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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

May: The Best New Books

Updated: May 11, 2023


The Best New May Books


by: Peoples Magazine and Woman's World Magazine

Check out the May editions to read all about it!

"Well hello People Magazine. @people Delighted to be part of your book choices for May!!! (These words cannot convey the glee I had when I saw this in real life). Jane Fonda has it right on the cover. Things do get better with age! This is a great honor and my little circle face cracks me up. My favorite part? 'Crackling with suspense!'”

And Woman’s World Magazine @womansworldmag - I am so honored to be part of your best books of May!!!

Woman's World Book Club: This Week's Best New Books

“This lush, enthralling novel transports readers back to 1939 London... A beautiful tale of healing past hurts.” Woman’s World

Woman's World - Flora Lea
Download PDF • 241KB

People's Picks The Best New Books

"Crackling with suspense." —People Magazine

About the Book

After two young sisters evacuate London to live with strangers in the English countryside as part of Operation Pied Piper during World War II, the younger goes missing and is presumed drowned until 20 years later when the older sister, who works in a London rare book shop, receives a children’s book based on the secret fairy tale only the sisters shared.

"Not very long ago and not very far away, there once was and still is an invisible place right here with us. And if you are born knowing, you will find your way through the woodlands to the shimmering doors that lead to the land made just and exactly for you." —HAZEL MERSEY LINDEN, 1939.

A missing sister, a mysterious fairy tale, The River Thames, and a lost love.

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated from their London home 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 dilapidated 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.




"May 2023 National Book Club Pick" —Barnes & Noble

"May 2023 Indie Next Book Pick" —IndieNext

"May 2023 Library Reads Top 10 Pick" ALA

"May Read This Next Pick" —SIBA

"Most Anticipated Books of May 2023" —Barnes & Noble

"A Summer Says May Book" —BAM: Books a Million

"May Pick for Book Clubs & Beyond" —Real Simple Magazine

"2023's Best New Historical Fiction Books" —PopSugar

"May Best New Books"

—People Magazine

"May Best New Books"

—Woman's World Magazine

"May Most Anticipated Reads " We are Bookish | NetGalley

" June 2023 Book Club Pick" —Modern Mrs. Darcy

"Four Firey Southern Books for Spring" —Greenville Journal

"May Book of the Month | Historical Fiction" —Book of the Month Club

"Editor Pick for Literary Fiction" —Amazon

"May Best New Books" —Woman's World

"May 2023 Book Club Pick" —Simon & Schuster

"Hottest New Historical Fiction" —Buzz Magazines

"Mom-Approved Fiction for Mothers Day" —Simon & Schuster

"Most Anticipated Historical Fiction of 2023"

—Apple Books —SheReads —Thoughts From a Page Podcast —Tim Talks Books —Off the Shelf

"Spring 2023 Most Anticipated Books" —Apple Books

"The Last Book I Read in One Sitting" —Book Bub

"Most Anticipated Spring & Summer Books" Zibby's Magazine

"Best Historical Fiction of Spring" BookBub

"10 Wistful Books to Fit Your Coastal Aesthetic This Summer" —Simon & Schuster

"Our Most Anticipated New Books of 2023" —Off the Shelf

"10 Books Mom Will Love This Mother's Day"

—Simon & Schuster

"8 Genuinely Moving Novels" Off the Shelf, Recs by Kristin Harmel

"Award-winning Cynthia Erivo to narrate The Secret Book of Flora Lea audiobook" —Simon & Schuster


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