Forest Song: Finding Home


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Never at home on her parents' farm in Germany, Judy finally follows her dream and escapes to the woods of the Polish Corridor in 1929. Join her as she discovers the mysteries of living in a magical land.



Excerpt from Forest Song: Finding Home

Mama let out a sigh and ate her cake, but I did not. I took a bite to make it mine and hoped the Feldens would send it home with me so I could to give it to Johann for having stood up to the blacksmith. And that's exactly what they did. When the meal was finally over and I could move again Frau Felden wrapped the cake in a piece of wax paper, placed it in a little mesh bag, and set it on top of my shoe. She put a large bundle next to my shoes as well.

"Next week will be fine," she told my mother. But I was too busy admiring the figurines on the étagère to pay attention to the women. Gerda Felden came up behind me and placed her hands on my shoulders.

"Would you like to have one?"

My mouth dropped open in panic and hope. I glanced at Mama. She was busy with Frau Felden. I nodded, unable to trust my voice.

"It's all right, Liebchen." She stroked my head and ran her fingers down my right braid. "Pick one. Choose her carefully, though. Make sure she's the one you really want."

I touched a fine one, a lady with hair as black as Fraulein Felden's but wavy and long and swept up over her head. She had pretty green eyes and a little red mouth and a nose as fragile as a wish. Her sleeveless dress was emerald green and tight at the bodice, but its full gathered skirt flowed from her tiny waist as if caught in the wind, showing off a white petticoat of ribbons and lace. She wore pointy black shoes and stood on a little round base that was as green as her dress. I liked her well enough, but she wasn't the one.

I touched others too-blonde ones in red and one in yellow with a sun bonnet hanging down her back. I picked up a red head with flowers in her hair and roses all over her ruffled white dress and little pink shoes with tiny blossoms at the toes. All were beautiful, but none was quite right. Then in the back, partially hidden behind the others, the perfect one winked at me.

She was smaller than the others, about twelve centimeters high, and she wasn't a lady at all. She was a little girl. Her yellow hair was pulled up in a red bow at the top of her head and fell down to her neck in long finger curls. She had big blue eyes and fat rosy cheeks and a little pink nose. Her bright red lips were parted in a smile as if she wanted to tell me a secret. I could almost hear her voice whispering through her glossy teeth. Her dress was baby blue and had long sleeves. A ribbon sash tied at the waist to a flat bow at her back, its ends streaming down to her ankle length hem. Her bell-shaped skirt showed the last snowy ruffle of her frilly pantaloons. And in front of her dress, as though it were an apron, she held a broad brimmed garden hat in both fists. But the thing I liked best about the figurine, the thing that made her mine, was that she wore brown work shoes that looked to be about a size too large. I held her in both hands and stroked her face with my thumb.

To see and hear Vila reading this excerpt, click here http://youtu.be/DHiorolSk6g



Welcome to the Literary update at Whispers of the Muse

SNEAK PEEK, NEW “Forest Song: Finding Home”, Chapter 3, by Vila SpiderHawk. Between 1929 and 1933, Judy Baumann adjusts to her true home in the Polish woods, overcoming unexpected challenges. Both heartwarming and exciting, this is a tale of Judy’s education in a tumultuous time.

Enjoy the great reading! Support our authors in the NEW MUSE SHOPPING GUIDE, with 35 published authors and 80 books in various genres for you to peruse, choose, enjoy or give as gifts … and the guide keeps growing! See you all June 20, 2010 for another Literary Update. As always, thank you all so much for reading at Whispers of the Muse!

Write on!

Riley and Natalie

I blog - http://rileymagnus.wordpress.com/
I write - http://deborahriley-magnus.com/
I play - http://whispersofthemuse.org/
I tweet – http://twitter.com/rileymagnus


Rewiews



On facebook, Sandi Baltazar writes: I generally don't re-read books but this one is getting worn out, I've read it several times.




Lauren Curtis writes on facebook: It's all true, Vila...I LOVED the book...everyone should get a copy for only $2.99!




While reading "Finding Home" I became immersed in this magickal yet historic world that Vila created! Her character descriptions and development are so detailed, in a beautiful, captivating way, that I felt like I was reading the actual diary of the main character, Judy, and not a work of fiction. Vila's extensive knowledge of her subjects and their culture and time period creates a unique world you're pulled into and don't want to leave! I highly recommend Vila's books to anyone interested in history, European culture, spirituality, women's issues, fantasy or if you just want to get lost in a great read!!

  — Lauren Curtis





I read your book " Hidden Passages, Tales to Honor the Crone" Being a Crone myself, I related to so many aspects of the stories and just loved it. It is one off my most cherished books. That being said, I just got Kindle for my computer and the first thing I did was get "Forest Song, Finding Home". I knew it would be good, but Vila, it is fantastic! The characters draw you right into the story like you are actually there. The scenery and the emotions, you see and feel it all! I couldn't stop reading until my poor eyes said it was time for bed. I can't wait to get back to Judy and her adventures when responsibilities allow or even if they don't. LOL! A must read for anyone who likes a little magic in their life.

  — Dee Melton





Vila, I just finished Finding Home. What a charming story! I absolutely fell in love with Judy! I could not put this thing down until I finished it, and then I felt lost without my little friend Judy. I just bought Little Mother! Can't wait to get started on it! I'm so happy that I discovered your work. Only problem is that you've spoiled me for other authors now!

