So I had a really good review written if I do say so myself and lost all of it so here we go a second time.
Title: Under the Whispering Door
Author: T. J. Klune
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Release Date: 28th October 2021
Number of Pages: 384
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Fantasy
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 shops 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 would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
I have been wanting to pick up a T. J. Klune book up for a while now and so glad that I finally did. This is a new all time favorite book and I could never do it justice in this review but going to try anyway.
If you like fast paced plot driven books then this is not for you however if you love slow burn character focused books then I highly recommend picking this one up.
This book follows Wallace who doesn’t care about anything other than his work and is honestly pretty cruel. One moment he is working extra hours at his law firm and the next he is attending his one funeral. There he meets Mei who introduces herself as his Grim Reaper and she takes him to a way station between life and death where he meets his Ferryman Hugo who is tasked with helping Wallace come to terms with his life and death and to help him move on however Wallace is having none of it. Wallace also isn’t the only ghost in residence.
Wallace isn’t a very likable character he is selfish and cruel however his character development is so well done and worth the read. The way he manages to form a family with these strangers he meets was truly an honor to read about and favorite take on the found family troupe. Next we have Mei who has such a big and strong personality and has been through so much that she then uses to help others in need. We also have Hugo who has such a quite strength and is so sweet and empathetic and you just want to protect him at all costs. Then we have Nelson who is Hugo’s grandfather and the best character in my opinion. He is hilarious, likes to mess with people but isn’t cruel and all he really wants is to protect Hugo. And of course we can’t forget mans best friend Apollo who proves that the loyalty dogs have for those they love is never ending.
There is also a romance subplot that you can’t help but fall in love with and will break your heart.
This is one of the most profound books I have read. The exploration on death is done so beautifully and really puts live into perspective and reminds you to live and feel every moment both the good and the bad as this is all we get and we aren’t guaranteed any of it. I also read this at a time in my life where I am going through a lot of changes and having this reminder was exactly what I needed. There are also so many beautiful quotes that I think we should all remember and try to live by.
This story also shows that it’s never too late to make changes in our life, that it’s okay to reach out and ask for help when we need it and the importance of supporting others when they reach out to us. It also has really well done mental health representation and grief depiction.
This is not only a diverse read in it’s mental health representation but Wallace is also bisexual, Hugo and his grandfather are black, Hugo is gay and Mei is Chinese American.
Overall, this was an amazing read and I gave it 5 out of 5 stars though it deserves a whole sky full of stars.
Trigger warnings for Death, death of a loved one, grief depiction, anxiety and depression.
Also I think it is important to mention that a lost of discussions have been going on around this author as a recent article came to light where he reports that some of his inspiration for the House in the Cerulean Sea came from Residential schools and I feel that if you are going to pick up a book by this author it is important to educate yourself on this and listen the the voices of indigenous people.
Have you read this book?? If so what were your thoughts?? Do you plan on reading it??