The Secret Book of Flora Lea The Secret Book of Flora Lea

The Secret Book of Flora Lea

A Novel

    • 4.2 • 270 Ratings
    • $13.99
    • $13.99

Publisher Description

When a woman discovers a rare book with connections to her past, long-held secrets about her missing sister and their childhood in the English countryside during World War II are revealed in this “beguiling blend of hope, mystery, and true familial love” (Sadeqa Johnson, New York Times bestselling author).

In the war-torn London of 1939, fourteen-year-old Hazel and five-year-old Flora are evacuated 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 timeworn 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. Spellbinding and atmospheric, “this heartrending, captivating tale of family, first love, and fate will sweep you away” (Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author).

Fiction & Literature
May 2
Atria Books
Simon & Schuster Digital Sales LLC

Customer Reviews

Loveparislovehorses ,

Fairy tale

Entertaining if you like all women to be beautiful, bookish and spirited in a kind way, and your men to be handsome, passionately understanding with a full head of unruly hair. I like fairy tales though…

and all men to


The Secret Book of Flora Lea

Well written, beautiful descriptions,sweet book. Very interesting time frame during WW11 and the removal of all children from London to safer places . Good read.

KThugs3 ,

2.5 stars rounded up to 3 since my whole family passed it around

“‘I’m not so sure it’s about getting anything back.” He looked to the sky and then back at Hazel. ‘It’s about having what is right here, right now, and not squandering what remains.’

…. And that was my nightly read for a week that I can’t get back! It’s not that the book itself was terrible or anything. In fact, I loved the references to other famous children authors and just authors in general. It was a nod to the dreamers and those with imagination. I felt it even gave a nod to the book behind “Big Magic,” which had helped me during a creative block I had myself a few years ago. My issue comes forth because it seemed as if the author had painted a beautiful picture in the first half, but then had to quickly finish the story to meet a dead line. The ending felt extremely rushed. I had some huge, glaring issues in the plot line.

Usually, I can look past one plot goof, but the were quite a few things that felt rushed and incomplete here. I’m going to list a few of the things I took issue with, so don’t read any further if you don’t want any potential spoilers!!

1.) The long lost sister was THERE/THAT person?!? what?! And she is just going around and searching for the pied piper missing children without putting together that she, herself, was one? And it just so happens that Hazel is dead set on meeting her? I think that this book could have had great potential. Shoot, the author could have even made it known on the journalist end that she thought she MIGHT have been Flora but wasn’t so sure so she sought the family out that way. With meanwhile having the story unfolding as it did.
2.) Peggy, who obeyed her mother to the point of people pleasing that I cringe and grind my teeth (perhaps a trigger for me, not quite sure) was going to jump on a plane to find out the truth behind her story that she & her mother “created”? Doubtful. Her mom just came and found her in London without smart phone GPS technology? And then after abandoning her mother at the hotel to go on a day adventure with Wren, her mother is suddenly full of apologies and is accepting of Wren and allows Peggy to share a hotel room with him? No. You don’t go from being that much of a stick in the mud to suddenly being welcoming to Wren and cool with premarital sex and whatnot. There’s no way the mom would have just sat in the hotel in a daze for 12 hours and then gone off on her way. No, they would have gone back home immediately, I’m sure. All girls of strict parents were grinding their teeth with character arc because we know strict parents don’t just chill out & start apologizing.
3.) Edwin would have really taken a Hazel back, after she stole such grand and rare items? I highly doubt it, even if they were like family. Though, I forget often; that this is the 1960’s and so times were slightly different
4.) Of course Hazel & the childhood crush end up together. We all saw that coming. (Though, I was thrilled by it.)

after the big reveal, and all the smaller ones after that, it was just steadily declining at a rapid pace. And for that, I’m giving it 2.5 stars. I think this book would be great if you have a short flight and need a quick read, or something to take along on the beach.

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