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The Secret Book of Flora Lea
“Beautifully written and entrancing from the start, The Secret Book of Flora Lea had me wondering at first if the sister really had disappeared with the fairies - that's how magical the world feels, despite the real trauma these characters were going through in WWII. Told in dual timelines, Hazel's voice is captivating and I was rooting for her the whole way. My only quibble would be some anachronistic usages, like 'stalking', which was used a lot, but was not a common usage in the 1940s or 1960s, as it first became widely used in the late 1980s/early 1990s when actress Rebecca Schaeffer (My Sister Sam) was murdered by an obsessed fan. Other than that small language discrepancy throwing me out of the narrative from time to time, it was a beautiful, puzzling story of sisterhood and healing. ”Stacy,
The Curious Cat Bookshop
“This novel is The Secret Garden meets Goodnight Mr. Tom meets Gone Girl. I loved it! I've been listening to this as an audiobook on my morning walks and I've been having to take afternoon and evening walks as well, because I just can't wait to hear more. I love the thought of a magical world only the sisters share with their stories. Patti Callahan Henry just captures that wonder of childhood so well. This book is an easy handsell and one of my favorites so far this year!”Marya,
Out West Books
“Inspired by Operation Pied Piper, this dual timeline book is the tale of two sisters who were orphaned and separated during the Second World War. Years later the older sister comes upon a children’s book that is suspiciously like a story she used to tell her sister. A story no one else would know. Like Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Once Upon a Wardrobe, the author continues to enchant readers with magical prose, the hope of fairy tales, and the power of stories. ”Melanie,
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.
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. An astonishing twist ultimately reveals the truth in this transporting and refreshingly original novel about the bond between sisters, the complications of conflicted love, and the enduring magic of storytelling.
Patti Callahan Henry is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of several novels, including Surviving Savannah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis. She is the recipient of the Christy Award, the Harper Lee Award for Alabama’s Distinguished Writer of the Year Award, and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year. She is the cohost and cocreator of the popular weekly online live web show and podcast Friends and Fiction. A full-time author and mother of three, she lives in Alabama and South Carolina with her family. Find out more at PattiCallahanHenry.com.