Whispers

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Overview

Robert and Lynn Ferguson are a picture-perfect couple  with two beautiful daughters and a lovely home in  an exclusive Connecticut community. Robert is on  the fast track of a major corporation. Lynn is  devoted to her family and good works. But in the  Ferguson's closed doors hide a painful secret Lynn must  keep from the world-and her children-at any  cost... Not even the Fergusons's best friends, Josie and  Bruce Lehman, know of ...
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Whispers

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Overview

Robert and Lynn Ferguson are a picture-perfect couple  with two beautiful daughters and a lovely home in  an exclusive Connecticut community. Robert is on  the fast track of a major corporation. Lynn is  devoted to her family and good works. But in the  Ferguson's closed doors hide a painful secret Lynn must  keep from the world-and her children-at any  cost... Not even the Fergusons's best friends, Josie and  Bruce Lehman, know of Lynn's shame. Social worker  Josie sees her bruises distrusts the  too-ambitious, too perfect Robert, and suspects the real cause  of the children's increasingly disturbed behavior.  But not even Josie can pierce Lynn's wall of  silence, a wall that will not crumble until Lynn is  forced to face herself-and the truth-at last. Belva  Plain's searing novel of a family's heartbreak, a  woman's courage, and a subject too often talked  about only in whispers.

As in her latest bestselling novel Treasures, Plain tells an engrossing tale of a contemporary family and the realities that lie below the surface of their perfect lives. A woman is unable to admit to anyone, much to herself, that her idyllic life is based on a lie. She struggles to free herself from a cycle of violence, contrition, and more violence--and finally emerges in triumph.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Subtle and intelligent." --  West Coast Review Of Books.  "Impeccably done" --Booklist.

"By getting under the  skin of each of her diverse characters, Plain  delivers a story of considerable impact."  --Publisher's Weekly.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Plain's accomplished portrayal of a seemingly perfect Connecticut homemaker and her abusive husband was a PW bestseller. Apr.
Ray Olson
Plain's latest is impeccably done and ought to please her large readership. It isn't literature, to be sure, but it's the kind of book that reminds us that, since its inception, the novel has been used for instruction and consolation. Richardson's epistolary novels were originally meant to teach good letter-writing style. The biggest nineteenth-century U.S. best-sellers were as much manuals of moral conduct and Christian reassurance as good stories. Indeed, many weren't very good stories, and neither is "Whispers". It's the chronicle of the domestic crises of an upper-middle-class woman married to an ambitious, image-obsessed executive who flies into violent rages when he feels thwarted. Yes, she's the long-suffering spouse of a wife beater--a setup right out of the so-called four-hankie movies of the 1930s through 1950s that used to star actresses named Joan, Jane, Jean, and June. Plain's purposes in rehearsing this scenario again are to illustrate what an abusive relationship is, to inculcate that it can afflict women in even the best strata of society, to sympathetically model getting out of such a situation, and to stress how difficult getting out can be even--perhaps especially--for a good, smart, talented woman. She succeeds admirably and affectingly, and her heroine's trials and eventual triumphs will instruct and console a huge audience.
Kirkus Reviews
The plight of the battered wife is the subject of Plain's latest (Treasures, 1992; Harvest, 1990, etc.)—in which an Iowa- bred suburban Connecticut housewife and mother suffers the sporadic rages of a successful career husband. "To live with Robert was to dwell in sunlight for months and months; then suddenly a flashing storm would turn everything into darkness...." Although Robert at first blamed Lynn for the drowning death of their toddler, he had been cautioned in his judgment by wiser heads, and now, in 1988, Robert and Lynn live—to the public at least—in harmony in a comfortable house filled with tasteful things: "Either the best or nothing" is Robert's dictum. Handsome, certainly involved with his family, hard-working, and on his way up, Robert, who also enjoys giving thoughtful gifts, is surely still the man Lynn fell in love with. But a dinner jacket not packed for an important business trip, a crazy suspicion of interest in another man, too sharp an argument, then—the violence, followed by Robert's cringing apology. Some friends and acquaintances "know"—kind Bruce and his dying wife, Josie; lawyer Tom Lawrence, who seems to take an unusually strong interest in Lynn; and the family of teenaged Harris, boyfriend of Lynn and Robert's daughter Emily. Meanwhile, the children, Emily and Annie, seek their own refuges and rebellions, but it is not until after the birth of baby Bobby—and some sleuthing that reveals the truth about Robert's first marriage—that Lynn accepts her loss—and is nearly murdered. This time out, Plain covers the essentials in her psychological profiles of batterer and batteree—in a straightforward tale about agentle woman determined to make the best of things and a man whose bright blue eyes can suddenly blaze black. A shoo-in, of course. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for Spring)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440216742
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/28/1994
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 475
  • Sales rank: 596,502
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

