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Magic Hour [Mass Market Paperback]

Kristin Hannah
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Nov. 27 2007
Deep in the Pacific Northwest lies the Olympic National Forest– nearly one million acres of impenetrable darkness and impossible beauty. Even in this modern age, much of it remains undiscovered and uncharted. From the heart of this old forest, a six-year-old girl appears. Speechless and alone, she can give no clue as to her identity, no hint of her past. . . .

Until recently, Dr. Julia Cates was one of the preeminent child psychiatrists in the country, but a scandal shattered her confidence, ruined her career, and made her a media target. When she gets a desperate call from her estranged sister, Ellie, a police chief in their small western Washington hometown, she jumps at the chance to escape.

In Rain Valley, nothing much ever happens–until a girl emerges from the deep woods and walks into town. She is a victim unlike any Julia has ever seen: a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation.

When word spreads of the “wild child” and the infamous doctor who is treating her, the media descend on Julia and once again her competence is challenged. State and federal authorities want to lock the girl away in an institution until an identification can be made.

But to Julia, who has come to doubt her own ability, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. To heal this child, Julia will have to understand that she cannot work alone and must look to others–the people in the town she left long ago, the sister she barely knows, and Dr. Max Cerrasin, a handsome, private man with secrets of his own.
Then a shocking revelation forces Julia to risk everything to discover the truth about Alice. The ordeal that follows will test the limits of Julia’s faith, forgiveness, and love, as she struggles to ascertain where Alice ultimately belongs.

In her most ambitious novel to date, Kristin Hannah delivers an incandescent story about the resilience of the human spirit, the triumph of hope, and the mysterious places in the heart where love lies waiting.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Magic Hour + Waiting for the Moon + Comfort & Joy: A Novel
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Hannah's melodramatic 15th novel (after The Things We Do for Love) tells the addictive soap opera story of a feral child and the adults who rally to help her. The cast of stock characters is led by child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates, whose reputation was ruined when she failed to prevent a teen patient from staging a Columbine-style massacre. Her sister, Ellie Barton, a smalltown former homecoming queen–turned–chief of police, summons Julia from Los Angeles to their Pacific Northwest hometown of Rain Valley to take on the case of a mysterious lost child, who appeared one day on the edge of town, presumably raised by wolves. With the dashing doctor Dr. Max Cerrasin at her side, Julia works diligently to tame the mute girl, whom she names Alice. Max, like Julia, is running from demons of his own. Though she initially rebuffs his overtures ("When I love, I risk my heart. All or nothing," Julia declares), their romance inevitably blossoms while they work to solve the mystery of Alice's parentage. The novel's real love story, though, is the passion between Alice and Julia, and it's hard not to root for the vulnerable little Wolf Girl. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Although a judge rules in her favor, child psychiatrist Dr. Julia Cates is found guilty of incompetence in the press. Her entire life has centered on her exclusive practice, and now all her patients have abandoned her. Salvation comes unexpectedly at the behest of her estranged sister, Ellie, the chief of police in their hometown of Rain Valley, Washington. Julia never wanted to go back to their small logging town, where she was the scrawny bookworm and Ellie was the homecoming queen, but now, even though they refuse to admit it, the sisters need each other as they try to save a young girl found in a forest in the company of a wolf. She behaves like an animal and doesn't speak. Julia works hard to break the mute silence of the mysterious little girl; Ellie tries to find out where she belongs; and both of them defend the girl they decide to call Alice against those who would exploit her. Through helping this young lost soul, Julia and Ellie learn a lot about themselves and about their relationships in one of this perennially best-selling writer's most compelling and riveting novels to date. Magic Hour will enhance Hannah's popularity and affirm her dominance in women's fiction. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Karen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is another one of Kristen Hannahs wonderful books. I think I have read just about all her books now, she needs to write some more. Her books are so compelling, that I find it so hard to put them down, and find myself thinking about the characters and the storyline.
They should make a movie out of this one though..its frightening though, thinking about the reality of the story.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Kristen Hannah, or just enjoys a hard to put down novel.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  363 reviews
80 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Read ... Kristin Hannah's best yet! March 20 2006
By a reviewer in Seattle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio Cassette|Verified Purchase
So many people have already reviewed this book and told you what this story is about, so I don't think I need to give you the same details again. Let me tell you how this story made me feel. I was moved to tears and I was warmed inside by the depth of this gentle story. I didn't want this book to end.
I quickly fell in love with the child Alice who had been silenced by so many horrors and the town people who came to her aide. The way Ms Hannah lets us see what Alice is thinking since she is unable to speak the words to express herself made the book all the more interesting. All of the relationships in this book are so heart warming.
I have read most of Kristin Hannah's books and I think this just might be my favorite. She has become one of my very favorite authors. I can only give this book the highest marks!
JMHO //(*_*)\\
33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what the title says--MAGIC!!!! Feb. 21 2006
By A reader from the Pacific Northwest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am a long time fan of Kristin Hannah's. I've read everything she's written and unlike some multi-published authors, Hannah just gets better and better with each book she writes. And MAGIC HOUR is no exception. The title says it all---this book is pure MAGIC!! I don't like to read reviews that give away the plot and so I'm not going to comment on that except to say that this story blew me away. It was everything I'd come to expect (and love) from a Hannah novel--true emotion, deep characters--but it was also a story line so unique and fresh, I could not put the book down. If you've never read Kristin Hannah give yourself a huge treat with Magic Hour. And, if you're a Hannah fan like me, I'm sure you've already pre-ordered the book!! Another winner from an extremely talented writer.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Engaging Story Sept. 10 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have become a big fan of Kristin Hannah, and this book did not disappoint. The story is engaging, and once I started the book, I literally could not put it down. I had to know the identity of the little girl and yet dreaded the end of the book because I became so involved with the characters. The end of the book is satisfying on many levels, however.

