By Patti Callahan Henry
A Creative, Unexpected and Magical Story
It’s Hazel’s last day in the bookshop that she has worked at for the past fifteen years when she opens a package containing a book that will change her life. The package was a first edition new book called Whisperwood. But Whisperwood was the name of a story that Hazel had written when she was fourteen years old and responsible for taking care of her five-year-old little sister during wartime evacuations. Only she and her sister knew the Whisperwood fairy tale about a magical land about a secret place they could escape to, and they both promised never to tell anyone about it. But when Flora Lea vanishes while playing near a river bank, Hazel blames herself and lives with the guilt of her lost sister.
Twenty years later, someone has written about Hazel and Flora Lea’s secret story. How is that even possible? Hazel had thrown all of her notebooks containing the Whisperwood stories in the river the day Flora Lea disappeared. How could someone have written and published her remarkable story? Could it be her missing sister?
At the risk of losing everything she holds dear, Hazel begins an anxious quest to find this book’s author and perhaps the answers to questions about what happened to her darling younger sister.
Not very long ago, and not very far away, there once was, and still is an invisible place right here with us. And if you are born knowing, you will find your way through the woodlands to the shimmering doors that lead to the land made just and exactly for you.
The Secret Book of Flora Lea combines characters, setting, and story perfectly. It intertwines a real-life London wartime evacuation operation with the story of the bond between two sisters nurtured by their imagination of a mystical landscape. The story is beautifully creative, unexpected, and magical.
The entire cast of characters was exceedingly well-developed and artfully drawn. The writing is vividly descriptive and has an alternating timeline. Author Patti Callahan Henry’s writing is always superb, and this book is no different. She has woven a delightful tale that grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until the last page is turned.
Patti Callahan Henry is a full-time author of sixteen novels, a podcast host, and a mother of three, and she lives in Mountainbrook, Alabama. She has received numerous writing and book awards.
The narrator, Cynthia Erivo brought all the characters to life with her beautiful voice, perfect inflection, and steady pacing. Her emotional tone, accent, and dramatic style perfectly fit the book. Her subtle variations in dialog sweep you into the story. A perfect voice match for the book
Publisher Simon and Schuster Audio
Published May 2, 2023
Narrated Cynthia Erivo and Patti Callahan Henry