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Magic Hour

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Dr. Julia Cates was one of the country's preeminent child psychiatrists until a shocking tragedy ruined her career. Retreating to her small western Washington hometown, Julia meets an extraordinary six-year-old girl who has inexplicably emerged from the deep woods nearby—a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation. To Julia, nothing is more important than Dr. Julia Cates was one of the country's preeminent child psychiatrists until a shocking tragedy ruined her career. Retreating to her small western Washington hometown, Julia meets an extraordinary six-year-old girl who has inexplicably emerged from the deep woods nearby—a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation. To Julia, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. But Julia will need help from others, including the sister she barely knows and a handsome doctor with secrets of his own. What follows will test the limits of Julia's faith and strength, as she struggles to find a home for Alice . . . and for herself.


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Dr. Julia Cates was one of the country's preeminent child psychiatrists until a shocking tragedy ruined her career. Retreating to her small western Washington hometown, Julia meets an extraordinary six-year-old girl who has inexplicably emerged from the deep woods nearby—a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation. To Julia, nothing is more important than Dr. Julia Cates was one of the country's preeminent child psychiatrists until a shocking tragedy ruined her career. Retreating to her small western Washington hometown, Julia meets an extraordinary six-year-old girl who has inexplicably emerged from the deep woods nearby—a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation. To Julia, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. But Julia will need help from others, including the sister she barely knows and a handsome doctor with secrets of his own. What follows will test the limits of Julia's faith and strength, as she struggles to find a home for Alice . . . and for herself.

30 review for Magic Hour

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barb Butler

    Interesting plot. I struggled with the quality of the writing, the easy/awkward introduction of a romantic subplot, and the oversimplification of "small town life". Just to start, in this book "small town life" = the REPEATED mention of who was homecoming queen 20 years ago by almost EVERY adult character in the novel, loads of uninformed gossip, the collective "best friendness" of the entire police department, etc., etc., & ...etc. I also wish the child welfare issues were researched more caref Interesting plot. I struggled with the quality of the writing, the easy/awkward introduction of a romantic subplot, and the oversimplification of "small town life". Just to start, in this book "small town life" = the REPEATED mention of who was homecoming queen 20 years ago by almost EVERY adult character in the novel, loads of uninformed gossip, the collective "best friendness" of the entire police department, etc., etc., & ...etc. I also wish the child welfare issues were researched more carefully and were less sensational - if the voices behind this book want the press to stop seeking a scapegoat whenever something terrible or unpleasant happens - it seems the author would try to do the same and honestly examine every side of this fictional story. I also struggled with the idea that the main "voice" of the book was trying to prove herself as a leader in her field, but she missed OBVIOUS psychological issues with her sister, "boy friend", co-worker, best friend, etc. Anyway, quick/mediocre read.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dem

    Abandoned at 40% and I had to check twice if this was the same Kristin Hannah who wrote The Nightingale and The Great Alone as this was just so mediocre. Bland and predictable, so unlike her other books. I honestly wasn’t WILD about the premise to start with and I should have gone with my hunch and left this one on the shelf as nothing about this book worked for me. The plot and characters were so predictable and the story just dragged. I found myself reluctantly picking up this one when I sat d Abandoned at 40% and I had to check twice if this was the same Kristin Hannah who wrote The Nightingale and The Great Alone as this was just so mediocre. Bland and predictable, so unlike her other books. I honestly wasn’t WILD about the premise to start with and I should have gone with my hunch and left this one on the shelf as nothing about this book worked for me. The plot and characters were so predictable and the story just dragged. I found myself reluctantly picking up this one when I sat down to read and realised by 40% this one was not bringing me joy and we needed to part company. This year I am finding I really need books to be more than just readable, I want compelling, gripping, entertaining or just something to block what’s happening in the world at the moment and I am afraid this one just didn't fit the bill for me

