David Guterson’s novel Our Lady of the Forest is a satisfying novel about faith, friendship and second chances. The story centers around protagonist, Ann Holmes, a wayward teenager who finds herself lost in the wilderness of eastern Washington. While in the forest Holmes is certain she sees a likeness of the Virgin Mary and tells this to another wayward soul, an older woman, who serves as Holmes’ companion, and later spokesperson. From there, the girl’s vision garners the attention of the local priest, who has his own back story, that adds a nice touch to the book. After the priest finds out, media does too and the paparazzi descend upon the forest. During the course of the book we also meet a logger with a troubled past who tries to reconnect with God and other sordid souls. Met with hilarity and realism, the book is a concerted study in all that’s both right and wrong about the world. While the book does not eclipse Snow Falling on Cedars, or East of The Mountains (highly recommended as well) it is well worth the read, and consequently a purchase. Verbose, effusive and intricate, it’s statements about life in general are profound and elegiac. On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s probably an 8.
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