The Whisper - Sheryl Browne

Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley

Official Blurb:

Tucking her little boy Ollie into bed one night, Sarah notices his beloved teddy bear, which she bought him when he was born, is missing and in its place is a new toy given to him by her ex-husband’s new girlfriend, Laura. When she asks Ollie about it, he begins to shift uncomfortably, before whispering ‘Laura told me a big secret and she said I can never tell you’.
Sarah’s heart sinks. But when she raises her concerns, nobody wants to listen. To everyone else, Laura is the perfect stepmother and Sarah is just the jealous ex-wife. But Sarah knew the moment she met Laura she couldn’t trust her, from her overly perfect stepmother act to the way she evaded questions about her own history.
Soon Ollie is asking to spend more time with his dad and Laura, and shrinking away from Sarah. Then, when she calls to him in the garden one day, Ollie doesn’t answer back. The garden is silent. Ollie’s sandpit is empty. Ollie has disappeared.

My Thoughts:

This was a real slow burner. It took me a while to get into it, and I’m not entirely sure I ever did.
It plods along for the majority of the book with a lot of repetitive behaviour from the characters. We have the neurotic mother who is afraid for her child’s safety, Sharon. We have the ex-husband Steve and his new girlfriend Laura, who is shrouded in secrets. Finally, there is Joe, Sharon’s new fling. These are the four main players, but there are some peripheral characters also. We change points of view throughout the chapters, so we are kept abreast of what they are thinking and doing. However, this adds to the repeated nature of occurrences as we see things from everyone’s points of view.
Sharon is mainly going from motherly instinct, as her accusations and worries, to begin with, aren’t based on very much. As the story progresses, she becomes more hysterical, resulting in everyone around her to think she is going mad and dismissing everything she is saying. It was quite frustrating as she wasn’t telling them everything, only snippets; maybe if she’d calmly told everyone everything, she may have been taken more seriously.
The ending is full of twists and turns, but it was quite confusing. I don’t feel like I got closure on everything that had happened or really understood the intricacies of the unfinished plot lines.
The author advises in her note at the end that this book was based on first judgements of people and stereotypes that we form. I was quite shocked to read this as I hadn’t picked up on this at all. Other than Sharon being worried about a new woman being in Ollie’s life, I didn’t see any other prejudgements or really what the author had been trying to do. She says we judge people on first appearances and what they wear, but Sharon didn’t do this with Laura. Yes, she has a stutter, but she doesn’t judge her on this but instead allows her the time to get her words out and is kind to her. So I was a little confused by this.
I was also bewildered by the title. What was the whisper? No one whispers; there is no gossip that could be construed as a whisper. Yes, there are secrets, but no one whispers about them. So this book certainly didn’t fit the title.
Overall, a little disappointing. I did stick with it and read it to see where it would take me, but I don’t think I will be recommending this one to anyone.

Buy Now on Amazon

The Whisper
by Sheryl Browne
Date Started
8th March 2021
Date Finished
11th March 2021
Buy Now on Amazon