The Secret Book of Flora Lea


The Secret Book of Flora Lea

I stood up late last night finishing Patti Callahan Henry’s latest novel The Secret Book of Flora Lea. In 1939 the war begins, English children are sent away to the countryside to be kept safe from the bombings from the Germans as part of Operation Pied Piper. Hazel and Flora are among the children sent to the English country side and live with a kind boy and his mother. To escape the real world, Hazel makes up a magical place for her and Flora to escape to called Whisperwood. One day Flora goes missing everyone suspects Flora drowned. Fast forward to the year 1960 Flora is an adult woman working in a bookstore. One day she sees an American author wrote the story of Whisperwood. Hazel knows this isn’t a coincidence. Could the American author writing the story mean Flora’s survival?



The story is part historical fiction, part childrens story and part mystery which is what I like. I also like the fact that the sex scenes between Hazel and her boyfriend weren’t so descriptive. People complained about too many bedroom scenes but at least it was more implied rather than over the top descriptive. I like that this topic touched on a lesser known part of World War II with children being sent to the English countryside for their protection.



While this book wasn’t so awful that I couldn’t finish it, it wasn’t the best which shocked me after enjoying Once Upon a Wardrobe so much. The book could have benefitted if it were shorter as the story meandered on and on. While the twist was definitely not predictable, it seemed random at the same time. It seemed as though at the last minute Patti realized, I need to write this twist in quick! I also didn’t connect with most of the characters. Harry is one that I liked but that’s all.




Overall I think if the book was shorter and there was more buildup this could have been a great book. If you are expecting a spectacular book just as good or maybe even better than Once Upon a Wardrobe, don’t. You will be disappointed. If you know what you’re getting into, then by all means read it.