Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Magic Hour” as Want to Read:
Magic Hour
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Magic Hour

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  65,672 ratings  ·  5,004 reviews
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 ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 451 pages
Published November 27th 2007 by Ballantine Books (first published 2006)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Magic Hour, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Val Susannah, I think you need to read the last 20 pages of this very short book and rewrite your review. The author couldn't have done more to wrap up th…moreSusannah, I think you need to read the last 20 pages of this very short book and rewrite your review. The author couldn't have done more to wrap up the plot than she did. I stress - you need to rewrite your negative review. It's simply not fair to the author or to readers who might be incorrectly turned off to this very good book by Hannah.(less)
Marie I agree. I felt like the ending was lack-luster, predictable and flat. I really enjoyed most of the book, but I am definitely disappointed with the en…moreI agree. I felt like the ending was lack-luster, predictable and flat. I really enjoyed most of the book, but I am definitely disappointed with the ending. The father, the whole kidnapping, the relationships were all tied up in neat little, simple packages..too simple, too easy. (less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.12  · 
Rating details
 ·  65,672 ratings  ·  5,004 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Magic Hour
Barb Butler
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Oct 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
Tom Lewis
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Sep 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No One
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
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 ...more
Sep 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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!! ...more
Apr 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Lisa Gardner
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
Frances Caballo
Apr 11, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Feb 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
OKay, I cried like a baby - Great characters, loved it!
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Jennifer Stratton
May 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
 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.
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
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. ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews

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
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone, moms, fans of Jodi Picoult
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 ...more
May 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult
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
Denisa Arsene
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
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
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, favorites
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
Dec 30, 2015 rated it really liked it

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
Kris Irvin
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
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
Oct 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
An engaging novel about a discredited child psychologist, and a "wild" child. Of course there are romantic elements, but they were well done and credible. Dr. Julia Cates returns to her hometown in rural Washington state, where her sister is sheriff. It's perfect timing as Julia is being pursued by the media after a former patient commits a multiple murder. Julia is called home after the appearance of a young girl who emerges from the woods with only a wolf as a companion.

This book kept me capti
Kylie H
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have had this book for a while and finally read it. This is quite a remarkable story about a little girl who literally wanders out of the forest, apparently having lived wild for most of her short life. She is carrying a wolf pup and can move quickly and nimbly. Shrouded by mystery it soon becomes apparent that she has been subjected to significant cruelty that has left her mute and animalistic.
Two women try to help her, Ellie the local police chief who is trying to track her family and Julia
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Play Dirty
  • The Book of Lost Friends
  • The Book of Lost Names
  • The Book of Two Ways
  • 28 Summers
  • American Dirt
  • The Giver of Stars
  • Once Night Falls
  • This Tender Land
  • The Midnight Library
  • Anxious People
  • The Guest List
  • The Survivors
  • The Push
  • The Rose Code
  • The Vanishing Half
  • The Return
  • Troubles in Paradise (Paradise, #3)
See similar books…
Kristin Hannah is the award-winning and bestselling author of more than 20 novels including the international blockbuster, The Nightingale, which was named Goodreads Best Historical fiction novel for 2015 and won the coveted People's Choice award for best fiction in the same year. Additionally, it was named a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, iTunes, Buzzfeed, the Wall Street Journal, Paste, and Th ...more

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
45 likes · 23 comments
“It was the Magic Hour, the moment in time when every leaf and blade of grass seemed to separate, when sunlight, burnished by the rain and softened by the coming night, gave the world an impossibly beautiful glow.” 24 likes
“Girls like you can't understand," Julia said, and it was true. Ellie had been popular. She didn't know that some hurts were like a once-broken bone. In the right weather, they could ache for a lifetime.” 23 likes
More quotes…