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Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah

Magic Hour (2006)

by Kristin Hannah

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8783610,093 (3.93)13
English (34)  Dutch (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-25 of 34 (next | show all)
I had no expectations when I picked up this book. I liked the cover and the story sounded interesting. It was a wonderful book! Two sisters had led very different lives and remembered their childhood in different ways. Julia left their small town to pursue her studies and became a well-respected child psychiatrist. Ellie stayed in their small town and became the town sheriff. An unusual incident brought Julia back to Rain Valley where both sisters work together to help a 6 year old girl who seems to have appeared out of nowhere. There are the requisite childhood friends, hidden pasts (and not so hidden ones), and love interests, but that is not what makes the story. It is the 6 year old girl - Alice - I couldn't help but be pulled in to her life and her story. I will definitely read more books by Kristin Hannah! ( )
  MelAnnC | Feb 28, 2016 |
Dr. Julia Cates is a renowned child psychiatrist in L.A. who's been laid low by a scandal: one of her patients went on a shooting spree at her church and killed three teenagers. Julia's sister Ellie is police chief of fictional Rain Valley, WA, on the Olympic Peninsula where a wild girl has been discovered in the company of a wolf cub. The town, including Ellie and handsome Dr. Max Cerrasin aren't sure what to do with the girl who apparently cannot speak or communicate. Although Ellie and Julia have been estranged, Ellie knows that Julia may be able to help the girl. Julia agrees to work with the girl, whom she soon comes to love and name Alice. As Alice makes progress, Julia begins adoption proceedings but the girl's father appears, a man infamous for having murdered his wife and daughter...or so it appears.
( )
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
Love this. ( )
  ThilW | Jan 26, 2016 |
Love this. ( )
  ThilW | Jan 26, 2016 |
This is the 3 book I've read by Kristin Hannah, and I actually won a signed copy of the book through a facebook giveaway she had. All 3 books I have read of hers are in my all time favorite list. A young child suddenly appears in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. She seems unsocialized and unable to speak. The story follows the therapist that begins working with her and those trying to find out who she is and what has happened to her and what the future holds for all involved. Beautifully written, great characters, wonderful plot and somewhat familiar setting in that it takes place in a town near Forks and La Push from the Twilight series. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
This is the 3 book I've read by Kristin Hannah, and I actually won a signed copy of the book through a facebook giveaway she had. All 3 books I have read of hers are in my all time favorite list. A young child suddenly appears in a small town in the Pacific Northwest. She seems unsocialized and unable to speak. The story follows the therapist that begins working with her and those trying to find out who she is and what has happened to her and what the future holds for all involved. Beautifully written, great characters, wonderful plot and somewhat familiar setting in that it takes place in a town near Forks and La Push from the Twilight series. ( )
  micahmom2002 | Jan 25, 2016 |
I read this book quickly because I was able to skip over alot of the text because I knew what was going to happen. I was interested in the wild child theory and wanted to read about her rehabilitation and reintegration to society. I kept reading because I wanted to know how the child happened to be left in the forest. ( )
  janismack | Aug 24, 2015 |
After a patient of hers goes on a killing spree, psychologist Julia Cates is dragged through the mud by the media. When her sister, the chief of police in a small Washington town, finds an abandoned child, she calls in her sister to help. The child is filthy and wild. Once Julia begins working with her, she realizes that Alice, as she calls the girl, is a feral child, one she speculates was raised in the woods without human companionship.

