Only In Whispers by Jacqueline Grima
A forgotten past
An uncertain future
A family hiding from the truth
When their mother is hospitalised with depression, Annie and her brother Matthew are fostered by their beloved Aunt Helen. Their family eventually reunited, the siblings begin a new life in Derbyshire with their mother and new stepfather.
Now in her thirties and separated from her husband, Annie is struggling to escape the past and move forward with her son. Haunted by memories of her childhood, she begins to realise that there may have been more to her time in foster care than her mother claims. Why did social services take her and Matthew away? Who can she trust to tell her what really happened?
As Annie finds out more, things take a sinister turn…has the life she’s lived so far been a lie?
Only In Whispers tells the story of Annie as she attempts to rediscover what happened in her past. After finally separating from her ex-husband David, 18 months ago. Annie has a new lease on life, taking care of her son Spencer 6yrs and reconnecting with her mother in a way she has never tried before.
‘It has felt like my husband still controls every aspect of my life’ – Annie
Annie reflects upon her own upbringing with brother Matthew, mum and stepdad John. Annie was very lucky considering the era, that when John took on the kids he fully enjoyed his role as ‘father’. He treated them as his own.
‘No-one was ever left out in our family, the two of us cherished each other’ – Annie
Annie lives in a big house in Buxton, she has a close friend Mags and her son is her entire life. But she can’t help but dig away at her own past and what occurred when social services became involved and her and Matthew were sent to live with their Aunt Helen and uncle Frank. She reflects on how her mother’s post-natal depression impacted her own life and mothering skills.
‘After Spencer was born, I had immersed myself into being the best mother that I could’ – Annie
Annie attempts to quiz her mother who is evasive and defensive. Her Aunt Helen is now suffering what appears to be early-onset dementia and confusion. Annie is struggling to find clues to help her unlock her past in her mind.
Eventually she finds help from an unlikely source, her brothers best friend Adam. He challenges Annie in ways she has never been before, and their bond is beautiful to watch grow.
‘You may not have any control over the way other people behave, Annie. But you do have a say in your own life and how you live it’ – Adam
The novel is slow-burning, and the tension slowly builds. Buxton makes for a perfect location and I could easily imagine taking walks along the pavilion gardens (Google Buxton pavilion gardens- image search) with my own personal secrets on my mind.
It is a story of secrets and lies.
The secrets we all keep to protect one another. 4*
Only In Whispers is released today and is available for just £1.99 (UK) and is listed under Kindle Unlimited. Happy release day to Jacqueline Grima 🙂