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Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune

November 13, 2021 in Book Reviews
Under the Whispering Door by T. J. Klune - Book Review

AD • I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review however all opinions are entirely my own.

Hello and happy Saturday! Today’s my turn on the blog tour for Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune and I’m so excited to talk to you about this book. In case you missed it, last year T.J. Klune released a fantasy book called The House in the Cerulean Sea which received rave reviews from readers and booksellers alike. So it goes without saying that Under the Whispering Door has been on many ‘most anticipated’ lists this year. And having now read it, I fully expect to see it pop up on just as many ‘best of 2021’ lists. It’s warm, hopeful and cosy – perfect for these colder days.

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.

Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.

TJ KLUNE is a Lambda Literary Award-winning author (Into This River I Drown) and an ex-claims examiner for an insurance company. His novels include the Green Creek series, The House on the Cerulean Sea and The Exraordinaries. Being queer himself, TJ believes it’s important—now more than ever—to have accurate, positive, queer representation in stories. (from T. J. Klune’s website)

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Book Review

Under the Whispering Door was delightfully cosy. Yes, it’s a speculative book about death and what comes after but it’s both hopeful and warm in its approach. It’s also very heavy on the found family trope. So much so that I genuinely felt at home at the tea shop amongst the Freemans and their guests. It was truly wonderful to read.

With that said, I should also add that it was extremely challenging getting through the final pages because I was crying so heavily that the words were a bit of a blur. Part of that is the emotional content on page but the rest was on a much more personal level. You see, this week marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of my wonderful grandad and my beloved guinea pig, Heidi. I knew it was going to tug at the heartstrings when the ghost grandad and ghost dog were introduced into the story but boy was it bittersweet. Within these pages, Klune gave me the words I needed at exactly the right moment in my life and for that I will be eternally grateful. As such, this book meant a lot more to me than I ever could have predicted going in.

At first, I struggled to get into the narrative because Wallace is not likable at all. He’s this self-centred lawyer and you don’t care all too much that he’s dead. However, this book is very much about his development into a warm, self-less ghost in death. One capable of love and friendship and putting others first. And so you do gradually warm to Wallace. It takes some time but it’s worth it. And I think that’s mirrored in the way that the other main characters warm to Wallace too.

One thing that I wasn’t too keen on is actually the synopsis. I mean, it’s like one of those Netflix trailers that shows you the entire plot of a film including all the pivotal moments. Nothing is left to the imagination. And I mean some of the things mentioned in the synopsis don’t even happen until way into the second third of the book. Sometimes even later than that. So my advice to prospective readers would be: don’t read the synopsis.

Is Under the Whispering Door on your TBR? Let me know in the comments below.

Hayley @ Cosy Chapters

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Hayley

I'm Hayley (she/her) and I'm more than a little bit bookish. Cosy Chapters is where I share all things book-related plus the occasional post about the cosy lifestyle. When I'm not reading, you'll find me spending time with my little family, rewatching sitcoms, planning the now somewhat elusive trip to Disneyland Paris and losing entire days playing ACNH.

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Welcome to Cosy Chapters!

I'm Hayley (she/her) and I'm more than a little bit bookish.

Cosy Chapters is where I share all things book-related plus the occasional post about the cosy lifestyle.

When I'm not reading, you'll find me spending time with my little family, rewatching sitcoms, planning the now somewhat elusive trip to Disneyland Paris and losing entire days playing ACNH.

Follow Cosy Chapters on WordPress.com

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