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Summary

Shaking, Sophie clutches her delicate leaf-shaped pendant. It belonged to her mother – who disappeared at Ayredale Library years ago. Now, she’s invited to join Ayredale herself. Is this her chance to finally learn the truth? 

Sophie has always believed her mother abandoned her, and tries not to dwell on memories of laughter and bedtime stories. Arriving at the renowned Ayredale Library deep in the English countryside, Sophie feels strangely at home among her fellow bookbinders and the endless shelves of antique books.   

But everything changes when a beautiful door – engraved with a leaf matching her mother’s old necklace – swings open at her touch. Sophie gasps at the impossible sight inside: a silver tree growing higher than the library itself. Amidst the gentle rustling leaves, Sophie hears a familiar whisper, although there’s no one to be seen:    

"There you are, my Sophie. I knew you’d come back for me." 

Reeling, Sophie can’t believe she is hearing her mother’s voice. Could the magical library itself have stolen her mother away? Could the necklace unlock the secrets of the tree?    

Asking the enigmatic Keeper of the Library for answers gets her nothing but dire warnings – and when another face from her past appears at the grand doors of Ayredale, Sophie’s blood runs cold at his sinister smile. Will she ever find the truth about her mother – or will Sophie be the next to disappear? 

An absolutely gripping listen about long-hidden family secrets and the magic that lurks between the pages of every book. Perfect for fans of The Ten Thousand Doors of January, The Night Circus, and The Binding. 

Critics Reviews  

“Phenomenal… magical… the perfect winter read!” (@houseofbonesandsorrow) 

“Hauntingly beautiful!... will capture any fantasy lover’s heart.” (Fromthebookshelfofdreams)

©2021 Jessica Thorne (P)2021 Bookouture, an imprint of Storyfire Ltd.

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Completely addictive

A wonderful read steeped in mystery and magic.
This fantasy adventure involving a secret and magical library had me completely glued to the audiobook. The narration is excellent. The characters all have secrecy and mystery surrounding them and it's only as the story unfolds that we learn of the significance of those characters who belong to the library.
Sophie was interesting. A sad and tragic character, she just needed something to pull her out of her shell and let her inner strength show. Will, her childhood love, is dark, mysterious and protective.
I liked that magic is alluded to rather than in your face. People aren't casting spells like they belong in Hogwarts. The magic is more whimsical and subtle. Nothing really magical occurs in the first 30% of the book but we know that something happened to her mother and it wasn't something ordinary. I liked discovering the secrets of the library along with Sophie as she slowly pieced together her past, her abilities and her future.

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  • Wiltedrose23
  • 20-09-21

LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!

Thank you NetGalley, Bookouture, and Bookouture Audio! This book was perfection in every way.

I was approved for the electronic and audio versions of this book and will review them both separately below. However, spoiler alert, THEY ARE BOTH FIVE STARS allllll the way!

The Book—excuse me while I swoon over the absolutely brilliant writing of this story. The imagery was spot on and the characters were so dynamic I even loved the ones I hated! I could visualize the Ayredale Library so vividly that I thought I was standing among the books myself; able to smell the old leather covers and ancient papers bound between them.

Their was just enough of a “love” story to keep me interested, as I am an unapologetically hopeless romantic. Yet, there was so much more to this fantasy. I think this book would be perfect for those who love fanciful book that keep you on your toes and for those who like something a bit more general fiction. It totes the line but is not overly supernatural as to turn anyone off. (But I am a fantasy reader, so what do I know?)

The Audiobook—keep everything you read above then add the most fantastic narrator I have heard since Jim Dale into the mix. Mind blowing is what you get.

I have a long drive to and from work every day and love having audio books to whisk my mind away from the mundane drive. However, I am soooooo picky when it comes to audiobooks. I almost always hate them. Books I would have normally liked get ruined and characters become grating. But, not this time. I loved Charlie Norfolk’s reading so much I am going back just to listen to other books she has read.

Overall, there is so much to love. Read it, listen to it, or both. But make sure you get it! I can’t wait to order my physical copy just to have it on my bookshelf. I loved it that much!!!

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  • JKD
  • 07-04-22

Don’t waste your credit

This book could have been cut in half. Things didn’t really start happening until 2/3’s into the story. The story was lacking. The female lead was so timid and such a door mat that I found myself disgusted at times. I finally fast forwarded to the last chapter in the hopes that it got better. The end was predictable. After reading well over 200 Audible books, this story
was one of the worst.