  — Emily Schultz





While browsing through books on shamanism, your book, Forest Song: Finding Home, jumped out at me. I picked it up and have had a hard time putting it down. I visited your web page and am very drawn to your ideas. I want to be more connected to our Earth. It is time, and your book is the catalyst. Thank you very much for writing. I appreciate you.

  — Sincerely, Adriana





This book is full of delightful characters and lots of magic! I would recommend this as the first of the Forest Song Trilogy! Beautiful story!

  — Deb





Vila, I LOVE Forest Song: Finding Home! It gave me a whole new way of looking at things. It made me cry but also comforted me. It made me laugh too. And, above all, it would not let me go! My dishes piled up in the sink. I was busy reading. Bedtime came and went. I was busy reading. In fact, just before I finished this book I woke up in my chair, the Kindle on my lap. LOL! THANK YOU for this. I need to get the other books now!

  — Connie Baptiste





Dee Melton I remember this. I could feel Judy's fear and also her great courage. She did what she had to do. Something that no girl her age should have to. But she knew she was the only one who could go. Vila I love your books! I get drawn into to them like I am there. The settings and feeling the emotions. I recommend them to anyone who likes a good read!


About an excerpt that I posted on facebook, Dee Melton writes:

Hi Vila! I just finished reading "Finding Home" a few days ago. I wept for Tranoc and Judy too when they lost their good friend. The raw emotion was so intense! Judy lost two close friends and Tranoc, oh it was so hard for him. I laughed and cried and was comforted through the whole book, living and learning with Judy as she grew to be a woman. I can't wait to start "Forest Song: Little Mother" but am almost afraid too. LOL! I couldn't put "Finding Home" down long enough to get anything done I was so enraptured. Vila your books are so wonderful!

  — Ravenwize





Vila, I read your book "Hidden Passages, Tales to Honor the Crone". Being a Crone myself, I related to so many aspects of the stories and just loved them. It is one off my most cherished books. That being said, I just got Kindle for my computer and the first thing I did was get "Forest Song, Finding Home". I knew it would be good, but Vila, it is fantastic! The characters draw you right into the story like you are actually there. The scenery and the emotions, you see and feel it all! I couldn't stop reading until my poor eyes said it was time for bed. I can't wait to get back to Judy and her adventures when responsibilities allow or even if they don't! A must read for anyone who likes a little magic in their life.

  — Dee Melton





I finished this book about an hour ago. However, I had to go outside and to our Circle for meditation and prayer. The mesmerizing web thatVila SpiderHawk weaves about Judy and her saga in the forest with her teacher leaves one breathless. You have to take some time out in order to shake off the spell in order to re-enter the real world. Wado Vila for such an awesome book

  — Loreen Silvarahawk





Fabulous - Oh my i was so happy with the book. the Author caught the characters so well. 5 stars

  — jules moon





Nancy Ayers I love this book! Can't wait to finish it and see what happens next. It's a treasure. Thanks Vila, for this awesome book!




EXCELLENT BOOK!
This is truly a magnificent book. I thought Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones was good, but this one is even better (if that's possible). SpiderHawk introduces us to Judy, who is at once charming and willful and shows how Judy finds her true home in the forest. There she learns of the Nazi threat to come and she works with her teacher and others in the forest to help the Jews as well as the poor and the sick. In the process our young heroine grows into her womanhood. This is the first in the Forest Song series, and it is a wonderful start. I couldn't wait to get the second book of the series! You MUST read this book! You'll never forget these characters!

  — Subway_Girl





Comment on Forest Song: Finding Home

Patti Wiser also commented on Vila SpiderHawk's link.

Patti wrote: "It is so easy to get Vilas books on amazon. I have all of them and I have just finished Finding Home and as soon as I was done with that I started Little Mother. They are wonderful books"




Reviews of Forest Song: Finding Home as seen on Barnes and Noble's site

Anonymous

Posted April 29, 2011

You will not be able to put it down!
What a wonderful story of a little girl determined to get what she feels is right. With an old soul that knows where it belongs, Judy finds a way to get what she knows in her heart is where she belongs! She goes through heartache and trials, but in the end she learns a great deal about life, herself, and those around her as well as the cruel world in which she was raised.

The woods are far more secure than her mother tries to tell her, and Judy falls in love with the creatures of the forest. She is finally at home! You will find the story easy to relate to and hard to put down. A delightful tale, well written and pulls you in with every page. Read all three in the series and you will not be sorry!




I profoundly thank Eilish for allowing me to make her words public, since her comments are so very personal. Thank you, Sweet Eilish! May the healing continue!

As I read deeper into the Forest Song trilogy, I see that I'm reading it differently than Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones. It seems to be going slower, but I love that, as I feel the story coming up around me...almost like it's 3-D. It's very much about the power of now for me. Although I'm 48 years of age, I feel like I'm growing up with it.

You are so right Sharon. In my lifetime I've seen so much and been through so much and this trilogy is enabling me to face my ugly past and finally put it where it belongs. I lived within that fenced in place, literally and figuratively and I'm breaking free and coming back to who I am and living the life I was meant to. I do laugh and I do cry...tears of grief and also tears of joy. I have moments where I will put the books down and just sit and feel...I'm allowing myself to have moments...and I am becoming empowered.

