The Whispers by Heidi Perks
|The Whispers by Heidi Perks|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: Women's friendships can be particularly toxic and Heidi Perks explores the subject with skill and sensitivity. An excellent read and highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: April 2021|
|External links: Author's website|
We know straight away that there's going to be a body. It's on the beach under Crayne's Cliff near the town of Clearwater and it's new year's day. To understand what happened we're going to have to go back to the previous September. Grace Goodwin has a soft Australian accent - she's lived there since her teens and now, in her mid-thirties, she's returned to her home town to live. Her husband, Graham, works in Singapore and she and her eight-year-old daughter, Matilda, might as well be in the lovely apartment she's found. Grace's best friend, Anna Robinson, is still in Clearwater and she has an eight-year-old child too. Ethan's in the class Matilda will be joining. It's perfect!
Anna's generally thought of as having a sensible head on her shoulders and she's changed a bit from the Anna Fallow Grace remembers. Grace can't help but feel a little bit resentful that Anna doesn't seem to have a lot of time to spare for her, choosing, instead, to spend it with three women to whom she's become particularly close. Nancy Simpson seems hostile to Grace: it could be that she's jealous of her and fears that she's going to disrupt the foursome. Grace is fearful that Nancy has some hold over Anna and she's determined that she'll look after her. After all, she always has done. She was the one who protected Anna when they were fourteen and another girl in their class, Heather Kerr, went missing.
In an echo from history, Anna goes missing in mid-December and Grace can't understand why her husband, Ben, seems unwilling to phone the police. Grace knows that Anna wouldn't simply leave: it's what Anna's mother did to her and she'd never do it to Ethan. The police seem reluctant to take any action - and close the case very quickly. Nancy, Rachel and Caitlyn are determined to protect Ben. What are they all hiding?
This an absolute cracker of a story. Some women's friendships can be toxic - some male friendships can be too but there seems to be a more vicious element in the female version and Heidi Perks explores this with skill and sensitivity. Her characterisation is exquisite: she captures Grace's determination and drive perfectly. Here's a woman who had the guts to move herself and her daughter from one side of the world to the other without any support from the husband who seems more interested in his job than his family. This woman has guts and she's not going to see her oldest friend taken advantage of - or worse.
The plot's superb: there's a twist which I certainly didn't see coming despite all the clues being there. It's a brilliant book and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.
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