  3. 4 out of 5

    TamElaine

    Going against the grain again (not something I’ve done a lot, thankfully – maybe 3 or 4 times in the last year and a half) This dialogue in this book seemed to have a Lieutenant Horatio Caine (David Caruso in CSI Miami) undertone. This is the third Kristin Hannah book I’ve read....I finished it in order to count the author in a reading group challenge on GoodReads – 3 books by each author to count....while the first two books I read were okay, they were in my opinion young teen novels.... But righ Going against the grain again (not something I’ve done a lot, thankfully – maybe 3 or 4 times in the last year and a half) This dialogue in this book seemed to have a Lieutenant Horatio Caine (David Caruso in CSI Miami) undertone. This is the third Kristin Hannah book I’ve read....I finished it in order to count the author in a reading group challenge on GoodReads – 3 books by each author to count....while the first two books I read were okay, they were in my opinion young teen novels.... But right away, Magic Hour seemed to be much more adultified, yet within the first 3 short chapters, I had a pretty good inclination where the book was going..... so a star is lost for predictability.... Having 3 children with autism, this book left a bad taste in my mouth – the main character initially suspects ‘Girl’ to be ‘an autistic,’ but then gradually deciding against it only when the child makes meaningful eye contact – this annoys me – no, she did not say no child with autism can have meaningful purposeful eye contact, but she rules out autism as a possibility BECAUSE ‘girl’ made eye contact....I acknowledge the author probably hasn’t had her own personal experience with children with autism, and even if she did, I also recognize this is only a character the author has written -- I let this one go, hoping not to see references to this over and over again.... But then later on, I was further upset by this: “You’re not autistic, are you?” Julia said finally. “You’re worried about my feelings.” Yes, Kristin Hannah, you’ve probably heard that people with autism sometimes don’t outwardly recognize or acknowledge or worry about someone else’s feelings – but I have three children with autism who are very in tune with other’s feelings and who worry about them ! And my children are NOT the anomaly. I get that Girl is fictional, and that she was created by the author NOT to have autism – and no I do not think Girl presented as having autism....I’m not arguing these conclusions.... but it’s the insinuation that is coming across in the book that is reinforcing the stigma so many people believe that a child cannot possibly be autistic if they give meaningful eye contact or if they are worried about other people’s feelings....these are the constant battles so many people with autism and their parents face and it’s being validated in your book. How many times have I heard “there’s nothing wrong with that kid...she’s fine...she gives beautiful eye contact and look at how she’s caring for that child that just fell on the ground.” I almost quit reading..... The lack of research into this (and child welfare and other issues) becomes further apparent as the book moves along. In a brief paragraph the character, Julia, a supposedly professional psychiatrist, contemplated “Asperger’s Syndrome, Ratt’s syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, PDD NOS.” Ratt’s Syndrome? I assume you mean Rhett’s Syndrome ??? I do see where I might have enjoyed this book at one time, and where many other people might give it the 4 stars – interesting plot, smooth and easy reading....but having 3 children on the Autism Spectrum, being caught up in a world of therapy and psychiatric assessments, I found the characters misleading and lacking authenticity. Hannah attempted to purport Julia as a highly esteemed psychiatrist, yet was one that if she had spoken to me about my children in the unintelligible ways she did in the book, I’d immediately ask for a different psychiatrist to be assigned to my children....the child welfare portion of this case was also not in the least well researched. I was also quite insulted by the character of the small-town police chief. I don’t think Hannah is a horrible author – I just think she hasn’t found the genre that is most suitable to her writing....I’d like to see her concentrating on teen novels....that’s not an insult...it’s a lateral movement, really...with the 3 books I’ve read of Hannah’s I believe it’s a better fit for her writing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tom Lewis

    Another impossibly beautiful novel by Kristin Hannah. The story follows Julia, a disgraced child psychiatrist living in Malibu, who’s called home to the small forest town of her childhood by her police chief sister, Ellie, to work with a wild feral girl who had been living in the untamed forests of the Pacific Northwest. Everything about this book works perfectly—from the charming warmth of this little town, to the colorful characters and vivid descriptions. Like all of Kristin’s books, you’ll s Another impossibly beautiful novel by Kristin Hannah. The story follows Julia, a disgraced child psychiatrist living in Malibu, who’s called home to the small forest town of her childhood by her police chief sister, Ellie, to work with a wild feral girl who had been living in the untamed forests of the Pacific Northwest. Everything about this book works perfectly—from the charming warmth of this little town, to the colorful characters and vivid descriptions. Like all of Kristin’s books, you’ll still be thinking about it long after you finish.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Harmonybites)

    Given the reviews I seem to be very much in the minority, but I thought this was a wretchedly written book. It had an interesting premise. Two sisters in small-town Washington state, a child psychiatrist and the town's police chief, try to help a six-year-old feral child. My problem is that from the start the book took an overly melodramatic tone as it related Doctor Julia Cates facing a decision in a lawsuit about a tragedy involving a patient of hers. Her sister, Ellie Barton, is an incongruou Given the reviews I seem to be very much in the minority, but I thought this was a wretchedly written book. It had an interesting premise. Two sisters in small-town Washington state, a child psychiatrist and the town's police chief, try to help a six-year-old feral child. My problem is that from the start the book took an overly melodramatic tone as it related Doctor Julia Cates facing a decision in a lawsuit about a tragedy involving a patient of hers. Her sister, Ellie Barton, is an incongruous mix--a chief of police with the mentality of a "small-town beauty queen." But what made this an excruciating read was the cliche-ridden prose. Sentences and phrases such as "listening to the surf, thinking how much it sounded like beat of her heart" "could have heard a pin drop" and "all hell broke loose." Goodness. There's too many good books and too little time to put up with that.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    I would run to the train after work just so I can sit down and read this book, and I was so sad when it ended. A little girl raised by wolves is rescued in a small town, and she changes people's lives as she adapts to her new world. Really, really good story!! I would run to the train after work just so I can sit down and read this book, and I was so sad when it ended. A little girl raised by wolves is rescued in a small town, and she changes people's lives as she adapts to her new world. Really, really good story!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bridgett