The magic and the healing that is happening is amazing and so powerful. The grand thing is that I'm learning to comfort myself in the hard times, and I'm learning to love myself, my life everyday. I can't help but laugh too...I'm both honored and humbled to be sharing this journey with all of you. Sometimes I think I'd like to write a book about reading these books and what they've done to change my life so profoundly.

  — Eilish O'Malley





I have read millions of books and truth is that book from your heart [Forest Song: Finding Home] sang to mine ...indeed my all time favorite ..makes me feel not so alone and I understand the wisdom of my crone.

  — Gypsy SpiritWind





FIRST IN THE FOREST SONG SERIES, By

Gayl Micheo (Antioch, CA United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Forest Song: Finding Home (Kindle Edition)

This is the first book in this amazing series. All of these books focus on a girls coming of age in different cultures. Vila's gift of storytelling is nothing short of superb. Her books should be required reading for all girls, women too!

Vila is amazingly gifted as a writer and a storyteller. She weaves a magic web around the reader, telling the story of Judy Baumann so well and so vividly that you can see the places, the people and animals, hear their voices, smell the scent of the forest, every plant, every blade of grass. You taste the food, feel the texture of anything that is touched. You rejoice with the people in the book, and you also cry with them. She makes you feel that they have become your dearest friends. Once you start reading you will not be able to put any of her books down until you finish them!

I highly recommend ALL of her books to everyone. These are books you will savour and keep. You will not want to give them away. FIVE STARS TO MS. SPIDERHAWK

Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones
Forest Song: Finding Home
Forest Song: Little Mother
Forest Song: Letting Go

  —





5.0 out of 5 stars How powerful the call of true home ..., September 1, 2011

This review is from: Forest Song: Finding Home (Perfect Paperback)

As if inviting us into a warm and cozy room, the first page opens like a door, and we are greeted by an elderly woman who invites the reader in to tell the tale of her life. Somewhere in the vicinity of Germany and Poland, around the year 1929, a little girl called Judy Baumann (now the elderly woman) lived in poverty with her mama, her papa and her brother Johann.

Little Judy longed for the woods. Not just longing to play among the trees, but more--she felt the forest call to her in the way that one senses the call of home, almost like a siren call. It wasn't so much that her family didn't love her, but her life with them is harsh and anything but nurturing. Judy wants something more ... right.

When Herr Schuler, a brusque neighbor, molests her, her parents shrug it off. The man has influence; he shouldn't be angered. Even her mother sends her the message that she must tolerate such things, that there are "man dangers" for women in life, and that is how it is.

Judy works hard, tries to please her parents, wants to bring a little brightness into their bleak and impoverished life, yet is forever misunderstood or brushed off. It is difficult for the reader not to feel some sympathy for Judy's mother, who toils away as a seamstress and quietly supports the family, even while letting Judy's father think that they survive due to his efforts. Yet she borders on, and sometimes crosses into, abusiveness with her daughter. No doubt it is all she knows, the best she knows, and thinks it wise to keep her daughter's expectations of life to the absolute minimum or risk disappointment such as she knows. It's parenting that kills the child's spirit.

Judy's spirit will not be quashed. She finds it ever more impossible to stay away from the woods surrounding their home. Her father builds an ugly iron fence around the house to keep her in after her repeated attempts to run to the woods. Her mother warns her of the dangers of the forest, telling horror stories in an attempt to instill fear. And still, the little girl cannot resist the call of the forest. Again and again, she tries to escape, and at last succeeds.

It is then that the true enchantment begins, with Judy finding a new family in the forest--of animals and other fairy creatures, of kind witches and beings that shape shift from animal to human and back again, and talking trees. The author paints this world with such vivid colors that it comes alive in the mind's eye, and one feels as welcome there as if finding home as well, on the page. The contrast between Judy's two worlds couldn't be more stark.

Judy grows up in the forest, from girl into woman, and much unlike her human family, here she is raised with kindness, compassion and encouragement. She is raised without fear and without instilling fear. Woven throughout her lessons from the forest folk are an acceptance of the cycle of life and death, a woman's role in society and in family, a kind of spiritual and equally physical liberation. Nature is shown utmost respect, understood as a living thing that sustains us, and plants and animals as having innate value. In short, many of those lessons we've lost in contemporary society.

On the cycle of life and death:

"Death is a natural part of life, little one. If candles burned eternally, you'd have to sleep in their light. And if people and creatures didn't die, no one could have joy of a baby in the house. We have to make room for that which is new while honoring that which was ... Mourn the loss of your friend. But understand that your tears are for yourself. " (Page 250-251)

On the role of pain and how life is sustained by life:

"'Nobody gets through life without causing pain ... We kill to survive.' She gestured to her plate. `... the wheat in these pancakes was once a living thing. The apples were too. Life feeds upon life. That's just the way it is ... We have to do harm to stay alive, and so we do it with reverence for the sacrifice the plants agreed to make for us.

