Under The Whispering Door Review

Under The Whispering Door Review | TJ Klune

I’d seen a lot of glowing reviews for this author and couldn’t wait to start reading this one. Hands down, one of my favourite books of the year. It made me laugh; it made me cry (in a heartfelt good way). Check out my review on Under the Whispering Door.

Publisher: Pan MacMillan / Tor | Date: 2021 | Genre: General Fiction/Fantasy

Plot: 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.

I received Under The Whispering Door from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Under the Whispering Door Review

Under The Whispering Door Review

It has been a long time since I had to put a book down because I was laughing too hard, but this one did it. Klune gives us the most precious characters, a heartfelt yet hilarious story and explores some of the hardest topics in a sensitive yet entertaining way.

I’m honestly not sure how to write this review without gushing. I’ll try and get it out the way: everyone should read this book. Yes, it’s about death, and the pain of it. But it’s about family, love, how joy and redemption can come at the most unexpected of times.


Wallace was a delight to grow with. He’s such an ass and a jerk at the beginning in the most hilarious way you can’t help but love him. I love character growth when there is never any introspection where the character needs to comment on said growth, and that’s what happens here. He turns into such a delight and there’s no defining moment, it just happens.

Hugo is a precious cinnamon roll that needs to be protected at all costs. Which is a sentence I never thought I’d write, but there’s no other way I can articulate my thoughts. The depth to him – being an empathetic to a fault given the job that he does – yet he’s got the purest heart just makes him wonderful.

Nelson and Mei added the balance of emotions needed to stop this story going too much in one direction or another, but they were fantastic characters in their own right as well.

Tea is serious business, Wallace. You don’t heat water for tea in the freaking microwave. Have a little class, man.

Under The Whispering Door by TJ Klune


Everything about the writing worked for me. It’s touching and emotional, then perfectly balanced by something unexpected (word choice deliberate – those who’ve read it know what I mean) that you can’t help but cry with laughter. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a book make me laugh in that way.

But it’s not all light and humorous. The story covers some important themes, especially surrounding grief and how it affects people differently. This could be a trigger warning, as there were some deep moments (although never handled in a heavy manner).

It’s also been a while since a book has left me with tears in my eyes over the ending. I was terrified it was going to be sad, and it was in a beautiful bittersweet way that matched perfectly with the tone of the book. It was a satisfying ending.

Final Thoughts

Read this book. That’s my grand finish. If you’re looking for something you can’t put down; a book to make you laugh; a book to make you cry… Under the Whispering Door is the one. I’m not sure this review needs anything more: 5*s and a solid recommendation from me.

Have you read anything by this author? Would you want to read this one?

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11 thoughts on “Under The Whispering Door Review | TJ Klune

  1. Lovely review! I liked this book a lot, but my heart belongs to The House in the Cerulean Sea!! If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it! He’s such a talented author, and he writes such amazing and unforgettable characters.


  2. “Hugo is a precious cinnamon roll” – that alone has convinced me this book is one for my TBR pile – fab review, Lindsey! Also, I work with someone called Hugo and now I will always see him as a cinnamon roll, haha 🙂 x


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