    I would have enjoyed this book so much more if Kristin Hannah had taken the time to do suitable research on autism, in all it's various forms. I took real issue with her use of the term, "an autistic." She also made it seem as if autistic children never make eye contact and aren't capable of feeling empathy. This simply isn't true. They're not little robots. Finally, it's RHETT'S SYNDROME, Ms. Hannah, not Ratt's Syndrome. An extra hour of research and your book could have been so much better. I I would have enjoyed this book so much more if Kristin Hannah had taken the time to do suitable research on autism, in all it's various forms. I took real issue with her use of the term, "an autistic." She also made it seem as if autistic children never make eye contact and aren't capable of feeling empathy. This simply isn't true. They're not little robots. Finally, it's RHETT'S SYNDROME, Ms. Hannah, not Ratt's Syndrome. An extra hour of research and your book could have been so much better. I understand the book isn't about autism and that Alice/Brittany didn't actually have an autism diagnosis ...but it was still a main theme in the first 1/3 of the book and it was bording on offensive the way Julia discussed these children.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Gardner

    I’m a huge fan of Kristin Hannah; WINTERS GARDEN and THE NIGHTINGALE are two of my all-time favorite novels. Somehow I missed MAGIC HOUR the first time around, but picked it up last week from my local bookstore. What a beautiful novel! The characters are complex and compelling. From the first page you are captivated by Alice, an obviously abused and feral little girl, venturing out of the deep woods for the first time, her wolf pup clutched close. I read the first half of the novel in a single s I’m a huge fan of Kristin Hannah; WINTERS GARDEN and THE NIGHTINGALE are two of my all-time favorite novels. Somehow I missed MAGIC HOUR the first time around, but picked it up last week from my local bookstore. What a beautiful novel! The characters are complex and compelling. From the first page you are captivated by Alice, an obviously abused and feral little girl, venturing out of the deep woods for the first time, her wolf pup clutched close. I read the first half of the novel in a single sitting, staying up well past my bed time and happy I did so. Couldn’t wait to get back to it the next day. I love novels with characters you genuinely care about and root for. MAGIC HOURS captures an entire small town that feels like home. Thank you, Hannah, for another great read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    ☠Kayla☠

    I read this book about a year ago and didn't realise that I never wrote a review on it. Julia Cates loved her job as a child psychologist, but a horrible tragedy has made her business plummet drastically. When Julia is ready to throw in the towel she gets a strange call from her sister, Ellie, who is a police officer in a small town. Ellie says there's a wild looking child found in a tree and the people in the town can't get her down and they think Julia could really help her. So Julia packs up a I read this book about a year ago and didn't realise that I never wrote a review on it. Julia Cates loved her job as a child psychologist, but a horrible tragedy has made her business plummet drastically. When Julia is ready to throw in the towel she gets a strange call from her sister, Ellie, who is a police officer in a small town. Ellie says there's a wild looking child found in a tree and the people in the town can't get her down and they think Julia could really help her. So Julia packs up and heads to this town for a journey she never would have expected. This book was so beautiful and so touching I instantly fell in love with it. It's a short, fast, and easy read and once I started reading it I didn't want to put it down. This book is one of my favorites, it had me laughing and crying and itching to keep reading more and more. I loved the characters, they were very well written and the story line tugged at my heart strings to the point I just wanted to adopt this child. Kristin Hannah is such an amazing author and did an absolutely amazing job on writing this book. I recommend this book to everyone who's looking for a heart warming and loving contemporary read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Obessed with kristin hannah books😍, this story just pulled all my heartstrings and made me almost cry. 3 ⭐⭐⭐

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Arthur

    ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ Wild is a beautiful and entrancing story with a cast of intriguing characters. It’s fast-paced and heartwarming. A ‘feral’ child walks out of a deep and dark mossy forest that is mostly unexplored. She is unable to speak, is carrying a wolf pup and is alone. It’s evident she’s been surviving in the wild there, but how? Dr. Julia Cates is a disgraced child psychologist who is called back to her hometown Rain Valley by Police Chief Ellie Cates, her sister. Ellie needs a professional to ⭐️4.5 Stars⭐️ Wild is a beautiful and entrancing story with a cast of intriguing characters. It’s fast-paced and heartwarming. A ‘feral’ child walks out of a deep and dark mossy forest that is mostly unexplored. She is unable to speak, is carrying a wolf pup and is alone. It’s evident she’s been surviving in the wild there, but how? Dr. Julia Cates is a disgraced child psychologist who is called back to her hometown Rain Valley by Police Chief Ellie Cates, her sister. Ellie needs a professional to work with the little girl, to help her to speak, calm her fear and discover the truth about her past and who she is. Kristin Hannah is a magical storyteller, and this is an excellent read! This book is also known as Magic Hour in some countries.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Frances Caballo