`Doing what is needed to fulfill your destiny is another means of survival. You could try to deny the work you're destined to do, but you'd be wretched for the whole of your life. And the person you worry about hurting now would suffer even more for your pain." (Page 263)

On women's subjugation to men when selling their bodies:

"The sin you committed was against yourself. You've damaged your body, but more importantly, you've done great harm to your soul ... There's nothing sinful in joyful, loving sex. But none of this has brought you anything even vaguely resembling joy ... You've accepted the notion that a woman can be sold, or worse, rented by the hour, and so you insult and diminish yourself ... you are not a commodity." (Page 277)

Many of these life lessons come from Matka Lasu, a kind of grandmotherly elder witch with a kind heart. It is not only Judy who comes to her in the forest for healing, but an ever present parade of broken women and girls. Many of them are pregnant and have nowhere to go. Others are abused or driven by hunger and poverty. All are helped, all are healed, even if some must die--in the cycle of life.

Forest Song: Finding Home is one in a series of books by Vila SpiderHawk. It's the second by this author I've read. SpiderHawk's work has a haunting, soothing quality, like a warming balm, finding those aching places most all girls and women have and resonating with understanding. It's a story that can be read by any age group, from preteen to elderly adult, and still find enjoyment and value. While life lessons abound, they are delivered gently, and interwoven seamlessly into the storyline, so that they do not read as preachy or didactic, but rather as the logical steps along a young girl's hero quest to fulfill her potential.

~for The Smoking Poet, Summer 2011 Issue

  — Zinta Aistars "Writer & Editor" (Portage, MI United States)





Vila has taken something near and dear to all of our hearts and spun a series of books that tantalize, make you rejoyce and weep for these characters of the Nazi Generation. You feel the power she gives Youg Judy and the miseries of each person she interacts with to your deepest Soul Rendering crevase. I have never seen such power and devotion written in print before. You will be digging with Judy to get free; you will cry with her for every loss. You will not be able to wait till you download the next book to see if they all stay alive...A devoted Fan for life Peggy Hicks




5.0 out of 5 stars An escape that leaves you wanting more, May 23, 2011

By Julie A. R. Reeser "abetterjulie" (Maryland) - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Forest Song: Finding Home (Kindle Edition)

This was the best kind of book in that while I was reading it, I was able to feel far away and upon returning to "my world", was the better for having read it. I found myself becoming more grounded, a better listener, and gentler with those in my life. Isn't that the true test of a vacation?




I just finished the first book of the Forest Song series and found it immensely satisfying. It has made me a better mother and listener. What a special gift you have!

  — Julie Okal Reeser





What a wonderful story of a little girl determined to get what she feels is right. With an old soul that knows where it belongs, Judy finds a way to get what she knows in her heart is where she belongs! She goes through heartache and trials, but in the end she learns a great deal about life, herself, and those around her as well as the cruel world in which she was raised.

The woods are far more secure than her mother tries to tell her, and Judy falls in love with the creatures of the forest. She is finally at home! You will find the story easy to relate to and hard to put down. A delightful tale, well written and pulls you in with every page. Read all three in the series and you will not be sorry!

  — Jeni Merritt Watkins





Angelique Autumn posted on your Wall.

Angelique wrote:

"I finished Finding Home yesterday! LOVED IT!!!! The ending was perfect. So, i will now open LIttle Mother and begin another fabulous read!!!! I love the cover pictures and the way the inside looks! These are delightful books! Thanks Vila for pouring your heart out so I could get lost in the forest!






This review is from: Forest Song: Finding Home (Kindle Edition)

This book is truly magical. The whole time I was reading it I felt like I had been transported back through time and was seeing things the way that Judy did. Vila does an amazing job with her writing and you really get to know her characters. I highly recommend this book for those that want to learn that anything is possible and for those you just want a great way to escape for a few hours.

  — By Marie Mitchell





This review is from: Forest Song: Finding Home (Perfect Paperback)

A truly charming story of a little girl's journey as she seeks her life's path, traveling into the forest where she conquers her fears, encounters adventures, and makes wonderful, magical friends along the way. The author's writing style draws you in and carries you along with Judy as she grows into the wise woman she was destined to be. A beautiful and touching story... I can't wait to read more!

  — By R. White





Review as seen on Single Titles Website

http://singletitles.com/?p=5410

FOREST SONG: FINDING HOME by Vila SpiderHawk

"The Forest Song calls to us all…"

This fantasy story takes place in the wood between Germany and Poland in the late twenties and early thirties. Judy Baumann lives with her family on the edge of the frontier, “a lawless place filled with man dangers“, according to her mother. Judy is not allowed to go into the woods that sweetly call to her. In fact, her father builds an iron fence to keep Judy in and away from the woods. But she is not to be denied and finds a way to escape with her ceramic doll friend to the magical woods where fairies greet her and she finds her true home with a wise witch. Judy instantly feels like she is coming home and is greeted as such.

Living in the forest, Judy is taught to respect all living things and to use what is provided by the forest and her own work. She learns ceremonies and spells from the wise witch as well as the magic of the runes and how to care for others in need. But she leans far more, she learns to grow gracefully, trusting her knowledge and the forest surrounding her; she discovers how to give back, helping her family to find peace. And Judy grows into a wise woman of the forest just as her friend and mentor.

