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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 398

Kristin Hannah is a highly commercially successful author who has published a large number of books. Set in the Pacific Northwest, Magic Hour tells the story of two adult sisters with a complicated relationship who must work together to aid a vulnerable young girl whose past is shrouded in secrets. Hannah has named this book as one of her personal favorites out of those she's written, partially because of her affection for the character it depicts named Alice. In this response, I will focus on a couple of the main characters in Magic Hour.

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Dr. Julia Cates

Julia Cates is a successful child psychiatrist, respected in her field. But her confidence and sense of self are seriously shaken in the wake of a high profile murder case involving a former patient. A young girl named Amber she worked with for a few years went on to kill four children. While Julia is cleared of any wrongdoing legally, negative public attention surrounding the case causes her to close her business. Julia has always put her career ahead of relationships, as she is passionate about helping young people and her vocation has assisted her in dealing with her own painful memories. When the opportunity arises to work with Alice, Julia hopes that she might be able to salvage her professional reputation and build new relationship skills.


Alice is a traumatized six-year-old girl who emerges out of the depths of a forest in the Pacific Northwest, unable to tell her story. After being invited by her sister to help solve the mystery of who Alice is and what happened to her, Julia seeks to help Alice to unravel the secrets of her identity and her past. Due to her traumatic experiences, Alice often behaves in a wild, erratic manner.

Ellie Barton

Ellie differs significantly from Julia. While Julia is bookish, Ellie has a confident manner and often uses charm to her advantage. She works as Rain Valley's local police chief. She believes Alice's case will allow her to prove that she is more than just a pretty face to those in her town, as it is the most difficult case she's ever tackled. Ellie invites Julia to help rehabilitate the unpredictable Alice due to Julia's professional skills. This is an important task, as without the ability to communicate clearly, it will be nearly impossible for Ellie to solve the case.

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