Under the Whispering Door
Author: T.J. Klune
Publisher: Tor Books (September 21, 2021)
Hardcover, 384 pages
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
It took me until just past the 40% mark to actually get into this book, but then once I did it was wonderful. I don’t love that it took almost half of the book to get me there, though. Also I kept comparing this to T.J. Klune’s most recent book, The House in the Cerulean Sea. Maybe it’s not fair to compare the two, but Under the Whispering Door was just missing some of the charm and magic that I was expecting after reading The House in the Cerulean Sea. This book does have more of a romance element to it, which I enjoyed, and I love a “you’re alive but I’m a ghost, how can we make this work?” star-crossed lovers sort of romance.
Once again, T.J. Klune delivers a charming story about found family that tugs at the heartstrings. That would have been a solid 4 or 5 star read for me if not for the very, VERY slow start. I’m glad I didn’t DNF, but it was a close thing in the first half.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.