    Don't Bother Buying this Book I purchased this book because I enjoyed THE GREAT ALONE. Unfortunately the writing of this book was not of the same caliber. In fact, I doubt I will ever buy another book by this author. The idea of discovering a child who has grown up in the woods was interesting but the author could not carry it off. Plus the love story (which wasn't needed) was too unrealistic. Save your money for a better book. Don't Bother Buying this Book I purchased this book because I enjoyed THE GREAT ALONE. Unfortunately the writing of this book was not of the same caliber. In fact, I doubt I will ever buy another book by this author. The idea of discovering a child who has grown up in the woods was interesting but the author could not carry it off. Plus the love story (which wasn't needed) was too unrealistic. Save your money for a better book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    Exactly what I needed after a 970 page read - quick, easy and even a bit predictable, but with likable characters. I even found myself crying at the end. A nice beach read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This was an excellent book. The story was sad, about a young girl who was kidnapped and taken deep into the woods. How she survived, and what happens to her when she re-enters society. Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite Authors....this is one of her best.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    OKay, I cried like a baby - Great characters, loved it!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Eh. The text box that appears when you hover over the second star in the rating bar describes it perfectly: "it was ok." The author has an interesting premise: a disgraced psychiatrist, a little wild girl who mysteriously appears from the woods, and the "who did it?" mystery that ties it together. However, the writing just isn't that good. With some books you get over this and just enjoy the story, but I couldn't do it with this book. I felt like the author was imitating what she imagined was pow Eh. The text box that appears when you hover over the second star in the rating bar describes it perfectly: "it was ok." The author has an interesting premise: a disgraced psychiatrist, a little wild girl who mysteriously appears from the woods, and the "who did it?" mystery that ties it together. However, the writing just isn't that good. With some books you get over this and just enjoy the story, but I couldn't do it with this book. I felt like the author was imitating what she imagined was powerful, emotional writing. I honestly thought this was a debut novel so I was pretty shocked that the author has multiple bestsellers. (Man I sound like a book snob, don't I?) To be fair, I don't think I would have read this if it wasn't our book club pick. I think the fact that the back cover is a giant photo of the author is a clear indication of what kind of book this is and I would have put it right back down. And I finished it, so obviously the plot was compelling enough to make me skim to the end. It's just that with so many books in the world, I wished I spent these few hours on something else.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Stratton

    I am really liking Kirsten Hannah! After reading Firefly Lane, my mom reccomended this book. It was good, the ending was the best part in that it made me cry and cry. I love when a book; someone's written thoughts; makes you so moved, that you laugh, cry, get mad at a character. I do have to say at times, the characters did and said things that didn't feel in sync with the character development. I was very pleased with how Alice's character came out though. I did hope for a little more in that a I am really liking Kirsten Hannah! After reading Firefly Lane, my mom reccomended this book. It was good, the ending was the best part in that it made me cry and cry. I love when a book; someone's written thoughts; makes you so moved, that you laugh, cry, get mad at a character. I do have to say at times, the characters did and said things that didn't feel in sync with the character development. I was very pleased with how Alice's character came out though. I did hope for a little more in that area. Other than that, this book delivers a great story that I read as quickly as I could with two kids! I would reccomend it - definately. Would give 3.5 stars if I could.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Linda (Miss Greedybooks)

    This is my first Kristin Hannah book, a great one! Such well developed characters. Maybe sometimes a little predictable, but a big surprise at the end. Gotta admit to crying here and there, out of the sweet emotions so well presented.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    I’m such a fan of Hannah’s writing and storytelling. She really does have a gift for giving her readers a full view of her characters from start to finish. I went into this book not knowing anything and though I thought this story was compelling in many parts I think her recent works are absolutely remarkable. She has grown as a writer for sure but that doesn’t mean I didn’t really enjoy “Magic Hour”; because I did! I found it too be a great page turner and heartwarming. It felt cinematic in man I’m such a fan of Hannah’s writing and storytelling. She really does have a gift for giving her readers a full view of her characters from start to finish. I went into this book not knowing anything and though I thought this story was compelling in many parts I think her recent works are absolutely remarkable. She has grown as a writer for sure but that doesn’t mean I didn’t really enjoy “Magic Hour”; because I did! I found it too be a great page turner and heartwarming. It felt cinematic in many ways and that just goes to show the talent Hannah possesses!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    After reading my second book by Hannah he is at the top of my must read list. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her books. I can read them in one sitting and love every word she writes. After reading my second book by Hannah he is at the top of my must read list. I can't wait to get my hands on more of her books. I can read them in one sitting and love every word she writes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