Belva  Plain
Belva Plain captured readers' hearts with her first novel, Evergreen, which Delacorte published more than 30 years ago. It topped the New York Times best-seller list for 41 weeks and aired as an NBC-TV miniseries. In total, more than 20 of her books have been New York Times best sellers.

Before becoming a novelist,  Belva Plain wrote short stories for many major magazines, but taking care of a husband and three children did not give her the time to concentrate on the novel she had always wanted to write. When she looked back and said she didn't have the time, she felt as though she had been making excuses. In retrospect, she said, "I didn't make the time." But, she reminded us, during the era that she was raising her family, women were supposed to concentrate only on their children. Today 30 million copies of her books are in print.

A Barnard College graduate who majored in history,  Belva Plain enjoyed a wonderful marriage of more than 40 years to Irving Plain, an ophthalmologist. Widowed for more than 25 years, Ms. Plain continued to reside in New Jersey, where she and her husband had raised their family and which was still home to her nearby children and grandchildren until her death in October 2010.

Biography

Belva Plain captured readers' hearts with her first novel, Evergreen (1978), published when the author was a grandmother. It topped The New York Times bestseller list for 41 weeks and aired as an NBC-TV miniseries in 1985. In all, twenty of her novels appeared on The New York Times best-seller list.

Before she became a novelist, Belva Plain wrote short stories for many major magazines (she sold her first story to Cosmopolitan), but taking care of a husband and three children did not give her the time to concentrate on the novel she always wanted to write. In retrospect, she said, "I didn't make the time." Now, with well over 25 million copies of her books in print, translated into 22 languages, her fans can be grateful she demonstrated a better-late-than-never attitude.

A Barnard College graduate who majored in history, Belva Plain enjoyed a wonderful marriage of more than 40 years to Irving Plain, an ophthalmologist, who died in 1982. She lived most of her life in New Jersey where she and her husband raised their family. Belva Plain died at her home in October 2010. She was 95.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Good To Know

Plain's first short story was published in Cosmopolitan magazine when she was twenty-five; her first novel was published nearly forty years later.

When she wasn't writing, Plain enjoyed opera, ballet, nature, history, dogs, and reading.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      October 9, 1915
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Death:
      October 12, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Short Hills, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.A., Barnard College

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2014

    Jjjjud

    Hdjjdjd

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    Timely and Appropriate

    As always another well plotted and well written treasure by Belva Plain. Anyone who has ever been in the main characters shoes will understand this book very well and thereby have a better understanding of themselves. Well worth the reading !!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2007

    another great one by belva

    easy to follow, finished it in two days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2002

    YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED

    This book is AMAZING.......I have yet to read a book that can surpass it....Belva Plain is a very gifted author. I garuntee you will not be disappointed when you read this novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2001

    Great book

    This book is absolutely wonderful. One that I couldn't put down. It also is an easy read due to the fact that there are not a lot of characters but a lot of action.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2001

    A REAL KNOCK-OUT

    Belva Plain at her best with this X-TRODUNARY book. A story which can happen to anyone...whether they like it or not...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

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