Book Recommendation of the Month, Reviews

Under The Whispering Door

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.

I’ve had this book since it was released last year as I preordered it the moment I heard about it. However after reading (and utterly adoring) The House in the Cerulean Sea last year, I was a little nervous about reading this book. I had loved my last TJ Klune so much and I still talk about it regularly, I was worried that I may not enjoy this book as much. I thought I may have set my expectations for TJ Klune too high. I shouldn’t have worried because I absolutely adored this book. This book made me just feel. I gave this book 5 shiny stars and it was my favourite read of January.

Grief and death are always a tough topics to include in book but I think that this book did a great job. With the topic of this book, there was a risk that it could have been a miserable read but it wasn’t. While the book was about death, it was also about hope. I found so many moments of sheer joy in this book. I already want to reread it!

I instantly got that Wallace was a horrible human being with no regard for other people, no empathy, he was such a nasty man. I really loved seeing him soften and realise the mistakes that he’d made and started to treat people like human beings. I think that his growth was just excellent and enjoyable to follow.

I loved Mei instantly! I loved the whole being a new reaper and making mistakes that Wallace would have seen as completely unacceptable. I loved how her relationship with Wallace grew especially after their initially awkward first meet. Her past was so sad but I loved that she used it to help her be a better reaper, I loved how protective she was and her passion towards scones was endearing.

Nelson was so funny! I loved how he played with Wallace and called him on his nonsense behaviour. I loved that he was like a guardian angel kind of ghost, teaching the ways to the newcomers. He made me laugh so much! I absolutely loved his reasons for staying at the tea shop, elderly characters are my secret weakness and I just loved him. He was an amazing grandfather and I’m going to have him as my fictional grandfather.

Hugo was adorable! He was a young man who had experienced pain and tried to use his experience to help others. He was so patient and kind but had his own battles. He just wanted to help and heal everyone even if it caused him pain. TJ Klune really knows how to write character than I love with my entire heart and I just wanted nothing but the best for Hugo!

I liked the hopefulness of this book. I didn’t feel like this was a book about the tea shop between the world of the living and whatever comes after we die, I felt a lot of joy reading this book. This was a very emotional read for me. While reading this I just kept thinking how much the people I’ve lost would have enjoyed a lovely tea shop before passing. As silly as it sounds, that gave me some peace

I ugly sobbed so hard during this book, the last few chapters took so long to read because reading through tears is difficult. I loved the characters so much and this book made me feel! When I say I sobbed, what I mean is that I open mouth sobbed and had to silence my tears with a t-shirt to prevent having to explain to the neighbours that I was hysterically sobbing at a book. This book joins the rank of books that I can’t describe the plot of without my eyes filling up (the list includes Atonement and Goodnight Mister Tom)

I thought that this book was just beautifully written and I was left feeling hopeful with a sort of sense of peace for those that have left us. I cannot even find the words to say how much I loved this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something heartwarming that leaves them feeling full of hope and happiness. However please be aware that this book does include death, suicide, murder, and death of a child so please take care of yourself.