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THE WHISPERS by Ashley Audrain

One morning on Harlow Lane, four families’ lives are changed forever.

Whitney Loverly can only sit by her son’s hospital bed after he falls from his bedroom window in the middle of the night. She refuses to speak to anyone.

Back at home, the Loverlys’ neighbours must reckon with their own roles in the tragedy – their selfless best friends who live across the street, the ambitious Goldsteins who desperately want a family of their own, and the quiet elderly couple who spend their days people watching on the front porch.

But what happens next, when over the course of a week, the hidden and explosive truths that connect these families must come out?

Exploring envy, motherhood and the intuitions that we silence, this is a novel that asks what happens when good people make bad choices.

Title : The Whispers
Author : Ashley Audrain
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : mystery / domestic drama
Publisher : Penguin Canada
Release Date : June 6, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Hollis’ 4 star review

Well that’s definitely a memorable way to end a story!

This is my first go with Audrain but it won’t be my last. I will absolutely be picking up her debut The Push after this experience. There was something about her writing that just sucked me in and considering I’m really struggling to read right now that was a huge win.

While I saw this marketed as a thriller, as well as a mystery, I think it’s more accurate to call this a domestic drama. But mystery? Absolutely. Even though, barring the mic drop at the end and a little bit related to the children themselves, I did see a lot of this coming as it unfolded. With maybe.. one other complication I won’t hint at that was an interesting twist. But none of this took away from my enjoyment or, again, my inability to put the book down.

The majority of this does deal with motherhood and it’s many many facets. I found it fascinating how authentic each situation, and each woman, was written; how each of them felt so different but also not just merely as case studies to hold up against the other. This felt very real, very modern, and there’s something here for everyone and for so many different experiences. Also, as someone who has no interest in motherhood, I was still very much drawn in to the struggles and the resentment, the complexities and the sacrifices, and, above all, the love.

I’m really glad I took a risk on requesting this one because I have no idea if I would’ve made the time for it otherwise. And while I don’t quite know who I would recommend it to, I have to think that if you enjoyed the author’s debut, you’ll like this one, too.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain

‘The women in this family, we’re different . . .’

Blythe Connor doesn’t want history to repeat itself.

Violet is her first child and she will give her daughter all the love she deserves. All the love that her own mother withheld.

But firstborns are never easy. And Violet is demanding and fretful. She never smiles. Soon Blythe believes she can do no right – that something’s very wrong. Either with her daughter, or herself.

Her husband, Fox, says she’s imagining it. But Violet’s different with him. And he can’t understand what Blythe suffered as a child. No one can.

Blythe wants to be a good mother. But what if that’s not enough for Violet? Or her marriage? What if she can’t see the darkness coming?

Mother and daughter. Angel or monster?
We don’t get to choose our inheritance – or who we are . . .

The Push is an addictive, gripping and compulsive read that asks what happens when women are not believed – and what if motherhood isn’t everything you hoped for but everything you always feared?

Title : The Push
Author : Ashley Audrain
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : Psychological Thriller
Publisher : Michael Joseph
Release Date : January 7, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ 

Micky’s 2-2.5 star reivew

This was one of the most unsatisfying books I’ve ever read and it presented a completely messed up family, situation and bunch of relationships. There was little hope in this story and lots of dread. That title was innocuous at first but it quickly conjured foreshadowing and actually, I found a fair bit of the story predictable.

If I listed all the trigger warnings, it’d be an essay but what I struggled with most was reading about neglect. There’s something about that form of abuse that cuts me deep. This story was about legacy, three mothers but mostly Blythe, all products of their nature/nurture and how that played out with the fourth generation…Violet. It felt like a horror movie at times.

There was a whole lot of mental illness, especially in the previous generations and dare I say, psychopathy and sociopathy. It made for discomforting reading for sure. With Blythe however, things seemed somewhat diluted in terms of her own health but that legacy was strong.

The narrative style was odd. The story was written like a letter to a significant character in the book using both first and third person. Short, abrupt sentences were often the order of the day. However, there was a compelling element to this story that kept me reading, even when I disliked the subject matter rather intensely. The ending was exasperating though.

I think people will either love or hate this book. I expect it to be polarising and you can see which pole I neared. I do like thrillers but I am choosy with the context matter, this wasn’t my cup of tea with the abuse focus. However, those able to read about these subjects more easily may find The Push to be more up their street.

Thank you to Michael Joseph for the early review copy.