I am thoroughly enchanted, FOREST SONG FINDING HOME calls to me on a primitive level. I am transported to my own childhood where all things were possible and the creatures of the woods were my friends. But as I read on, this hauntingly beautiful book imparts a knowledge about human nature that gives hope despite the wickedness in the world. Escape the modern work a day life and delve into Vila SpiderHawk’s entrancing forest world. Her prose-like words will soothe and transport readers to another time, another place of peace and tranquility. Ms. SpiderHawk’s writings are gems waiting to be discovered and treasured as all classics must.




I am now reading the Forest Song series written by Vila Spiderhawk and available at Amazon.com.

Vila's work is inspiring in the best way possible for women of all ages. The writing is simply marvelous and riveting. You will not be able to put any of these books down. This is a must read set of books.

These books are what I consider a masterpiece in the artistry of words.

  — Katy Shelton





I bought the kindle version of this book recently and just read it over the last couple days on my laptop. It was so wonderfully magical that I couldn't stop reading until I could no longer see the screen. I absolutely love this book and can't wait to get the next one in the series.

Vila Spiderhawk is fast becoming one of my favorite authors. Her writing in this book is so beautifully descriptive that I felt as though I were in the forest along with her characters. I laughed with them, celebrated the seasons with them and grieved with them.

In "Forest Song: Finding Home", Vila takes the reader on a journey to a forest, peopled with magical creatures. Her main character Judy, a young girl growing up in the mid to late 1930's in Eastern Europe, feels inexplicably drawn to the woods from the time that she is very young. Vila Spiderhawk weaves a tale of longing, guilt, beauty and magic. It is a story of courage, self discovery, and of inner strength, woven throughout with the magical threads of love.

I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in this remarkable series. If you enjoy stories of magic and wonder, I truly think that you will love "Forest Song: Finding Home".




Dear Ms. SpiderHawk,

I signed up for your free chapter of Hidden Passages, and I enjoyed it so much that I bought the book. I am also enjoying the stories I get every month now that I’ve signed up. They’re SO well written!

Anyhow, I recently bought Forest Song: Finding Home hoping that it would be half as good as Hidden Passages. I sure wasn’t disappointed! WOW! This book got me from the very first page! What a story! And what vivid descriptions! I can literally taste the food you describe! I can hear the wind and the birds and smell the scent of the woods! You are really an amazing writer! Thank you so much for writing this! I am definitely going to get Forest Song: Little Mother now! There’s no question about it. You have become my favorite author! Glenda Richards




HI Vila~ I finished Finding Home tonight and it was such a thrilling book! I never can find the words to say how much your writings mean to me! You’re such a revelation to me. I learn so much from you and I'm so in awe of your wisdom. Thank you for writing this book! Jon DiBenedetto




Review of Forest Song: Finding Home, as seen in issue 78 of Sage Woman Magazine

Forest Song: Finding Home is the first of a series of novels about Judy Baumann, wise woman of the woods. Vila SpiderHawk introduces the protagonist as a little girl living with her impoverished family on a farm in the contested lands between Poland and Germany. The year is 1929, and Judy is already hearing the siren call of the wild. “It wasn’t the wind in the trees or the splashing of rain against arthritic trunks,” she tells us. “Those sounds were there, in their proper seasons … but there was something else curling through [bird sounds and chirping crickets]…. Sometimes late at night I’d awaken with a start and stand on my bed near my slot of a window and watch the shimmering white halo dance like angel wings around the crowns of the trees, and I’d promise, “I’m coming. I’m coming soon.”(p. 12). But Judy’s mother warns her of unknown dangers and calls her willful. Her father hires a salacious blacksmith to build an iron fence around the farm to keep the little girl safe.

Judy does, of course, get out of jail. She digs under the bars and escapes into the forest — and is promptly frightened by how wild it is. She’d expected something like a Disney fantasy, but what she finds are “predatory vines,” creepy-crawlies, and wild things. She is terrified.

Suddenly she meets a talking tree that comforts her. This being introduces her to the fairy Malgorzata, who takes her to Matka Lasu, the Polish Mother of the Woods. Matka Lasu, who seems to be an unusually magical witch, adopts Judy and begins teaching herbal and other kinds of transformational magic to the child. Sometimes, as when Judy learns to travel as a spider, Matka Lasu’s pedagogical techniques remind us of Merlin’s work with young Wart in T.H. White’s trilogy about King Arthur.

In the forest, Judy has come to her true home. She is, in fact, so much at home in Matka Lasu’s underground house that her visits back to her birth family are troublesome. When she gets her first ride in a pickup truck, for example, she faints, and she also sees that her beloved older brother is already turning into a young Nazi. Even though she takes magical gifts, like ever-renewing gold coins, home, she realizes that these people are not her true family.

With a rural setting that seems almost medieval (except for a treadle sewing machine and the truck), friendly wild animals, and beneficent magical beings, Forest Song: Finding Home might almost be one of the tales collected by the Brothers Grimm, or perhaps it is in the tradition of Kipling’s Jungle Book.

But let’s remember the setting: Germany at the beginning of the Great Depression, in an impoverished country ready to listen to Hitler.

Living in a magical land is not living in paradise. Judy is indeed a willful child, and she learns some hard lessons about life and death. As the book ends, Judy is growing up, and we witness her first menstruation, with its attendant ritual, gifts from goddesses, and the arrival of a fertility god.

