The Secret Book of Flora Lea Patti Callahan Henry

Posted April 20, 2024 by jrsbookr in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

by Patti Callahan
The Secret Book of Flora Lea  Patti Callahan HenryThe Secret Book of Flora Lea Published by Simon and Schuster on April 2, 2024
Genres: Fiction / General, Fiction / Historical / 20th Century / World War II, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Women
Pages: 384
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When a woman discovers a rare book with connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood in the English countryside during World War II are revealed in this “beguiling blend of hope, mystery, and true familial love” (Sadeqa Johnson, New York Times bestselling author).

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone—a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby’s. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel’s future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora’s disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?

As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. Spellbinding and atmospheric, “this heartrending, captivating tale of family, first love, and fate will sweep you away” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).

Reading Challenges: 2024 Audiobook challenge

Review:

When I finished listening to the last words of the author’s note for The Secret Book of Flora Lea, I could only say wow, that was so good. I was updating my spreadsheet and checking to see if I read anything by this author before, thinking I had not. Oh boy, was I wrong? This is the same author who wrote Once Upon a Wardrobe, which I loved, and now I know why it felt so right. She knows how to wrap you up in a magical, comforting story. Like the children in the Narnia series, this one is based on the time when young children were educated far from the bombings in London, and in this tale, we have a story woven by a sister comforting her sister far from home. What unfolds later in her life is the dark truth that her sister is still out there and that someone knows about the world she created and what that means for her sister. I was engrossed in the audiobook. I listened to the entire thing almost one day and was so caught up in the details that I hoped she would find her sister. What a fantastic story woven from history but wrapped in a fantastical tale, and I loved it.

About Patti Callahan

Patti Callahan is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Globe and Mail- bestselling novelist of sixteen novels, including Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Surviving Savannah, out now, and Once Upon a Wardrobe, out October 19, 2021. A recipient of the Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year, the Christy Book of the Year, and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year, Patti is the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series and podcast Friends & Fiction.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: