Under the Whispering Door – TJ Klune

It took me a long while to finish Under the Whispering Door, TJ Klune’s new novel – and I even made a mistake on GoodReads, marking it as ‘read’ back in August. Ops.

Why? Because Under the Whispering Door is one of the most intense books I ever read. Intense, but also hilarious. Sad. Uplifting. Thought-provoking. Riveting. Charming.

—I mean, I could go on listing words here, but my point is, Under the Whispering Door is all I hoped to find when I requested it on NetGalley and then some.

Thank you, TJ Klune. This is a masterpiece.


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.

373 pages
Paranormal, LGBTQ, romance


Cover: Beautiful! It’s whimsical yet evocative, I love it. 


  • Under the Whispering Door is the story of Wallace Price, a freshly departed lawyer who’s meant to transition from life to death to The Big After. Ignoring my inherent fondness for books set in the afterlife, that’s a great hook. The plot is engaging and told in an upbeat style, with no mistakes or logical flaws. I’m mentioning all this because it’s not something to take for granted – believe me, it’s not.
  • The characters! They’re so well-crafted I could spend hours waxing poetic about them. Wallace starts his journey as a grade-A asshole, then he grows along the way until you can no longer recognize him. Hugo and Mei read as actual persons—they do—but my favorite is Nelson. He shines through the pages. I don’t like the Manager, but that’s to be expected.
  • Desdemona Tripplethorn. The tongue-in-cheek here is delightful. How many times have I encountered characters with improbable names? Too many to keep track of, and I guess Klune is as fed up with them as I am: that name is a mouthful, and it’s spelled out in clear letters. I’m glad she gets to redeem herself, in a way; I’m also glad she reminds everyone that we don’t need any more Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Ways 😛
  • The love story is so delicate I wish I could frame it and put it on my walls.
  • I cried. Nancy and Lea, they got to my emotional side, which is a feat in itself. It takes huge writing skills to get me to care that much about fictional characters, on account of them being fictional.


  • Under the Whispering Door is a flawless book. Nothing to see here.


5 stars on GR.

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