Thursday, June 27, 2024

Reviewing The Secret Book of Flora Lea

Ai creation of girl on river bank

Just when I think I've read my fill of World War II historical fiction, 
our book club picks another one for our May meeting.   After reading just a few pages I was totally engrossed in the story and happy to read another WWII historical fiction.

The Secret Book of Flora Lea is based on Operation Pied Piper, a true event during WWII.  In this plan the British Government is looking for a way to keep the children of London safe during the bombing.  They find people willing to take care of the children until the war is over, these people are located in far off lands like Australia and America and many of them are sent to the English countryside.

Brief Summary of the Book

In this book the author, Patti Callahan Henry, tells the story of two young girls, Hazel age 14 and Flora age 5 who are sent to the English countryside.  The story begins with the girls boarding a train that takes them to towns in the countryside where people choose from the children to see who they want to stay in their home.

The girls are fortunate to be placed in a lovely cottage near a small English town and the river Thames.  Here they live with Bridie and her son Henry.  They are very kind and good to the girls.

The girls spend their times going on walks and playing games, which include a wonderful fairy tale that Hazel makes up to entertain Flora and distract her from missing her mother.  In this story the girls escape to a magical land with a cast of delightful characters.  The secret place they escape to is called Whisper Woods.  All is going well until one day Flora goes missing and everyone searches for her but are unable to find her.  The police believe she fell into the river and drowned.

We next meet Hazel 20 years later when she is working in a rare book store.  She is doing well but still misses her sister and feels guilty that she took her eyes off her a few minutes and Flora went missing.  While sorting through a batch of new books that came to the book store, Hazel finds one with the title Whisper Woods.  When she looks through the book she finds many similarities to the story she made up for Flora.  The story that they hadn't told to anyone.

After this, Hazel is on a quest to find her lost sister.  Along the way she meets some Americans who have had the book published and also an English journalist who writes articles about the lost children.  

I will leave the rest of the story for you to discover as you read the book. I highly recommend this book.  

Purchase the Book on Amazon

You can find the book at your local library, or you may purchase it both in paperback, hardback or electronic formats on Amazon.  Here is a link to the book on Amazon. The Secret Life of Flora Lea

 




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


6 comments:

  1. Oh, wow! This sounds like a wonderful book. I definitely want to know what happened to Flora. I didn't know the history of having an official action to move the children in London out of harms way during WWII. On the face, that seems like a wise move, but this day and age I would worry who or what they would be sent to. Of course, evil has always existed. I'm just not sure I would have been as aware of it during that time in the world as we are now.

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  2. I definitely need to know what happened to Flora. I did know that many children were sent to the English countryside to be safe during the Battle of Britain (the bombings in London). I remember reading one such book about it many years ago and was really fascinated with the story. So I know I will like this one.

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    1. Just finished reading 'The Secret Book of Flora Lea' on your recommendation, Mary Beth, and absolutely loved it. So much so, that I now want to read other books by author Patti Callahan Henry. This story was wonderfully written and extremely engrossing. Thank you for recommending it. (Not very long ago and not very far away......) Wonderful!

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  3. This sounds like a wonderful historical novel. I, too, am anxious to know what happened to Flora, whether she survived and whether she and Hazel were ever reunited.

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  4. Oh my, this sounds like a fabulous read. I could get into this story for absolute sure - I'm so intrigued as to what happened.

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  5. Like you, I have a love of books about the WWII era and always find one more that tells another aspect of the horrors and many heart aches that took place during that time. This sounds like another book that I really need to read. Mary Beth you have my curiousity piqued! Thanks for this review.

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