Thank you to Netgalley and TOR for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune
Release Date: September 2st 2021
Tags: Fantasy | Adult | After Death | Ghosts | Ferryman | Reaper
Trigger/Content Warnings: Violent Death | Grief
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.
This was my first Klune book but I suspect it will not by my last. It was funny, reflective and heartwarming.
The first 50 pages I wasn’t so sure about this book. Wallace wasn’t exactly the most likeable character and I certainly didn’t feel like having to follow that piece of blah the whole book. But that changed when he accepted that he was dead. From an asshole of a character he turned to someone who could reflect on himself. Someone who started letting down his guard and started caring for those around him. Someone who regretting not doing that any sooner.
But most of all I was just so taken by the ferryman Hugo and the setting. Hugo is just such a precious cinnamon roll who deserves all the good things. Who will always do the right thing. Who will feel guilty for things that aren’t really his fault. And I can only imagine the amount of exasperation he has to deal with with his reaper who has anger management troubles, his ghost grandfather who likes to play jokes and then Wallace who ends up being even worse that his granddad.
And then the tea shop. The place where Hugo does his ferryman business. I love tea and seeing him be so busy with his tea plants and leaves and tastes that fit whoever comes into his shop, was so heartfelt. And it is such a wholesome place. I want to visit it. Just preferably while I’m alive, thanks.