My copy of Under the Whispering Door, by TJ Klune, was kindly provided by NetGalley, and I shall thank them by being honest in my review.
Please read content warnings before reading this book. It deals heavily with the themes of death and various types of death and that may be unsettling to some readers.
So I’m going to be honest, I loved The House in The Cerulean Sea. It is one of my favorite books this year. But this book, this book just might have it beat.
The premise is simple. Wallace dies suddenly, and can hardly believe it except he’s at his own funeral. And there just so happens to be a reaper, Mei, there to collect him. Mei takes him to see Hugo, the ferryman, who just so happens to have the doorway to the afterlife in his tea shop.
Wallace is not particularly keen on this idea, as he would really prefer to be alive, thanks so much.
The book details Wallace’s journey through the five stages of grief as he experiences them from the other side of things. It’s interesting to see it from that perspective. You never think of the one’s we lost as having to grieve the lives and love ones they left behind.
We also meet a colorful cast of characters. From Hugo’s grandfather, Nelson, to Desdemona, a unique townsperson who, among other things, thinks she can turn Hugo’s head. For so many of them being dead, they feel so alive.
Klune created such a wonderful place in this little tea shop. It makes me want to visit. From charming locals, to a helpful reaper and enchanting ghosts, it also has scones! But in all seriousness, the world the author created is very rich for being so self contained.
Now to the nitty gritty. I laughed. I cried.
Like seriously, I was still crying as I sat down to write this review, it gave me all the feels.
To actually be serious, I lost my father a few years back, and I’d like to think he had someone like Mei or Hugo helping him to reach the other side. It was a nice thought to have and the description of those crossing through the doorway gave me an interesting sense of peace as well.
It also made me cry.
Please, bring tissues.
If I had to, I would say this book got 5 stars. Can I give a book 6 stars? No? 5 it is? Okay. Well. New favorite book! Does that help?