    *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com First published in 2006 as The Magic Hour, Wild by Kristin Hannah has seen a recent re-release. My copy is 2020 Macmillan edition. The story of a fragile young girl who mysteriously emerges from the forest with no family, Wild is an intriguing domestic drama. With the help of a disgraced child psychologist, secrets and heartbreaking revelations come to light concerning this little girl’s past. Wild was another highly riveting tale from the New York Times bes *https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com First published in 2006 as The Magic Hour, Wild by Kristin Hannah has seen a recent re-release. My copy is 2020 Macmillan edition. The story of a fragile young girl who mysteriously emerges from the forest with no family, Wild is an intriguing domestic drama. With the help of a disgraced child psychologist, secrets and heartbreaking revelations come to light concerning this little girl’s past. Wild was another highly riveting tale from the New York Times bestselling author. Trekking to the Pacific North West region in the US, Wild unveils the astonishing story of a little girl who emerges unaccompanied from the Olympic National Forest, a place of rugged beauty and depth. This child appears with only a wolf as company and is deemed mute to her lack of interaction with those who come into contact with her. Huge questions surround this girl. As the local townsfolk battle to uncover the girl’s identity and her past, this proves to be a perplexing case. The local law enforcement realise they are in over their heads with this strange situation. One local officer calls on her sister, a renowned child psychologist, to assist with this baffling case. Doctor Julia works tirelessly to try and unlock the secrets of the little girl’s past. Julia nicknames the girl Alice and slowly they begin to take some steps towards uncovering Alice’s true identity, along with her tragic past. As the bond between doctor and patient grows, this proves to be a case that will test all involved in order to attain a just resolution. Since the global success of her novel The Nightingale Kristin Hannah has amassed a legion of fans. It is great to see this author gain such worthy recognition, as I consider Hannah one of my own favorite authors. Thanks to this success, we have seen some of Hannah’s older titles re-released with new covers and fresh titles, as is the case with Wild. Previously released in 2006 as The Magic Hour, Macmillan has rebadged this compelling story for new readers to discover. Wild was a book I couldn’t draw myself away from. It was riveting from start to finish, offering moments of heartbreak, sentiment and mystery. The principal mystery of this tale revolves around the remarkable discovery of a young girl of approximately six years old, who emerges from a dense forest, with only a wolf as company. It seems quite unbelievable, but we learn through the author’s background work on this book that there have been a number of cases of ‘wild’ children, left to fend for themselves in unpopulated areas across the world. I found this quite fascinating. I also thought it was a fantastic opener and overall concept for a novel. The way in which Hannah sets the scene and the early intrigue surrounding this girl’s true identity is what enticed me to turn page after page of Wild at fairly breakneck speed. I found my enjoyment in this tale was sustained throughout, my only criticism of Wild would be the fast resolution and the questions I had concerning the nitty gritty details of how the wild girl came to remain in the forest. There is a side focus on tenuous sisterly relations in Wild. We have Doctor Julia facing a career crisis when she is called in by her law enforcement sister to assist with the wild girl case. I enjoyed the dynamics and issues that arose between the two sisters as the story progressed. We are also given an insight into a number of other supporting characters and their personal impact on the case at hand. I enjoyed these interactions. In addition, we are privy to two separate romances that spark between the two sisters in the novel, which offsets the mystery focus of the tale. The most fascinating aspect of Wild has to be the young wild girl herself – nicknamed Alice by Doctor Julia. I worked alongside Julia with my educational framework, trying to diagnose this young girl. With Julia, I questioned the possibility of Alice being mute, autistic or impacted by trauma. Either way, it is both eye opening and heartbreaking. The development and progression Alice takes towards assimilating into society, along with her slow steps in reaching out for human contact was touching. It was interesting to be able to develop some theories on what happened to Alice. In the end the final turn events did seem plausible, but I did have some lingering thoughts on the scenario presented. Wild is a story of connection, disconnection, hope, bravery, mystery, revelations and belonging. Kristin Hannah has produced another emotional contemporary drama with this release.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    When this book was recommended to me, I was anxious to get it and start reading! I must admit, that for me, this book certainly didn't start out as a 4-star book. The writing was a bit simple and trite. I didn't know much about the plot before I picked this up and hadn't read any of the other reviews--I usually don't, so I am not predisposed prior to reading a book. As I read through it, it built momentum. Initially, I remember wondering how this book could've received 4 stars with this simple a When this book was recommended to me, I was anxious to get it and start reading! I must admit, that for me, this book certainly didn't start out as a 4-star book. The writing was a bit simple and trite. I didn't know much about the plot before I picked this up and hadn't read any of the other reviews--I usually don't, so I am not predisposed prior to reading a book. As I read through it, it built momentum. Initially, I remember wondering how this book could've received 4 stars with this simple and cliched writing style. But by the end, I was hooked and couldn't give it any less than 4 stars. Here is what didn't really work for me: - The adult relationships--particularly the romantic ones, seemed flimsy and underdeveloped. This was especially true with both sisters. The relationships were there, but it was less than believable for me--one example is Ellie and George, that actually irritated me. - The ending was wrapped up at lightning speed and didn't match the pace of the rest of the book. It was also extremely tidy (though I appreciated it). - I'm not sure how accurate this is and I just resigned myself to suspend some reality and just be entertained by the story so I could enjoy it. But I do think the author did a good job. - I could have used some more details regarding the actual crime(s). Here's what made it a 4-star read for me: - I really cared about the characters--especially Julia and the little girl - The last quarter of the book invoked *real* emotion - The voice of the little girl was well done and easily transitioned to and from - The storyline and plot was very intriguing and interesting I was skeptical when I started this book--through the first 1/4 of it. But the momentum built and I am so glad I read this book. Kristin Hannah has my attention now. This was the first of her books that I've read, but it won't be the last.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    This book deals with a lot of interesting or thought provoking topics: responsibility of psychologists, love after divorce, second chances, going home, parenting, "wild child" (as in a child raised outside of society rather than a hippie or something), kidnapping, media, dangers of ignorant judgment, drunk driving, rights of biological parenting, etc. Yes, it covered quite a spectrum. I thought most of the writing was very good. One description kind of threw me—when it said the clouds were the co This book deals with a lot of interesting or thought provoking topics: responsibility of psychologists, love after divorce, second chances, going home, parenting, "wild child" (as in a child raised outside of society rather than a hippie or something), kidnapping, media, dangers of ignorant judgment, drunk driving, rights of biological parenting, etc. Yes, it covered quite a spectrum. I thought most of the writing was very good. One description kind of threw me—when it said the clouds were the color of old fingernails. In a way it was good, because I know what that color is, but in another way it was gross . . . I liked the descriptions of the small town. It takes place in the isolated Pacific Northwest. I cannot imagine living in that much rain. How do they keep their crawlspaces dry and mold free?? (Sorry that was a tangent.) :) There are some language problems, such as swearing, one very bad word, and the Lord's name is misused in many ways. (If you want to borrow my copy, all of the swear words are crossed out!) I also did not like that while strong marriages were shown (for example Peanut and her husband) (her name is really Penelope Nutter), and in general it was shown how important parents are, I did not like that sex outside of marriage was shown as pretty much the norm. The details in that are not really explicit; although one scene had too much information. (Again, if you borrow my copy, it's marked out. So let me know if you'd like to borrow it.) Those worldly misfortunes aside, I thought it to be an interesting read that took me out of my regular sphere of thought. I definitely found myself crying at one point. I liked how she uses quotes from The Velveteen Rabbit in different places in the book, specially about how LOVE makes you REAL.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Denisa Arsene

