Jenna Bush Hager 'couldn't believe' her October 2022 pick was a debut

Jenna Bush Hager said she “couldn’t believe” her October Read With Jenna pick was a debut novel.

“It’s epic in scope,” Jenna said, speaking to TODAY. “I couldn’t believe how beautiful the writing was.

I was underlining things — it just says so much about where we find hope and love amid our darkest times.”

The book is “The Whalebone Theater” by Joanna Quinn, and indeed it is epic in scope: The novel follows decades in the life of Christabel,

an orphan born to an aristocratic family in the early 20th century through her time in espionage in World War II.

The novel sprawls from a crumbling mansion in the bohemian 1920s through the espionage circuits of the war.

Left largely alone with her half-siblings Digby and Flossie, Christabel’s childhood is marked by the arrival of a whale who lands on the shores near their house.

They turn the whale cavity into a theater, where their imagination soars, solidifying relationships that sustain them throughout the tumult of the century.