This was a very intriguing book. I find the idea of feral children interesting. I thought that the author treated the subject with compassion and realism. I am falling in love with this author and can't wait to read more of her books. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Feb 19, 2015 |
A very compelling story that had me captivated from start to finish even though the romances played secondary roles. The heroine was fantastic and had me near tears at the end. Psychiatrist Julia's career is ruined and she returns to her hometown to help an extraordinary little girl with unimaginable fear.
( )
  Dawn772 | Jan 29, 2015 |
I love Kristin Hannah, and this book was no exception. I was a little skeptical at first, reading the description of the book, but I'm glad I gave it a try. ( )
  carebear10712 | Jan 8, 2015 |
Another good effort by Hannah but I was disappointed that we didn't delve deeper into the reasons behind the estrangement of Julia and Ellie. There were hints of their history but it was never fully developed. The rest of the story was very well done and believable, however. ( )
  olegalCA | Dec 9, 2014 |
Just simply a very well written story with characters you can't help but love. I wanted to pick up and move to Rain Valley, it felt like home. And Alice...how my heart broke for this little girl who was "raised" in the wild. But man did I want her ability to talk to animals. I highly recommend this drama/mystery. Just a beautiful story. ( )
  she_climber | Nov 30, 2014 |
This is an amazing story of two sisters each searching for happiness and something that has been missing in their loves. It may sounds strange, but the two sisters find a feral child who has been living out in the woods on her own for a long time. It is through this child that both of their lives begin to take shape. I originally thought the idea of a feral child would not work, but it certainly does. ( )
  JCogdil1 | Oct 6, 2013 |
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 and yet give her the tools for a normal life.
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. 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. 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, 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., 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. ( )
  OstensiblyA1 | Sep 20, 2013 |
I could not put this book down. They story was so intense. This would make a great movie :) Watching Alice grow into a child from a scared little girl who thought words were bad is amazing. And watching all the other characters grow up as well. this book was heartwarming, sad, happy and just an excellent read. I was sad to see it end. ( )
  KIPGDK | May 11, 2013 |
headless woman cover
  romsfuulynn | Apr 28, 2013 |
I love everything I've read by Kristin Hannah, but this was one of my very favorite books. When I put it down I just couldn't stop thinking about it. Then I had to tell everyone about it. And here it is two years later and I still love it. It's definitely a 10 in my book. ( )
  maggiejaimeson | Mar 30, 2013 |
Julia a highly respected Psychiatrist looses all respect over one of her patients actions. Julia's sister Ellie a small town police chief who has had her ups and downs in life with marriage and love. After school they both went their own ways keeping in contact but not close. Then there is "Wolf Girl" who comes into Ellie's small town and brings in quite a stir with towns folk, media and in need of serious psychiatric help. This young girl a little later we come to know as "Alice" brings much needed help to all. With twists and turns in this story, once again Kristin Hannah pulls together another great story. I don't want to give away to much to spoil. But I really enjoyed this story. ( )
  MonicaLynn | Oct 9, 2012 |
I can't help but be swept away by the story line of a woman looking for love and finding it in a beautiful child named Alice. Another tender, heart breaking, and beautifully written by Kristin Hannah! ( )
  bookalover89 | Jun 25, 2012 |
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. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 8, 2011 |
Having read the same author's "Winter Garden" and having LOVED it, I decided to read this one next. The story of a feral girl who turns up in a small town, and the sisters who try to help her each in their different ways, is engrossing and entertaining. BUT, the whole romance angle between one sister and The Impossibly Handsome Single Doctor With A Tortured Past left me cold. Plus, the last fifty pages seemed awfully tv movie-ish. So, three stars. ( )
  fireblossom32 | Jun 4, 2011 |
A little girl is stolen and deserted in a cave. She escapes and goes to a town to get something to eat. The story is of her rescue and help to a good life.
- by Kathleen W.
  zendalibrary | Mar 26, 2011 |
A child therapist dealing with her own crisis is asked by her sister to help with a child found in a tree in the small town that they grew up in. The child is a feral child and is helped greatly and quickly by the therapist. While I by no means found this story believable I did find it wonderfully readable. I kept me wondering what would happen and I simply suspended my thoughts on the fact that it seemed so quick and easy to make that poor child a normal functioning part of society after what she had been through. I thought that Firefly Lane was a better Kristin Hannah read but this was good. ( )
1 vote lv_jsmith | Jul 17, 2010 |
I needed a box of tissues for this one. ( )
  asomers | Feb 15, 2010 |
This is an extremely touching story. While I'm a little pessimistic that a child raised in the situation that Alice was would come around as well as she does, I was able to suspend that disbelief as I read. Kristin Hannah is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors and I can't read something else by her. ( )
1 vote lesleydawn | Jan 11, 2010 |
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