Title: The Whispers
Author: Heidi Perks
Publisher: Arrow Publishing
Date of Publication: eBook 18th March
Format reviewed: proof sent by the publisher
Number of pages: 399
Anna Robinson hasn’t been seen since she went on a night out with her four closest friends.
She has a loving husband and a son she adores. Surely she wouldn’t abandon them and her perfect life.
But what has happened to her?
At the school gates, it’s not long before the rumours start.
Anna’s oldest friend Grace is beside herself with worry – desperately searching for answers and certain that someone is hiding the truth.
With each day that passes, Anna’s life is under increasing threat. And as the pressure mounts, it won’t be long before something cracks…
My favorite novels involve friendships. They say love makes the world go round, but they never specify what kind of love. There is a huge focus on parental love and/or romance, but what about the relationships that carry us through the best and worst days? I say yes to finding the love of your life, and double yes to finding your soul mate. Oh, I see you coming. ‘You’re the luckiest person when you marry your best friend!’ But I would not happily chat with my hubby while shaving my legs. I am a big believer that some things can only be shared and understood by a friend.
That’s why I was happy to – literally – jump on Heidi Perks’ latest novel, The Whispers. I jumped. I could not resist the appeal of the author’s excellent writing with a clever plot revolving around friendships.
Death, trauma, toxic relationships, secrets, and all the years in between – The Whispers has all the ingredients of a great thriller and is served with a beautiful prose, subtle at times, threatening at others, always addictive.
The prologue reeled me in with its eerie tone and promise of a dead body. A date, a place, and so many questions. What was I supposed to do??? I turned off my phone, settled down on the couch, and read as if my life depended on it. It had been a couple of weeks since I’d felt the urge to cut myself from the world to fully dive into a story, and I relished every minute of it.
Grace moves back to her childhood hometown of Clearwater after twenty years. Anna never left the place. Those two used to be best friends until Grace left with her parents when she was fourteen. Can they rekindle their friendship after all those years? Grace hopes so, but Anna… Anna has a new group of friends, mothers whose children go to the same school as Anna’s son Ethan, and now Grace’s daughter Mathilda. And all around, the buzzing of whispers from all mothers creates a wall that separates the group from everyone else…
Let’s talk about the whispers from a moment. I mentioned in several reviews that I am happy not to be a mother, one reason being school runs scare me! The novel incorporates the noise made by mothers at the gates, talking about each other in hushed tones, hoping to grab the latest piece of gossip. What does a scene look like from their point of view? Those small interludes give a little shiver of thrill and excitement. By including them, the author gives the reader a chance to become part of the crowd, to mix with the parents and turn into a witness.
At the core of The Whispers is one friendship, Grace and Anna’s, which began when they were five. Inseparable until separated by Grace’s move to Australia when they were teenagers, their bond was strong, powerful and… and I quickly realized I couldn’t collate the images given to me by Grace with the vibes oozing from Anna. Something was wrong, this was made clear very early on. I could fathom that Anna had moved on, created a new life and was happy with her group of friends. But. There is always a but, and if you are lucky, it’s a good one. In The Whispers, it’s a big fat “but” that kept me hooked, drowned me in theories, and then turned the tables on me!
When Anna goes missing, Grace steps up and wants answers. Why won’t her so-called friends or her husband go to the police? Why is no-one out there looking for her?
A story has several sides, so does the truth. Those affirmations have never been truer. Depending on the lenses through which you look at things, they appear oh-so-differently. Heidi Perks plays with the point of views and tricked me a few time! I was expecting a missing-person thriller and ended up with a deep and intense exploration of what a friendship can be made of and how terribly heavy its weigh can feel, even after decades.
Who is lying? What is on Grace’s agenda? What happened all those years ago? Most importantly…
What would you do for your friends? I know I’d recommend them to read The Whispers so we could whisper (or shout!) about the book!!
You can grab the ebook right now, or pre-order the hardback, released on April 15th!
I would like to thank Rachel for inviting me to be part of this book tour and for providing me with a gorgeous copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.