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Listen to the whispers

Cover of The Whispers: A Novel
A review of The Whispers: A Novel by Ashley Audrain

The "whispers" refer to the voices you hear urging you to follow your gut instinct. Sometimes it's large scale. Should I take that job? Move to that city? Buy a house? Have a child? Sometimes it's smaller. Should I go to that party? Trust that person? Walk down that dark road?  

Ashley Audrain's The Whispers starts at an outdoor party at an upscale home owned by the Loverlys, the wealthiest, most beautiful, and successful couple in the neighborhood. The party has been professionally catered and decorated with no expense spared. The event is a smashing success until something happens in an upstairs bedroom. Everyone in the backyard overhears the mother, who's hosting the party, and her oldest son. It's a shocking moment and one that propels the story forward in unexpected ways.

Set in a neighborhood located in an undefined urban area in the final stages of gentrification, the novel focuses on the women who live in four of the households: Whitney, the workaholic, over-achieving mom of three gorgeous children who hosted the party where the incident took place, Whitney's best friend Blair, a stay-at-home mom of one who dotes on her child and husband, Rebecca, a sincere emergency care doctor who is desperate to have a child of her own, and Mara, one of the original Portuguese residents of the neighborhood who is invisible to most of her neighbors.    

There is more sex, jealousy, betrayal, bad parenting, and tragedy in this novel than an episode of "Real Housewives." All four women are hiding secrets that would tear them apart in different ways if revealed. Their combined stories will make you think about what motherhood means, what is expected from mothers, and what happens when being a mother doesn't fit the norms of society. It's a messy, heart wrenching, train wreck of a story that is utterly unputdownable.

Jun 6, 2024