There’s no way that I would pass up an opportunity to read this book a bit early, given how much I absolutely adored Cerulean Sea, so when I saw it on NetGalley I excitedly slammed that request button and made a squee noise when I was approved.
So thanks to the author, as well as Tor via NetGalley for the review copy!
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.
By turns heartwarming and heartbreaking, this absorbing tale of grief and hope is told with TJ Klune’s signature warmth, humor, and extraordinary empathy.
This is the story of Wallace Price, who is a lawyer at a top firm in his state. Nobody likes him, he has no friends, and all he does is work. He’s somewhat like a more modern version of Ebenezer Scrooge at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. When suddenly he’s at his own funeral, and a Reaper named Mei says she’s to deliver him to the ferryman, he ends up at a tea shop run by a man named Hugo. The tea shop is a waystation where Wallace is to try and figure himself out before he goes to what is next, and Hugo is the ferryman who helps him along the way.
This was a lovely book, much like I was hoping, given my feelings about Cerulean Sea. It has that same vibe, and although there aren’t any children in this one to instantly latch onto, I still found myself cheering for Wallace although he doesn’t start out as a very good person. I loved Hugo and Mei almost immediately, and so this one was so easy to just get settled down with for hours. The last quarter or so kept me up into the wee hours as I had to find out what happened.
My feels were jostled several times, as this one deals with some tough topics at times, as a book whose theme centers around death would. I thought that these things were presented with care, though others who have a difficult time with themes like suicide or the death of a child may have more trouble than I did. Some of the characters here have traumatic backstories.
This is a great example of the found family trope yet again from TJ Klune, and I absolutely loved it. I would definitely recommend that anyone who enjoyed Cerulean Sea read this one. It’s another great example of a book that leaves me feeling happy and hopeful for the future. 5/5 stars!~