A MISSING WIFE. FOUR FRIENDS. WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?
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…
I’m a huge fan of Heidi Perks and always get excited when I hear about a new novel of hers. I have to say that with The Whispers she has surpassed my – already high – expectations. It’s a fantastic novel and I’m thrilled to be able to share my review on eBook publication day (the hardback is published in April) as part of the blog tour.
The Whispers sees Grace Goodwin return to Clearwater, near Weymouth, some twenty years or so after she and her family emigrated to Australia when she was 17. Having returned, she hopes to rekindle her friendship with Anna – her best friend from the age of 5 until that emigration twelve years later – twelve years in which the two were all but inseparable. But things don’t quite turn out as she’d hoped – Anna has new friends now in Nancy, Rachel, and Caitlyn, and seems to have little interest in bringing Grace into the fold. Anna eventually invites Grace to join her and her friends on a night out, but it’s a tense evening where Grace feels like an intruder, and things get worse when Anna doesn’t return home afterwards.
I found myself sympathising with Grace – she has returned to Clearwater which she knows intimately having grown up there, and yet knows very few people. It’s natural that she’d want to reconnect with Anna, and her disappointment at being kept at arm’s length is palpable. Every overture she makes is rebuffed, and it seems that Anna is firmly in the grasp of her new friends and Nancy in particular. It’s interesting that when Anna goes missing, Grace seems to be the only one concerned enough to go to the police. There are some wonderful dynamics at play here as Perks explores female friendships and the way in which they aren’t always beneficial.
I can’t say too much about the plot as it would be far too easy to give something away and this went in a direction that I did not expect. It’s told from a mixture of perspectives and jumps around in time between September and December, although each chapter is clearly signposted as to when it occurs. The reader gets Grace’s insight as well as snapshots of Anna’s therapy sessions prior to her disappearance. This of course raises a lot of questions as to Anna’s state of mind. It’s intriguing, and if I thought I had things figured out, Perks very quickly disabused me of that notion. I also like the way in which we see some events from a completely neutral perspective. The mums at the school gate observe what goes on between Grace and Anna at drop off and pick up time and this adds an interesting outsider’s view of what’s going on and while there aren’t many of those chapters, they always cast events in a different light. It’s very cleverly done and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
The Whispers is published by Century and is out today in eBook with the hardback coming on 15 April. Huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy for the early copy and the opportunity to take part in the blog tour.
Make sure you check out the other wonderful bloggers taking part in the tour: