Under the Whispering Door

By TJ Klune,

Book cover of Under the Whispering Door

Book description

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…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

5 authors picked Under the Whispering Door as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

If you follow me, you know I’ve written a novel about a girl who has died for the third time and is stuck in the afterlife. The afterlife in my novel is modeled after Mohonk Mountain House.

TJ Klune’s afterlife is a completely different world than mine and it fascinates me. I know the complexity of imagination and emotion that went into my story, so it’s always intriguing to be inside someone else’s head the same way.

Hugo’s tea shop and the cast of characters that cross its threshold are interesting, complex, relatable, and they will touch your heart. Klune…

I am always on the lookout for books that combine fantasy, humor, and pathos, and TJ Klune is a master at all three.

Wallace is a contemporary Scrooge: mean, hard-hearted, and self-centered. So he can’t believe he’s dead and stuck in a strange coffee shop in the woods that appears to be a halfway house for spirits not quite ready to go through the whispering door at the top of the stairs. 

Not only that, Wallace feels a strange attraction to Hugo, the owner of the shop. With only seven days before he has to cross over, Wallace has difficult…

Having recently undergone open heart surgery, my mortality was front and center when I read this book about life after death. I was almost afraid to read it, but I am so glad I did. 

The main character Wallace dies and ends up in a charmingly peculiar tea house with another ghost, his human reaper, and another human Hugo who is there to help Wallace cross over to the other side. Wallace behaves as I expect many of us would. He’s shocked. Then he’s afraid. Then he’s angry. Then he regrets his life, the way he lived it, how he…

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

Book cover of Ballad for Jasmine Town

Molly Ringle Author Of Sage and King

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Novelist Editor Sociolinguist HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) Good witch

Molly's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

A human child raised by the fae is an uncommon thing. But Rafi was such a child.

Now grown, half-fae but mortal, he lingers on the edge of human society in Miryoku, a nearby town sharing a border with fae territory. He doesn’t want to join the human world properly; he just wants to play music with a local cover band and avoid the cruelest members of his fae family.

Then, he meets Roxana, and his world shifts. She’s a human metalworking witch, up for a friendly fling with Rafi before she and her twelve-year-old daughter move away from Miryoku…

Ballad for Jasmine Town

By Molly Ringle,

What is this book about?

A law-abiding metalworking witch and a form-shifting half-fae musician embark on a secret romance, but soon become caught in escalating tensions between fae and humans that threaten their hometown. The second story after the popular Lava Red Feather Blue comes alive in Ballad for Jasmine Town.

The town of Miryoku has ocean views, fragrant jasmine vines, and a thriving arts scene, including a popular nineties cover band. It also sits on the verge, sharing a border with fae territory, a realm of both enchantments and dangers.

Rafi has been unusual all his life: a human born to a fae mother,…

What’s unique about Klune’s psychopomp, is that he is human.

Hugo Freeman is able to interact with the dead but unlike the usual eternal beings, he is alive, has a backstory, and the ability to empathize with the fears and regrets of his reluctant clients, most recently, the jerk-lawyer, Wallace Price.

The action is circumscribed, taking place entirely within Charon’s Crossing, which serves as a teahouse for the living and a waystation for the dead. And as any fan of Klune’s work will anticipate, the hearth that gathers a found family. 

From Maria's list on stories of death personified.

What’s not to love about a ghost who evolves into a more humane, functional version of the person he always believed himself to be, but could never figure out how to be—not until someone cared about him? It’s the perfect vehicle for the theme that change can be frightening—especially when it’s forced upon you, unasked—but what awaits you on the other side may be even better than the familiar reality you stubbornly clung to. If you prefer serious topics to be served with a side of joyful ridiculousness, this book is for you.

Want books like Under the Whispering Door?

Our community of 11,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like Under the Whispering Door.

Browse books like Under the Whispering Door

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in gay men, death, and gay topics and characters?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about gay men, death, and gay topics and characters.

Gay Men 126 books
Death 361 books