The Whispers was one of my most anticipated reads this year. In 2021, I read and thoroughly enjoyed the author’s debut novel, The Push. You can read my review here. I still vividly recall the emotions that book evoked in me. While I understand that comparing an author’s debut book with their sophomore book may not be entirely fair, it is somewhat inevitable. In The Whispers, Ashley Audrain explores a similar theme but with a completely different approach, showcasing her versatility as a writer.
“On Harlow Street, the well-to-do neighborhood couples and their children gather for a barbecue as the summer winds down. Everything is fabulous until Whitney, the picture-perfect hostess, explodes in fury because her son disobeys her. Everyone at the party hears her exquisite veneer crack—loud and clear. Before long, that same young boy falls from his bedside window in the middle of the night. And then his mother can only sit by her son’s hospital bed, where his life hangs in the balance.
Over the course of a tense three days, the women of the neighborhood grapple with what led to that terrible night. People-pleasing Blair, Whitney’s best friend, suspects something isn’t as it seems. Rebecca, the ER doctor who helps treat Whitney’s son, has struggled to have a child of her own. And the all-knowing Mara, the older woman next door, watches everyone’s world unravel from her front porch.
Exploring envy, women’s friendships, desire, and the intuitions that we silence, The Whispers is a chilling novel that marks Ashley Audrain as a major fiction talent.”
The Whispers explores the lives of four women—Whitney, Blair, Rebecca, and Mara—who all live on Harlow Street. It delves into their relationships, marriages, childhoods, and secrets, all while depicting how their lives are on the brink of irrevocable change. Set over the course of one week, the story revolves around a tragic incident: the sudden fall of Whitney’s son from his bedroom window in the middle of the night. The author skillfully keeps the truth of what happened hidden until the very end, creating a major suspense element.
This book can be described as a slow burn thriller that doesn’t rely on heart-pounding suspense but rather captivates readers through the unveiling of these characters. As you delve deeper into their lives, the desire to unravel their stories intensifies.
The writing in The Whispers is really good. Ashley Audrain skillfully reveals fragments of the story at just the right moments, leaving readers eager to uncover where it is headed. The slow burn approach works here & allows for significant character development, which I found satisfying.
This book tackles difficult conversations surrounding motherhood, infertility, and miscarriages. It sheds light on the societal expectations of what makes a ‘good’ mother. While certain parts of the book may be uncomfortable and emotionally intense to read, these elements are crucial to the story – adding depth to the overall experience.
- Multiple POVs
- Short chapters
- Secrets revealed slowly
- Easy style of writing
Motherhood, relationships, friendships, grief, and infertility.