    I really loved this book. I think the subject is a sensitive, but an original one. A wild little girl who comes into town chassed by hunger. It's something everyone wants to see but, at the same time, they are afraid of. Nobody knows how to really deal with such a think. Julia, a psychiatrist who is in a troubled career, comes to her hometown to take care of the girl. Between them develops a string relation who, despite future events, lasts in time. I have to say that I thought, for a while, that I really loved this book. I think the subject is a sensitive, but an original one. A wild little girl who comes into town chassed by hunger. It's something everyone wants to see but, at the same time, they are afraid of. Nobody knows how to really deal with such a think. Julia, a psychiatrist who is in a troubled career, comes to her hometown to take care of the girl. Between them develops a string relation who, despite future events, lasts in time. I have to say that I thought, for a while, that the father was the one who kidnapped and seized the little one. I felt for him at the end - I only can imagine the hurt of having to voluntarily let your child to another person, even though it's the hardest thing you have do do. It's a good story with a good style and a lot of information.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I hovered between 4 and 5 stars on this one. I do believe it was an amazing story expressed beautifully by the author. Tons of life lessons, mystery, suspense, joy, humor and more. I was so afraid the author would ruin the book for me with a sad ending; but, although it had it's heart-wrenching moments, I was smiling as I read the last page. (after crying for several pages before though lol) Right now I have 4 stars marked...but I'm seriously considering changing that to 5. I think what is holdin I hovered between 4 and 5 stars on this one. I do believe it was an amazing story expressed beautifully by the author. Tons of life lessons, mystery, suspense, joy, humor and more. I was so afraid the author would ruin the book for me with a sad ending; but, although it had it's heart-wrenching moments, I was smiling as I read the last page. (after crying for several pages before though lol) Right now I have 4 stars marked...but I'm seriously considering changing that to 5. I think what is holding me back is the sadness of the story, how difficult it is to read about children being mistreated. However, as I continue to debate this in my mind, I think the author presented such an upsetting subject in a very unique and tolerable way. I think I will change that rating to a 5 star.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    Wonderful! A surprising tale of a little girl found alone, an ostracized child psychologist who comes home to help her, the homecoming-queen-turned-cop sister, the flirtatious and wildly handsome doctor who has lost a lot in his past and a quirky town who stands by them all amidst a nationwide media frenzy. Everyone wants to know more about this little girl and the renowned-turned-shunned (and misunderstood) physchologist who is committed to helping her. This story is filled with heartache, love Wonderful! A surprising tale of a little girl found alone, an ostracized child psychologist who comes home to help her, the homecoming-queen-turned-cop sister, the flirtatious and wildly handsome doctor who has lost a lot in his past and a quirky town who stands by them all amidst a nationwide media frenzy. Everyone wants to know more about this little girl and the renowned-turned-shunned (and misunderstood) physchologist who is committed to helping her. This story is filled with heartache, love lost and found, growing and learning about themselves, and sticking together as a community to protect their own. Lovely, lovely story!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah is a well researched, beautiful read about a "wolf girl". This emotional read has many heart tugging moments. The characters (Julia, Ellie, Max and Cal ) of this book are equally interesting as they each experience self growth, family bonds and love. The reader experiences all of Alice's physical, mental and spiritual growth. This book will keep you engaged until the last page. 4 stars Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah is a well researched, beautiful read about a "wolf girl". This emotional read has many heart tugging moments. The characters (Julia, Ellie, Max and Cal ) of this book are equally interesting as they each experience self growth, family bonds and love. The reader experiences all of Alice's physical, mental and spiritual growth. This book will keep you engaged until the last page. 4 stars