Vila SpiderHawk has already published the second book in the series, Forest Song: Little Mother as well as Forest Song Cookbook. She promises to tell the story of Judy’s life as a forest witch, and that is something for readers to look forward to. Review by Barbara Ardinger.




Vila, I am about 3/4 completed with your "Forest Home" book. It is so rich with detail and I have totally just lost myself in the story. I become "Judy" and feel just as she did with Matka Lasu and the loss of her beloved friend. Your words are such a blessing. I just can’t wait to read your other books!

  — Phoenix





Vila, I have Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones and Forest Song: Finding Home I keep them right by my bed. I'm still trying to save the money for the cook book!!! These books are my sanity savers!!!! They are my "quiet place" when the pain gets really bad, or I want to "get away" I wouldn't want to go to bed if they weren't on my night stand. To be honest, they helped me make it through the Yule season which is a very hard time for me.

You just don't know how much your books help me deal with pain, depression and sometimes when I get lonely. These past days when it's been so cold here, we aren't used to these temperatures, and it's caused me more than a little pain, so I crawl in my bed, and of course at least 3 of my kitties and the two dog's come too, we snuggle under the cover's and I open one of your book's. Soon I'm where ever the story takes me and the pain slips to "background noise" and that's where we spend the afternoon or the whole day!!!

  — Pam Short





Dear Vila,

I absolutely love your book [Forest Song: Finding Home]. It speaks to me on so many levels. I see myself in Judy, longing to get away from life and explore who she is truly meant to be. Nature, forest, birds, butterflies, magic - have always been part of me and I am just discovering the joys of it now in my old life of 49.

Your writing is so inspirational and touches my soul. You have a wonderful gift and I thank you for sharing it.

  —Brenda





Vila, I have Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones and Forest Song: Finding Home I keep them right by my bed. I'm still trying to save the money for the cook book!!! These books are my sanity savers!!!! They are my "quiet place" when the pain gets really bad, or I want to "get away" I wouldn't want to go to bed if they weren't on my night stand. To be honest, they helped me make it through the Yule season which is a very hard time for me...so thank you my sister!!!!

  — Pam Short





I wanted to tell you I finished Forest Song: Finding Home and Forest Song: Little Mother. Loved them! You know, I want to find out more about what happens to Judy. Like does she see Klaus again? What happens to all the characters? Does the next book continue the story? If not, you should. I would love to have that story go on and on. Maybe you can just write more for me...LOL....just kidding obviously. But has anybody else asked you that and/or have you thought of that?

  — Love these books! Scarlett





Vila, I just have to tell you I am loving Forest Song Finding Home! I cried when Masha died...I mean, you are awesome!!! I don't get a lot of time to read, so it's a slow process several times a week, but I just love it!!! Can't wait to read the next book! Well, actually I'll just take my time reading this first of course...

  — Scarlett





Overall I have to say I loved reading Forest Song: Finding Home By Vila Spiderhawk. There are times that the book was so detailed that I felt everything that Judy was feeling. I felt like I could even almost taste the pierogies. I can even understand Judy because my parents didn’t understand my calling to the woods. The whole book was one big climax, which I loved. Anyone who loves fantasy will love this book. I can’t wait to read the next one and hopes there are more in this series. **** 4 stars

  — Laura Matthews, Reviewer Mind Fog Reviews





I just wanted to send you a note to tell you how much I really love Forest Song, Finding Home. I am not one to re-read a book. Once I have read it, I am not one to pick it back up again. However, I can read Judy's story over and over again and feel like I am reading it for the 1st time every time. I look forward to being able to read the next saga in Judy's life! I am going to ask for it for Christmas this year and I know it will be one of my favorite gifts...:) I just wanted you to know how much I love your writing Vila.

  — Kathy  www.TheCelticWitch.com





Forest Song: Finding Home has changed my perspective on a lot of things that deal with life, death, and the rest. The characters are vivid and alive and the situations strike a chord of familiarity in me that I have rarely seen or read anywhere else. The writing is exquisite in its simplicity and I could not put the book down to save my life! I give this book MANY thumbs up!

  — Kate Marian Mason, author of Lady of Shadows: The Coming of the King





Forest Song: Finding Home by Vila SpiderHawk - Book Review by Dawn "Belladonna" Thomas

Posted October 19th, 2008 by Anonymous

I was excited to begin this book after reading Ms. SpiderHawk’s book Hidden Passages: Tales of to Honor the Crone. I was definitely not disappointed. The story begins with a young girl, Judy, living with her family in Germany. Her family builds a wrought iron fence to attempt to contain her. Judy hears the song of the forest and constantly tries to break through and run for the woods. She realizes at a young age that she doesn’t fit in with “city life.” When Judy finally makes it to the woods, it changes her whole world. She sees and hears things differently than what she is used to. The lessons that she learns are essential to all of us. Those she meets in the woods become more of a family than she ever had with her biological family. Judy learns about relationships, magic, and ways to honor nature and Goddesses.

I found myself rereading sections because the messages in the story are so profound. I can see myself becoming more involved. I felt very strong about this message: “But rituals are important. Without them it’s easy to forget who you are. And if you lose yourself you can’t help other people.”

