This year, I found a book by Kristin Hannah that I loved, The Nightingale. Then, I went on to read The Great Alone, which I also enjoyed. But the latest book I read, Magic Hour, felt like when you rewatch the pilot episode of your favorite television program. Most pilot episodes are not good because the actors aren’t used to working together and they haven’t found their rhythm yet. That’s largely how I felt about Magic Hour; it fell flat.
About Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
Julia is a highly esteemed psychologist whose reputation is destroyed when one teen girl she is treating goes on a shooting rampage, killing herself and others. Julia didn’t see it coming. When the book opens, she is just cleared by the courts of any wrong doing in the case. Yet, all of her current patients cancel, and her practice is in shambles.
Meanwhile, her sister, Ellie, is chief of police in the small town they grow up in. Ellie’s life is quiet save for the two divorces she’s gone through. All that changes when a wild child crawls up a tree and Ellie must get her down. The Girl, as she is known, looks to be about five years old and cannot or will not speak. She’s filthy, her hair is a mess, and she has a pet wolf pup with her. She growls and howls and attacks those around her. In desperation, Ellie calls in Julia, and Julia, with nothing to lose, leaves the big city to come home.
The book has three different plot lines then–Julia’s, Ellie’s, and The Girl’s. Honestly, the only plot line that interested me was The Girl’s. Who was she? How had she ended up in that condition? How will Julia reach her?
The other two plot lines were simplistic romance lines that were predictable and uninteresting.
My Thoughts about the Book
This was definitely my least favorite Kristin Hannah book I’ve read so far. I considered not reading anymore of this story when I had about 150 pages left because the plot line was so predictable with the sisters, but I wanted to see what happened with The Girl. In the end, there is some resolution to The Girl’s situation, but I would have liked more details. Also, the ending felt unbelievable to me.
And, as a parent of two children with high functioning autism, I found Julia’s assumptions annoying. When she’s first working with The Girl, she thinks The Girl can’t be autistic because she makes eye contact. Later, she again rules out autism because The Girl has some empathy and responds to Julia’s feelings. Please. Autism is a spectrum, and to paint it in such broad strokes is a bit insulting. There are many, many kids with autism that make eye contact and are in tune with the emotions of the people around them.
I give Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah 3 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.