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kris Irvin

    Riveting, as are most of Hannah's books. But I thought the ending was a little rushed and a little fake. It wasn't my favorite Kristin Hannah read but it was still okay. Riveting, as are most of Hannah's books. But I thought the ending was a little rushed and a little fake. It wasn't my favorite Kristin Hannah read but it was still okay.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish)

    You know when something completely coincidental happens but the result is so serendipitous you'd swear it was fate, the universe, or a deity of some kind pulling strings? I think that is what happened with this book. Kristin Hannah has written a lot of books, but this is the only one I've really been drawn to reading (the others seem like they would make me really ragey or really sad). While raiding my sister's bookshelves to trade out another book I found this one, untouched and a little dusty You know when something completely coincidental happens but the result is so serendipitous you'd swear it was fate, the universe, or a deity of some kind pulling strings? I think that is what happened with this book. Kristin Hannah has written a lot of books, but this is the only one I've really been drawn to reading (the others seem like they would make me really ragey or really sad). While raiding my sister's bookshelves to trade out another book I found this one, untouched and a little dusty under a pile of other books. The one book from this author I want to read and my sister just happens to have a brand new copy? Of course I was stealing borrowing it! Praise the Book Gods that orchestrated this meeting of reader and book. I loved, LOVED, this book. It made me ragey. It made me sad. It made me happy. And that roller coaster of emotion is what made this book great. They came from the story and not cheap, emotional manipulation. The characters felt very real. They were flawed but likable. Their motivations were clear and they acted within reason. Dr. Julia Cates's life is in shambles. Her professional career has been destroyed by the unforeseeable actions of one of her patients. She has been hauled into court, and had her name dragged through the mud in the national news. Having lost the man she was in love with awhile ago, and then losing all of her patients she was at rock bottom when her big sister, Ellie, calls her for a favor that requires her to return to the tiny town of Rain Valley where she grew up – a place that doesn't hold many fond memories for her. At the start of the book I thought she was an ass, but then as the story unfolded I could clearly see why. It was a defense mechanism. As her work with the Girl progressed she became the most amazing character to me. I absolutely loved her. Ellie Cates, Rain Valley's sheriff, was an ass, too, but it was obvious her character was meant to be self-absorbed in that way. It's clear she loved her sister and everyone else in her life, but she refused to do so at the expense of herself. The reader can tell she's a good person, but at 39 she still had some growing up to do. The secondary characters, particularly Cal, Peanut, and Max were all well drawn characters that I loved as well. Even if they were behaving in ways I didn't understand. Finding the Girl, and attempting to help her, lead all the characters, but especially Julia and Ellie, through a journey of self-discovery that changed their view of the world and themselves. It was all fantastically done and never did I think it was unrealistic. Except in the case of George. He was another character where you could tell he did love, but he was ultimately very selfish. For some reason it had to be all or nothing with him and it didn't need to be that way. It was for his best interests, not the person he loved. He refused to listen to everything he was being told about the situation and went forward with what he wanted and needed. The abrupt ending with regard to him was the only part of the book I felt was stretching. I could see him doing what he did, just not as quickly. The Girl, later named Alice, absolutely killed me. She appears, dirty, wild, and clutching a wolf pup in a Rain Valley park. She can't communicate, or refuses to, and no one is sure if she can be saved. With Girl we were given some of the cutest moments as well as some of the saddest. The book was told in third person limited and it would periodically shift to Girl's POV and her voice, while incredibly poignant, could be uneven. Sometimes she knew things and sometimes she didn't. For instance, she started off calling "snow" the "the falling white" but then later refers to it by name. However, her view of the world was always clear. Her terror of being in this place that is wholly new to her, her confusion, her sadness, her longing, the depth of the damage that was done to her, and her frustration at not being understood. This was one of those books where you could tell the author did a massive amount or research and really tried to faithfully answer the "what if" of the situation. Girl could have been written in such a way that I couldn't connect with her because nothing about her seems real. Instead, I damn near gave my heart to that little girl. I loved her as the characters came to love her. She didn't feel overdrawn at all and her response to the trauma she suffered and the developmental delays forced on her seemed natural. While reading her scenes I'd vacillate between saying, "Oh, my God, this poor baby." To, "Oh, my God she is just the cutest, sweetest thing ever." My heart broke for her a thousand times but it also swelled with love for her as well. I don't remember the last time I loved a character this much. It's been a couple of weeks since I finished this book and I still have a physical reaction when I think about her. Julia's work with Girl was fully fleshed out as well. The results of her work may have happened quickly but it was at least detailed. I wasn't scratching my head saying, "But, wait, how did she…?" Their interaction reminded me a bit of The Miracle Worker in the way Annie Sullivan got through to Hellen Keller. There was a Q&A with Kristin Hannah in my copy of the book and when asked why Magic Hour is one of her favorite books she's written she says: The answer to that is easy: Alice. I have written a lot of characters over the years but few of them have stayed with me the way that Alice has. I fell in love with everything about her–the way she perceived the world, her remarkable courage and strength, her capacity to love. I did a lot of research on feral and abused children in the creation of Alice, and honestly the stories of these children were absolutely heartbreaking. I felt a real burden to make Alice true to her circumstances (view spoiler)[and yet give her the tools for a normal life (hide spoiler)] . This doesn't surprise me at all because it's exactly the way I feel about her and Hannah feeling that way really came through in her crafting of the character. As did all of her research. There were two possible directions in which Hannah could have taken the story. I'm glad the story unfolded the way it did and not the other route that was, I guess, a red herring. The latter would have been infuriating whereas the former created a truly complex scenario that didn't have an easy answer. Once the direction of the story became apparent the ending was very predictable. The thing is: I really don't care. It would have killed me had it worked out any other way and would have been the greatest disservice to the most important character. As it was, by this point, I was sobbing so hard I had to put the book down. And then I actually couldn't stop crying. I haven't had that sort of reaction to a book since, "Fred's eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face." This book is definitely a tearjerker, but it wasn't cheap to me. Like those certain authors who write endings where they create some contrived plot twist to screw with your emotions. I feel like the flow of the story was natural and it just happened to make me bawl my eyes out. Mostly because of how well written the characters were and my love for them. While I maintain that the resolution felt like it came too quickly, I can at least buy it because of the severity of what was happening. (view spoiler)[Any father who claims to love his daughter would have to do what is best for her seeing her mutilate herself like that. The thing that gets me is why he couldn't allow for a transition. Even if he was going to be selfish and take her away from the woman she had come to love why couldn't he move slowly enough for her to get to know him instead of abruptly taking her away? He didn't listen to a word they said and then was shocked at the results. This isn't the only book like this where, for some reason, there was some excuse for not transitioning the kid from one caregiver to the other. It's not appropriate to make a clean break. Which is why things went so badly so quickly thus prompting George to return Alice almost immediately. (hide spoiler)] It was what had to happen without creating more monsters. The relationships between the main characters and secondary characters evolved throughout the story as well. There was a romance that actually felt fully formed. There are a lot of novels where the romance is the focus of the entire book and they are not as successful. There are plenty of scenes that have nothing to do with the primary storyline but they were handled with such grace that I didn't feel as though we were straying too far from the point. Usually I'd be yelling, "OMG, get back to the freaking story!" but I didn't even think about it reading this book. I was left with some lingering questions, (view spoiler)[What happened with Julia's reputation, or George's? What did the investigators glean from the site where Girl was held in the forest? There is very little Alice tells us and there is no reason to make her remember, so it would have been nice to get some more information from the crime scene itself. (hide spoiler)] , but nothing that pesters me to the point of overshadowing what was so amazing about this story. Yeah . . . my sister definitely isn't getting this book back. And I'll be looking for more Kristin Hannah books to read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennefer

