Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy with TJ Klune’s signature “quirk and charm” (PW) about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with
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.
By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy
I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review
My Rating: 5 Stars
I genuinely have no idea how to even begin to write this review. How do I review a book that touched me as deeply as this one did? When I say that it changed the way that I think about not only death, but how I’m living my own life, I mean it. The House in the Cerulean Sea was my favorite read of 2020. I already know that I love TJ Klune’s sense of humor and his writing style. I honestly expected to love this book, but I didn’t know how I could possible love another book as much as I loved House. I can safely say that I love this book just as much, but in a completely different way.
Wallace is somehow both a complete and total asshole, and one of the most relatable and likable characters I’ve ever read about. If I’d met this man in real life (before he died), I am 100% sure I would’ve wanted to kick him in the balls. HARD. Being in his head, however, is a completely different experience. Watching his growth, being part of his experience after death, and falling in love through his eyes was absolutely amazing.
This is one of the most beautiful stories I’ve read that fully covers grief and loss in all of the different forms that it can take. Through it and the characters, I experienced the five stages of grief as well as the bone deep disappointment that comes with the realization that you didn’t live the life you expected to live. I was fully transported and felt so immensely connected to the characters.
I just can’t fully put into words how much and why I loved this book. All I can say is that you’ll want to preorder and read it. In the mean time, do yourself the favor of reading The House in the Cerulean Sea. They’ll hit you in completely different, but meaningful ways.