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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

B&N Best Books of 2023!



I'm over the moon that #TheSecretBookOfFloraLea was named one of the @barnesandnoble "Best Books of 2023!" I'm in great company in the Historical Fiction category with @authormariebenedict & @_jeannettewalls_.

See all the amazing B&N selections and get some great ideas for your holiday shopping, HERE!

Our Favorite Historical Fiction

Living in the past has never been so enjoyable. These three historical fictions bring bygone eras to live.

Notes From Your Bookseller

Twenty years after WWII, a woman's life is upended when she discovers a mysterious book set in the imaginary world she created for her sister after being evacuated from war-torn London. Could this book be the key that helps her solve her sister's disappearance? This moving novel is sure to delight fans of Once Upon a River and The Paris Library.

This Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition includes an Original bonus essay exclusively for Barnes & Noble customers, and special endpapers.


When a woman discovers a rare book that has connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood spent in the English countryside during World War II are revealed.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated to a rural village to escape the horrors of the Second World War. Living with the kind Bridie Aberdeen and her teenage son, Harry, in a charming stone cottage along the River Thames, Hazel fills their days with walks and games to distract her young sister, including one that she creates for her sister and her sister alone—a fairy tale about a magical land, a secret place they can escape to that is all their own.

But the unthinkable happens when young Flora suddenly vanishes while playing near the banks of the river. Shattered, Hazel blames herself for her sister’s disappearance, and she carries that guilt into adulthood as a private burden she feels she deserves.

Twenty years later, Hazel is in London, ready to move on from her job at a cozy rare bookstore to a career at Sotheby’s. With a charming boyfriend and her elegantly timeworn Bloomsbury flat, Hazel’s future seems determined. But her tidy life is turned upside down when she unwraps a package containing an illustrated book called Whisperwood and the River of Stars. Hazel never told a soul about the imaginary world she created just for Flora. Could this book hold the secrets to Flora’s disappearance? Could it be a sign that her beloved sister is still alive after all these years?

As Hazel embarks on a feverish quest, revisiting long-dormant relationships and bravely opening wounds from her past, her career and future hang in the balance. An astonishing twist ultimately reveals the truth in this transporting and refreshingly original novel about the bond between sisters, the complications of conflicted love, and the enduring magic of storytelling.


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