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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

Kirkus Starred Review


An enchanting tribute to the power of storytelling.



A young woman searches for the sister who vanished 20 years earlier in Henry’s magical novel. In the swinging London of 1960, Hazel Linden is working in a store selling rare books, about to start a new job at Sotheby’s auction house and contentedly cohabiting with a hunky professor with “wind-whipped black hair” and family money.

Then, on her last day working at the store, she opens a mysterious package that brings her back to her adolescence. Inside is the manuscript of a children’s novel titled Whisperwood and the River of Stars, which echoes much more closely than coincidence would permit the enchanted land she invented years earlier and the stories she told about it as a 14-year-old to her 5-year-old sister, Flora, when the two of them were evacuated from London during the Blitz.

During the time the two of them were living with motherly Bridie Aberdeen and her artistic son, Harry, outside of Oxford, Flora disappeared one day, leaving her beloved teddy bear by the River Thames and leaving the police to conclude that she had drowned, though her body was never recovered. Hazel, who has always blamed herself for Flora’s disappearance because she was off canoodling with Harry when it happened, and who has never given up hope of finding her again, is inspired to redouble her efforts, which lead her both to the book’s author on Cape Cod and into her past, where she reconnects with Bridie and, more life-changingly, with Harry as well as with a journalist who has been researching the stories of lost evacuees.

Henry, who has a clear affection for almost all of her characters, with the exception of a couple of baddies, sets them in a lush, comforting, and often pagan-influenced world where telling and listening to stories has remarkable transformative effects.

An enchanting tribute to the power of storytelling.

Pub Date: May 2, 2023 ISBN: 9781668011836 Page Count: 368 Publisher: Atria Review Posted Online: yesterday Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

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1 Comment

Unknown member
Apr 18, 2023

Hello! It's quite an interesting book to read. I actually appreciate the quality and informative content. Even in my studies, I turn to it to review and choose the best courses and materials on reviews from . It helps me to study better in the future.

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