fail when you most want to say the right thing.”
“People think they have to say something, and it never makes me feel better.”
“I know. I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.”
Watching Gabe and Jo’s relationship slowly unfold was breathtaking. These two damaged souls deserved love and I simply could not stop reading! There was nothing formulaic about this book and every scene seemed fresh and new.
“Savoring his first relationship, Gabe started to live as Ursa did, in an infinite present disconnected from the past or future.”
There is an element of suspense to this fabulous story and I honestly was thrilled and surprised at every turn. I highlighted so much of this book that I can’t possibly share all of the fabulous passages. Glendy Vanderah is an author to watch and I cannot wait to see what she does next! Add this book to your must-read list, it is a gorgeous and beautifully written story!
“Is this too much crush on your soul?” she asked.“
“It’s the perfect amount of soul crushing,” he said.