Under the Whispering Door: A cosy fantasy about how to embrace life - and the afterlife - with found family.
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The writing is very good, simplistic and easy to follow. I think it is a book for everyone such as THITCS was and the found family trope which is Klune’s specialty is found in this one too. And not to sound too grim, the heavy topics are balanced with humor and fun moments with weird characters and laugh out loud moments. Desdemona and all the secondary characters plays a huge role in this!
As much as I typically enjoy TJ's quirky writing it just absolutely did not do it for me here. For a story that is attempting to be a meditation on death and dying this is about as deep as a kiddie pool and as emotionally moving as my morning cornflakes. It was a relief, really. This old body had worn down, and try as I might, I couldn't make it work like I wanted it to anymore. Sometimes, death is a blessing, even if we don't realize it right away.” She nodded, but he didn’t think she was hearing him. “This job is so important to me, now more than ever. The people here are like family. We all support one another, and I don’t know how I’d have made it this far without them. And to have you sense something was wrong and ask me to come in here so that I could vent means more to me than you will ever know. I don’t care what anyone else says, Mr. Price. You’re a good man.”Patricia nodded furiously. “Like we could afford that. Money doesn’t grow on trees! We’ve done our best to instill in our children a sense of financial understanding, but when you’re young, you don’t always have a firm grasp of it. And now that his bride-to-be is pregnant, he’s looking to us for help.” She sighed dramatically. “The only reason I can even get up in the morning is knowing I can come here and … escape from it all.” Grief isn’t something you push your way through—it’s something that becomes part of you, a knot that your heart eventually grows around. Under the Whispering Door is an exploration of that grief and how, through that pain, you can also celebrate life and love and human connection.
I adored The House in the Cerulean Sea, so jumped at this one with both feet when I heard about it! The cover is gorgeous too! Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this one as much. I liked it, but didn't love it, and that was for a few reasons. Firstly it just felt too similar to Cerulean. Wallace was Linus, Hugo was Arthur and they have their band of merry and adorable side characters living in a remote house. For the first part of the book, I kept hearing the narrator's voices for Linus and Arthur, which annoyed me! It was just too samey. Had I read this first, maybe I would have enjoyed it more, but I couldn't stop noticing the familiar characters, setting and tone.
I enjoyed the world building, and could really visualise the quirky teashop and all the characters. Perhaps it would make a good film? Discuss the characters’ relationship to clothing. What is it like for Wallace to adapt to a different approach to covering himself? For example, most of the book takes place in a tea house that is a mish-mosh of architectural styles that appears to be structurally unsound, and there’s not really a practical explanation for why it’s like that, apart to add to the “zany” atmosphere of the book. Similarly, Mei the Reaper is somehow able to transport Wallace in time and place with a snap of her fingers in the beginning of the book, but it’s not clear what the rules are about this or why she doesn’t or can’t use this ability in other contexts where it would’ve been useful.
Sweet, comforting, and kind, this book is very close to perfect. The House in the Cerulean Sea is a work of classic children's literature written for adults and children alike, with the perspective and delicacy of the modern day. I cannot recommend it highly enough.” —Seanan McGuire, New York Times bestselling author of Every Heart a Doorway Since 2009, John Hansen has been reviewing new and old movies, TV, books and comics. Shaune Redfield and Michael Olinger were previous regular contributors to RFMC.
He’s having trouble finding work,” Patricia said, crumpling up her tissue before reaching for another. She wiped her eyes, her makeup smearing. “And it couldn’t come at a worse time. Our son is getting married this summer, and we’re supposed to pay for half the wedding. I don’t know how we’ll manage, but we’ll find a way. We always do. It’s a bump in the road.” How do Nelson and Apollo transform the characters? What role do they play in helping us realize the presence of new pathways for finding our purpose? I truly wanted to love this book just as much as I did TJ's " House in the Cerulean Sea", but while it was good, approaching very good, it never quite got into 5-star awesomeness contention for me.