Title: Under the Whispering Door
Author: T.J. Klune
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Narrator: Kirt Graves
Length: 15 hours (373 pages)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Tor Books
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Content Warnings: death, grief, suicide
When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.
Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.
But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.
When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.
Under the Whispering Door is a contemporary fantasy about a ghost who refuses to cross over and the ferryman he falls in love with.
T.J. Klune has solidified his place as a new favorite author for me with Under the Whispering Door. Character-driven fantasy is rare, but I can’t get enough of the way he writes complex characters who feel absolutely real and human despite fantastical settings, which function as a backdrop for soul searching and character development. I absolutely loved the found family trope in this book.
Under the Whispering Door is a book about death and life and finding where you belong amidst the chaos. This story explores heavy topics like death, grief, and suicide with depth and nuance. There are some very humorous moments in the story, but it never loses the sense of seriousness and reverence when discussing difficult topics.
The audiobook narrator did a fantastic job conveying appropriate tone and emotions for this story and its characters. This book was absolutely beautiful and gave me all the feels. I laughed, I cried, and I felt like I was part of the main characters’ found family, too.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ALC.