    First of all let me start by saying I am a HUGE fan of Hannah. I am on a mission to read every single book written by this fabulous author!! This was a great read and I highly recommend it. The novel introduces sisters Ellie Barton and Julia Cates who are extremely different individuals. Julia is a brilliant, dedicated, work-obsessed child psychologist in Los Angeles. Ellie is beautiful and confidant plus she was the homecoming queen in her day. Ellie is now the chief of police and still lives i First of all let me start by saying I am a HUGE fan of Hannah. I am on a mission to read every single book written by this fabulous author!! This was a great read and I highly recommend it. The novel introduces sisters Ellie Barton and Julia Cates who are extremely different individuals. Julia is a brilliant, dedicated, work-obsessed child psychologist in Los Angeles. Ellie is beautiful and confidant plus she was the homecoming queen in her day. Ellie is now the chief of police and still lives in the home where the two sisters were raised in the hometown of Rain Valley in the Pacific Northwest, a small town on the edge of the vast north woods. The book begins with a scene involving Dr. Julie Cates. She is dealing with a tragedy of one of her young teenaged patients who cracked and shot and killed several students. Julia is being sued by the victims' families that say she should have been able to prevent it. Ellie meanwhile, in the small town where nothing ever happens, is called to deal with a small child found up in a tree, terrified and growling. Police Chief Ellie and Dr. Max Cerrasin realize fairly quickly that this particular girl, possibly five or six years old, has been restrained, malnourished, possibly abused. The most difficult part is that she can't or won't speak. Ellie quickly calls her sister Julia, who is grateful for a chance to escape her agonizing new life. Ellie explains to Julia what they have found and Julia expects to be face to face with a traumatized lost child, or maybe even an autistic child. Julia quickly realizes this case is anything over than routine and this is something very, very rare. The child, whom they name Alice, has a strong bond with animals namely a wolf pup whom she is found with up in the tree. The taming and teaching of little wild Alice is a task of much patience, caution & care. Julia accepts this task and takes it head on with zealous dedication. While Julia is working with Alice, Ellie is handling the police aspect of this case trying to identify Alice and see if she can identify her past. Working with Alice changes and enriches the whole town especially those closely involved with her teachings and care. All involved learn as much about themselves as little Alice does when she learns to trust, eat, speak, dress herself and do things normal 6 year olds do. They are all transformed by their dedication to this child. This book is full of pain, happiness, and most of all hope. This is a great read! Happy reading my friends!!

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