Ms SpiderHawk is a talented storyteller and I believe I will be rereading this story again and again. I am sure that I would enjoy any book that she wrote and I am already looking forward to her next book.




Divine Caroline Book Reviews
Forest Song: Finding Home
By: Sandra Carrington-Smith (View Profile)

With words as magical as the realms she so skillfully describes, Vila Spiderhawk's charming voice shines through the pages of "Forest Song: Finding Home".

Spellbinding bits of wisdom are delightfully threaded through the fibers of a most enchanting story, in which harsh reality and blissful fantasy dance gracefully together.

The reader can't help identifying with at least one of the wonderful characters in the story, especially Judy, the young and courageous little girl whom, under the watchful eye of her teacher Matka Lasu, is gradually initiated into the mysteries of womanhood, birth and death; through Judy's eyes, one sees the connection with all expressions of life, and glimpses at the greater concept of being part of a whole. In the end, as Judy finds herself reflected into the very thing she feared in the beginning, she discovers that embracing one's fears is the road that will lead to one's true power. "Forest Song: Finding Home" is a book I will not soon forget, and I certainly believe that it is a must-read for all who seek greater enlightenment, or even for those who just need a good story to brighten their day.




I am not through reading Forest Song: Finding Home, but It is just so EXCITING! You are not sure what pops up next!!! Vila you are a wonderful writer and because of this amazing book I am going to buy the other one [Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones] when I can. I so recommend this book!!!! My husband picked it up (that is one of the reasons I' am not finished yet). He just loves it! He could not put it down! Thank Vila!!!! You are so AWSOME!!!!

  — Vikki Sawyer





REVIEWS OF FOREST SONG: FINDING HOME

Published in Cosmic Cauldron



Rev Stormy Monday



I am not a book reviewer by far, in fact as a youngster, I had a terrible time in English class. And I realize that there is a book reviewer here at the Cosmic Cauldron, and I am sure he could review this book a lot better than I.

Sometimes, however, you read a book, and just get the feeling that you must tell everyone that you know about it. I have been, and now I wish to share what I can of it with you. The book is called, 'Forest Song Finding Home' by Vila SpiderHawk. Vila wrote another book prior to this one called 'Hidden Passages Tales to Honor the Crones'. Both are fantastic!

But it is Forest Song that has touched home and touch my soul, and now, I wish to share it with the world. As far as writing a review, I am not that good at this, but her characters feel alive, and her descriptions will bring you to where she wishes you to be in the book. My main point here is that there is a message here in this book...some of us have found our homes, and some are still searching. My home lies in the calling of the forest. The following is a post I posted at MySpace and Pagan Space, (with Vilas' permission). I am not very good at book reviews, but perhaps reading a few of her words will be review enough for you to Find Home.....

"Kochanie, people come in and out of our lives. Sometimes they stay with us for only a moment. Sometimes they're with us for years and years. But long time or short, they inevitably bring us a lesson or a blessing to remember." She held me at arms length and offered me her hankie, on which I blew my nose.
"Don't ground yourself in people or in time or in place. Time passes: places change, and people are explorers. They don't tend to stay put, and when the time is right, we all wander into death. Everybody dies, Kochanie, even Tranoc." She grabbed a fistful of dirt and handed it to me. "Ground yourself in Matka Ziemia, our Mother, the Earth. Wherever you are She'll be under your feet, supporting and guiding you." Sitting on the forest floor, she took me to her lap. I'd grown since the last time we had sat that way, and I didn't quite know what to do with my legs. I settled on letting them sprawl on the ground. "The trick is to let people come and go, let time pass and let places change. Life is not static. And so we love what is, and when it changes, as it inevitably will, we go on, grateful for the lessons and blessings those people, those times, or those places brought us." She kissed my forehead and each of my cheeks. "Love always means knowing when to let go."
"Then I don't want any part of love," I pouted, paradoxically hugging her neck.
"If you can't feel the thorn," she whispered in my ear, "you can't feel the velvet of the rose." She squeezed me again. 'Come now, Kochanie. Let's give those tears to the stream."

Forest Song Finding Home by Vila SpiderHawk is page 300 in the most beautiful book I have ever read, and if I had a class of Pagan students, this book would be a must read!!!!

If you want a most beautiful book to read, please find this book! Forest Song Finding Home by Vila SpiderHawk. You won't regret buying this book, I promise you!!!






Forest Song – Finding Home by Vila Spiderhawk © Vanilla Heart Publishing ISBN 978-0-9814739-8-7 399 pages $15.99 (U.S.)

This is the second book I have read by this author. The first was Hidden Passages, which was a collection of short stories. This one is a full length novel, which allows for greater character development.

This book is a treat. It has so many facets it is dazzling. It is a fascinating story of a young girl’s encounters with life. It is a novel set in the recent past. It teaches basic magical concepts and beliefs. On top of all that it is an enjoyable book which is fun to read.

It is, I suspect (and hope) the prelude to a series of books which will allow us to experience Judy’s journey from a gawky pre-teen running away from an over-controlling family through her years to the start of her life as woman, and on to her crone-hood. There is much to tell if this book is any indication.

Ms. SpiderHawk knows how to tell a story. It will appeal to a wide range of readers, ranging in age from young adult through senior citizen; from those looking for a fun story to members of the Pagan community looking for a way to pass along some basic knowledge in a painless way.

