The Whispers by Ashley Audrain
“It's amazing what you can learn about people when you're more or less invisible. It's the things they don't want you to see that tell you the most.”
From the international bestselling author of The Push comes an engrossing tale about the evolution of motherhood, how the act of becoming a parent changes every fibre of our being, and how far some are willing to go to protect not only the ones they love, but also themselves.
Audrain transports readers to manicured lawns and picture-perfect homes of Harlow Street, where we follow the intersecting lives of four distinctly different women.
As Summer draws to a close on a warm September day, Whitney Loverly, an enviable woman with the most expensive home on Harlow has invited the neighbours to a BBQ in her backyard.
All is well until her ten-year-old son Xavier disobeys her, causing Whitney’s temper to reach a boiling point. She tries her best to push the incident aside, but to her neighbours, she's no longer who they think she is, and her monstrous outburst will follow her like a bad omen.
Fast forward nine months, and Whitney’s neighbour, Dr. Rebecca Parry, is on the receiving end of an admission at the hospital. It’s Xavier, and he’s suffered a brain injury from a drop out of his third floor bedroom window. Cause of fall: to be determined.
Until that day in September, Whitney seemed to have it all: a husband who adored her, three children, and a successful career. And now with her son fighting for his life in the ICU, a string of events have led her friends to monitor her every move. Whitney Loverly's life is falling apart at the seams.
Did Xavier fall? Was it something her friend’s daughter said? Or could this really have been the result of Whitney's uncontrollable anger?
One thing Whitney feels certain of is that she is tired of failing Xavier. “The cruellest part of motherhood is that she has made him the way he is, every frustrating part of him.”
As Audrain’s masterfully constructed narrative unfolds through the perspectives of Whitney, Blair, Rebecca, and Mara, what becomes clear is that these are women who have loved, lost, and sacrificed. They have done it by virtue of becoming mothers.
Furthermore, what brings them together is their shared gut instinct, the whispers they hear, each of them desperate to see the truth for what it is. It’s these whispers, these instincts, that bind these women, yet may also break them.
Audrain proves yet again to be at the top of her game in this genre. Her use of multiple subplots, alternating timelines and various perspectives pushed me toward the finish line.
The Whispers certainly did not disappoint. It’s a book that I raced through at breakneck speed.
|Photo by Barbara Stoneham|
Ashley Audrain's debut novel, The Push, was a New York Times, Sunday Times (UK), and #1 International bestseller, and a Good Morning America Book Club pick. It has sold in more than forty territories, and a limited television series is currently in development. Audrain previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada, and prior to that she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Whispers is her second novel.