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  • Writer's picturePatti Callahan Henry

Nantucket Magazine: Need to Read August 2023

Tim Ehrenberg from “Tim Talks Books” dishes on the hottest reads for summer.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT written by Tim Ehrenberg portrait by Kit Noble

by Patti Callahan Henry

This historical novel is an ode to the origin of stories and their power.

Remember that first book that made you fall in love with the power of storytelling? The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was mine, or maybe it was The Chronicles of Narnia or maybe Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Don’t make me choose!

The Secret Book of Flora Lea has a similar magic to those favorite books from my childhood. Hazel and Flora are evacuated from their home in London to the English countryside during World War II. To cope, Hazel conjures up a magical land called Whisperwood, a place of imaginative wonder they can both escape to, but then Flora goes missing and is presumed drowned. Fast forward to the 1960s and Hazel stumbles upon a children’s book all about Whisperwood, her fictional haven from long ago. Does this book hold the answers to finding her long-lost sister?

Find out by joining Patti Callahan Henry and me on Tuesday, August 22, at 6 p.m. in the Nantucket Atheneum’s Great Hall for a conversation all about The Secret Book of Flora Lea. This event is free, and seating is first come, first served, with a book signing to follow.

All books can be purchased at your two island independent bookstores, Mitchell’s Book Corner and Nantucket Bookworks, or online at

For more book recommendations, follow @timtalksbooks on Instagram or visit


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