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  • Mandy McHugh

Little Whispers, K.L. Slater: A Review

My quarantine TBR list has been quite impressive as of late, and I was thrilled to receive an eARC of Little Whispers. The cover could very well be from a current hit on HBO or Hulu, and I love a good suburban mom clique thriller.

When Janey's husband receives a job offer, she thinks the move is too good to be true. With double the salary, an uber-chic neighborhood, and a bevy of mothers dressed to the nines in designer fare, she feels out of place and self-conscious--until the proverbial queen bee takes her under her wing, showing her the ropes, ingratiating her into the inner circles, and making her believe that she can have anything she wants. However, this upgrade comes with whispers and secrets, and Janey doesn't know who she can trust. Suspecting there's more at play than her husband is telling her, she begins digging through their shiny new life and learns the truth is far more complicated than the meticulous threads of luxury. What struck me immediately was the dichotomy of Janey's identity. She has a secret of her own, a rotting, shameful mass that she tucks away while she deals with the grief of losing her mother, but she's also not accustomed to the wealthy lifestyle she's supposed to embrace. From the designer clothes to the pick-up etiquette, I found her struggles to deal with who she saw herself as and who she was supposed to be incredibly relatable. You feel for her trying to navigate the mom cliques and neighborhood politics. Years ago, I would've scoffed at these stereotypes, but I've lived them, experienced them myself. It is surprisingly difficult to make mom friends, especially when geography and school district lines come into play. While her circumstances might've been slightly exaggerated to emphasize the differences, Janey's insecurities ultimately lead her down the path of blind trust and heightened suspicions over aesthetics. In terms of structure, the italicized captive chapters were intriguing and horrifying, while the Janey chapters formed an interesting juxtaposition. Slater's writing introduced layers of doubt and early connections that proved to be red herrings or false leads, and I appreciated her navigation of this thriller trope. And while the conclusion felt a bit rushed and melodramatic, I didn't dislike it. For fans of Big Little Lies or Desperate Housewives, Little Whispers is the domestic suspense you've been waiting for. Wysteria Lane's got nothing on these Buckingham wives.

 

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