About the Book:
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.
“Who could know their future with a person they cared about? And even if they did somehow find out something bad was going to happen with that person, would they give up on them? Let them suffer alone? Love couldn’t be removed like a thorn from a thumb.”
What a stunning story! Beautifully written and emotionally charged, ‘The Light Through the Leaves’ is a luminous book about loss, love and forgiveness. This character-driven story lived up to all my expectations from this amazingly talented author.
Ellis and Raven’s story is both heartbreaking and incredibly uplifting. The author’s keen eye for the natural world shines though on every page and infuses the story with an appreciation for the natural beauty all around us. While not a light book by any means, the ending is wonderfully satisfying, even though I felt it was just a tiny bit rushed.
Ellis suffers an unimaginable loss early in the book which leads her to turn to drugs and alcohol to try and ease her pain. She was trained as a botanist and always felt a strong pull towards nature, camping and wilderness life. Her loss furthers sharpens her edges, and leads her to turn inwards.
“Trees can do this amazing thing called Compartmentalization of Decay. When they get an injury, the cells around the wound change and put up a wall that contains the process of decay. Around that wall, a different kind of change in the cells forms another wall. Then a third wall. And a fourth.”
The book is told from both Ellis and Raven’s points of view. While Ellis is running from her trauma and her family, Raven is growing up the daughter of a reclusive, paranoid mother in Washington State. She is a brilliant child but her mother has filled her with lies and half-truths to keep her from outsiders. Eventually Raven begins to attend regular school and form deep bonds with her close circle of friends.
Eventually the paths of Ellis and Raven abruptly cross. I could not put this book down! The writing reminds me in a way of early Colleen Hoover in its coming of age themes. And in my opinion it definitely fits into a romance genre even though the characters do experience unimaginable grief and loss.
“I didn’t discard you. You’ve always been there, at the core of me. But enclosed in a way that let me survive the pain.”
The descriptions of plants and wildlife and the beautiful American landscape, particularly of North Florida, resonated with me. This book is almost mystical in its reverence for the natural world. From the gorgeous cover to the unforgettable characters, this book will stay with me for a long, long time.
“I want you to know I love you forever and ever. You know that, right? No matter where I am or where you are, I love you.”