“A vengeful ghost – a new wife – not a good mix.” So says the short blurb in the description for Whisper To Me, a supernatural romance by author Sherrie Lowe. Whisper To Me follows Theo, a widowed husband who has recently remarried almost a decade after his previous wife, Letitia, suddenly died in an unfortunate incident, and crucially, made Theo promise he’d never remarry if she ever did die. The problem is, Letitia is still there, hanging around the family home, which Theo’s new wife Sheena has moved into. To say that Letitia actively dislikes Sheena is an understatement. And as a story hook, a dead, vengeful ghost of a wife seeking retribution on the new wife is a premise with huge potential and a great lead-into the narrative as a whole.
Unfortunately, that’s about the kindest thing I can say about Whisper To Me. That great premise, while still providing the foundation of the book, is buried under a mountain of inane detail, and a story that is more concerned with the minutiae of its characters’ daily lives than it is with its supernatural hook.
It’s disappointing, as in a different setting, or even a different genre, the idea behind this book could have truly flown. As I was reading, I couldn’t help but imagine a story that took the basic premise and put it into a straight horror story, or even a Gothic supernatural romance akin to Guillermo Del Toro’s film Crimson Peak. As it is, though, Whisper To Me never capitalises on the uniqueness of its own basic foundation, instead choosing to focus a number of characters – widowed husband Theo, his new wife Sheena, Theo’s daughter Saskia and a few other supporting characters – and their daily lives, which honestly come across as boring, for the most part.
I could understand this if the humdrum of the characters living their lives built up to a crescendo of paranormal shenanigans, but it never does, and the story ultimately goes nowhere and ends in almost the same place as it started – albeit with the chess pieces shuffled around a little bit. I may risk repeating myself here, but it’s a huge waste of a good plot idea.
The characters, too, are somewhat of a waste. They have names and rather lengthy in-text descriptions, but they all feel the same, and sometimes I struggled to work out just which character was speaking, as Lowe doesn’t give her characters distinct enough voices to come across as actual individuals. Furthermore, quite a few of the characters exhibit an interest in gardening that quite frankly makes me suspect Lowe is self-inserting her own interests into her characters. Which, done in small amounts, can be a good thing, but in this case is not executed well. They also behave unrealistically at numerous points.
For example, one of the earlier major manifestations of Letitia’s ghost is when she writes “Theo is mine” in an attempt to scare Sheena. The problem is, she writes this in the bubbles leftover from using dish soap, which is hardly scary to begin with. It works though: Sheena freaks out, and subsequently brings her concerns to Theo. He dismisses them, and practically between one sentence and the next, Sheena goes from arguing her case about the literal nature of ghosts existing, to wanting sex. It was such an abrupt turn that I had to physically read it again, just to make sure I wasn’t getting it wrong. This issue turns up again later on in the book when, during a seance, a number of characters are provided with the unquestionable existence of ghosts. And yet, no one reacts to this. Everyone just keeps living their lives without a single thought about such a twist, that, in a realistic setting such as this, should have affected the plot far more than it actually does. It’s things like this that unfortunately give the book a largely inconsistent tone.
The actual prose, too, leaves a fair amount to be desired. Lowe seems to flit between using a rather heavy amount of purple prose, and sentences that are frustratingly basic and don’t flow well. A middle ground is rarely present. The book itself, while decently formatted, could have used another round of editing in my opinion, as there are numerous grammar and punctuation errors throughout, the most common of which being the lack of question marks on the end of sentences that are very clearly meant to be questions.
Generally, it’s a shame, as I do genuinely like the premise. But as I’ve already said numerous times, it’s never expanded upon, and Lowe seems more interested in telling us about the banality of her characters’ lives than doing anything interesting with the ghost. Had the story been from the dead wife’s perspective, or if Lowe had aimed more for horror than slice-of-life, then it might have been a lot more compelling as a narrative. But as it doesn’t do either of those things, it ultimately comes off as frustrating and disappointing.
About the Author
I am an indie author with an Amazon #1 bestseller, SHADOW ACROSS THE SUN. I am also a divorced mum of two adult sons and nanna to three beautiful grandchildren. I grew up in Stoke-on-Trent, UK, but also lived in Hull and Stockton-on-Tees when first married, a very happy time. Sadly we divorced in 95 and I later became ill with ME/CFS, a very debilitating illness which forced me to resign from my job as a learning support assistant in a mainstream high school – devastating!
I love writing and have developed my interest since becoming ill. I spend a lot of time on my own and writing has saved my sanity. Since I began to write seriously in 1995 I have looked at many ways of publishing my work. I quickly discarded vanity publishing as an option, it’s my work, I’m not going to pay someone to publish it. I always said I wouldn’t self publish on that principle then I discovered FeedARead, a print on demand publishing company who at that time were Arts Council funded. I thought it was too good to be true that they published free but it was true; they did – and do! I initially published Song of the Phoenix, quickly followed by my other books, both novels and memoir and it was so satisfying to hold them in my hand. Then came the question from my neighbour, were they available on kindle? A discovery at the bottom of an Amazon page directed me to KDP and it was a simple process to publish them electronically. Self-publishing is, at last, coming into its own and allowing authors to achieve their goal and have their work read.
All of my titles are available in paperback from: http://www.feedaread.com/search/books.aspx?keywords=sherrie%20lowe
and in Kindle format from: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=node=341689031&field-keywords=sherrie+lowe
I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has bought one of my books in either format. It is much appreciated and I hope that you enjoyed the story and will check out other titles. If you did enjoy it, it would be very helpful if you’d post a review on the book’s Amazon page and Goodreads if you’re on it please, my grateful thanks.
You can follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SherrieLowe2
Giveaway to Win 5 x Mobi for Kindle copies of Whisper To Me
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