I cannot recommend this author’s work strongly enough. Vanilla Heart Publishing is also becoming a favorite publisher.

  — Michael Gleason





Forest Song: Finding Home sings indeed—with verbal imagery and plot turns that keep you eager for every morsel.

  — Jim Mc Conkey, author of Journey to the Far Side of Earth





Vila SpiderHawk's exquisite prose paints detailed images of Judy's experience; we feel her every emotion, hear every bird call, smell every earthy scent, experience for ourselves everything Judy experiences as she grows from gawky girl into Wise Woman of the Woods. SpiderHawk truly knows the forest, and does a masterful job of conveying the wisdom you will garner if you listen, just listen, to the music of the trees.

  — Smoky Trudeau, author of Redeeming Grace and The Cabin





Forest Song: Finding Home is a book not to be missed by maiden, mother, or crone. SpiderHawk has done it again! One more MUST read that will become a classic.

  — Helen Collins, creator, editor, and publisher of Folk Music Ministry Magazine





Dear Vila,

I read Forest Song: Finding Home cover to cover! Put it down? Not a chance!!! I laughed and cried and it hit me right in the heart, just the way it should! And I plan to read it again and again! What a marvelous book! My advice to people is: forget the million things you have to do and sit down and read this book! You'll be soooooooo glad you did.

  — Sandi





What can I say about this brilliant book that hasn't already been said over & over again? I am the very proud owner of a personally signed copy of Forest Song [Finding Home] and it left me with a feeling of joy, peace & fulfillment. It's wonderfully crafted as well as being a delight to read. Truly, it calls to you and sings to the very depths of your soul. It is filled with insight, wisdom and happiness. Do yourselves a favor and buy this lovely book. I was entranced from the first page to the last.

Thank you, Vila, for giving such a literary gem to the public.

Blessings

  — Jo Gray, author of Tails from the Cat Basket





Forest Song: Finding Home is an enchanting tale which captivates the mind and soothes the soul

With words as magical as the realms she so skillfully describes, Vila Spiderhawk's charming voice shines through the pages of "Forest Song: Finding Home".

Spellbinding bits of wisdom are delightfully threaded through the fibers of a most enchanting story, in which harsh reality and blissful fantasy dance gracefully together.

The reader can't help identifying with at least one of the wonderful characters in the story, especially Judy, the young and courageous little girl who, under the watchful eye of her teacher Matka Lasu, is gradually initiated into the mysteries of womanhood, birth and death; through Judy's eyes, one feels the connection with all expressions of life and glimpses at the greater concept of being part of a whole.

In the end, as Judy finds herself reflected into the very thing she feared in the beginning, she discovers that embracing one's fears is the road that will lead to one's true power.

"Forest Song: Finding Home" is a book I will not soon forget, and I certainly believe that it is a must-read for all who seek greater enlightenment, or even for those who just need a good story to brighten their day.

  — Sandra Carrington-Smith, Author of "The Book of Obeah" and "Housekeeping For The Soul" http://www.bookofobeah.com





Forest Song: Finding Home is a true masterpiece. I just loved Judy and her mother and Matka Lasu and the other characters. Vila SpiderHawk’s words took me far away from where I was and put me into the story so that I couldn’t put the book down. I found myself re-reading a few of the chapters just because they were such a joy to read. I just loved this book and didn’t want it to end! If you liked Hidden Passages: Tales to Honor the Crones. You’ll love Forest Song: Finding Home. It really is an amazingly beautiful book!

  — Danielle Crawford





"For those who are reading this, and I hope that you all are, I would like to talk for a moment about Vila SpiderHawk's book. After reading 'HIDDEN PASSAGES Tales to Honor the Crones', I thought that it probably didn't get much better that that. But I have since received Vila's new book, 'FOREST SONG- Finding Home'. I must admit, I have not had much time to read as of late! So this wonderful book sat on the bookshelf, patiently waiting. As it sat, it called to me, just slightly at first, then a little more each day. Today, even though I have a million things I must do, 'Forest Song' actually made me pick it up and asked me to read just the first two pages. So I did. Upon reading the first two pages, I came to realize, stop with the million things you feel you need to do... make time to read this book!! Vila, may I say to you, after only two pages of your wonderful new book, I soooooooo look forward to making the time now to finish this book! I can tell it will be another 'can't put it down till it is finished' book. Thank you my friend Vila, you are amazing!!! I hope it is OK with you if I put in this quote from the very start of your new wonderful book, 'FOREST SONG Finding Home'.

  — Robert Morini





I am a voracious reader with eclectic tastes. Every now and then a writer comes along whose work gathers my attention so that I seek more and more of her work.

Vila Spiderhawk [http://vilaspiderhawk.covenspace.com/] is one of those writers who captivates me. I read Hidden Passages: Tales To Honor The Crones non-stop and found myself looking for more from Vila!

And now! Right now, there is m-o-r-e! I just got the book yesterday, and I am already halfway through Forest Song: Finding Home. This is Vila's second book, and it is an ambitious, courageous adventure into the psyche. It has passages that reach the heights in the lyric mastery that lets the spirit know that for those who are willing ~ there is always help and hope!

  — (Many Feathers)


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