Hannah has developed her writing skills over the years. Her characters are alive and her descriptions of the scenery are vivid. The interation between her characters is also realistic. I can't say enough positive things about this book. Kudos to Kristin Hannah for her work. I would encourage people to read this one.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting story, but you will have to suspend disbelief ... a lot ... May 1 2010
By Becki Robins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I liked this book at first but my opinion of it rapidly declined as the improbabilities started piling up. The characters--even the purportedly intellectual Julia--don't really seem real. They behave irrationally at times and they seem to miss a lot of things that are obvious to the reader. The Alice character in particular seems like pure fabrication (she is, of course, but it was really hard for me to even pretend like she was real).

It's mostly little things that bothered me, but there were enough of them to really detract from the overall appeal of this story. Some examples: It takes forever for it to dawn on anyone what was made painfully obvious in the early pages--that Alice is not just a little girl who "wandered off during a camping trip." At one point the characters lament that they might have to turn the girl over to parents who have hurt her, which is ridiculous because I'm sure no court in the world would blindly turn over a child who'd been so obviously abused without some kind of evidence that the parents weren't the abusers. And then there's all that nonsense about Alice's ability to communicate with animals--give me a break. There are also inconsistencies--we are told that the girl only understands a few words, but then we are told that she'd been warned in quite explicit terms about how there are bad people out in the world who might want to harm her, something she supposedly understood quite well. And maybe I don't know how to treat starvation, but I'm pretty sure if you give a starving person waffles with sugary strawberry syrup and whipped cream, or greasy hamburgers and French fries you might actually kill her. Also, babies aren't born in the O.R. (which stands for "operating room") except by c-section, and any town big enough to have a hospital probably has an obstetrician (the author has Jack-of-all-trades doctor Max delivering babies and working in the E.R., too). Finally, at one point the author mentions that six-year-old Alice has been wearing the same diaper for a couple of days because no one can get close enough to change it but doesn't explain why a six year old girl wouldn't just take it off herself after it was so saturated as to be uncomfortable, oh, and apparently the girl doesn't poop despite all those burgers and whipped cream covered waffles.

The writing is sloppy in places too. I was especially annoyed by the author's lazy way of showing the passage of time: "An hour later," "30 minutes later," "for the next two hours ..." YAWN! That's really bad writing and I don't know if it's because this author has written so many books that she's stopped worrying about the quality of her work because she knows her name will sell them--or if she's just that bad at writing a transition. And at one point I asked myself whether or not I could continue reading about the "snot" flying out of the girl's nose, which happened at least three times. Yuck.

Finally, I really questioned the author's understanding of psychology, which it seems to me she would have needed to really effectively conquer this subject. It doesn't seem plausible to me, for example, that a psychiatrist would attempt to treat an obviously traumatized child who screams in abject terror at the sight of a dreamcatcher by bringing her a bunch of dreamcatchers to further traumatize her. I don't know, maybe that's how psychiatrists do things, but it didn't seem real to me.

The book did improve towards the end, when at last the story started to gain speed and actually became somewhat compelling. It was enough to make me up my rating from two stars to three, but it was very slow in getting there. Sadly, the ending was right back to improbable though it was easier to swallow because the characters had finally started to seem three dimensional.

In looking at the many other reviews, I realize I'm in a very small minority in my criticisms of this book, so maybe I'm just being overly picky or maybe I'm just flat wrong about some of my assumptions. But this story just didn't sit right with me, and I'm afraid I can't recommend it over the many other excellent novels out there.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a wild chid March 20 2006
By S. Geuy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I'm always a little hesitant about an author that is new to me. With Kristin Hannah, and The Magic Hour, I'm glad I chose this one! This is a wonderful book. Julia, a psychiatrist, has lost a teen with major problems, and is blamed for the death of the girl, and others. Drained and wounded by the press and her own guilt, she goes back to her home town. There, her sister Ellie is a cop, in a small town with not too much going on. Ellie find a wild little girl, with a wolf pup, in a tree, and the story begins. The child is unable, or unwiling to speak, and has been through unspeakable horrors. She has escaped from the forest on the edge of town. Julia feels that she can help the broken little girl, and a bond is made. This book has it all. Joy and sorrow. Love and loss. Laughter and tears. The best part is the way the family circle and town friends come together for the sake of one little girl. Sometimes, I don't like the way some books end. With this one, I wasn't sure of how it would end. I can say that I was in tears as I read the last few pages. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves the way a story comes together, and my highest praises to Ms. Hannah for a wonderful read. I'm looking forward to her other books, I may have found a new favorite author.
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