The Tough Guy and the Toddler

While She Was Sleeping

Whispers and Lies by Diane Pershing
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1386, $4.99, PG) ISBN 0373-27456-4
What would it be like to wake up one day secure in the knowledge of who you are, mourning your mother who died prematurely, but with a career you enjoy and good friends, only to discover that it is all lies? