by PhyllisE (Mill Valley): Thanks to Atria Books & NetGalley for a digital advance reader’s copy. All comments and opinions are my own.

This book was everything I expected from Patti Callahan Henry. It’s a beautifully written, engrossing and unique story, with likeable characters, and even a bit of a mystery. This was a dual timeline between the 1940s and 1960s, centering on two sisters who are sent to the countryside through an evacuee program to avoid the bombing in London during World War II.

Fourteen-year-old Hazel tells her five-year-old sister Flora Lea a special story all their own. “The name of their new land came to Hazel right as prayer, a name that already existed, that had waited for them, a name of secrets, of the earth and its rivers, just like the two sisters: It’s called Whisperwood and the River of Stars.”

The stories always began in the same way: “Not that long ago and not so far away, in a land that is right here,” Hazel whispered into the dark, “there was a land where anything could happen, where we might become anything we wish, where a river of stars runs through its woodlands. Keep your eyes open for hidden doorways! They’re everywhere, but visible only to those who are worthy. And we are worthy.”

Trish Todd, VP & Executive Editor of Atria Books, says that author Callahan “has poured all the love of books into this novel, illuminating how we tell ourselves stories to protect the ones we love, to keep our memories of them alive, and to seize onto the hope that imagination and storytelling can offer.”

This is an unforgettable novel that I highly recommend.