A Tale of Mystery and Enchantment

As a follower of Christ, Patti Callahan Henry understands our purpose and the promise of eternity in Heaven. Viewing The Secret Book of Flora Lea through this lens enhances its power.

In this mesmerizing novel, Hazel Linden’s world is upended when she discovers a rare book revealing long-held secrets about her missing sister, Flora. The story begins in 1939, with fourteen-year-old Hazel and her five-year-old sister, Flora, evacuated to the English countryside during World War II.

The sisters find solace with Bridie Aberdeen and her son, Harry, in a village along the River Thames. Hazel creates Whisperwood, a magical fairy tale world, to distract Flora from the war. But their world shatters when Flora vanishes, leaving Hazel with guilt that haunts her into adulthood.

Twenty years later, Hazel is ready to start a new chapter in London. Her life takes an unexpected turn when she receives a package containing an illustrated book titled Whisperwood and the River of Stars—a story known only to her and Flora. This discovery reignites Hazel’s hope that Flora might still be alive.

As Hazel embarks on a quest to uncover the truth, she revisits old relationships and confronts buried memories. This dual-time-line narrative, with its strong sense of place, endearing characters, and unexpected revelations, is both captivating and enchanting.

Patti Callahan Henry has truly outdone herself with The Secret Book of Flora Lea. It’s a poignant and magical story about the enduring bond between sisters, the power of storytelling, and the hope of second chances. Highly recommended. 5 stars.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a copy of this book. The opinions are my own.

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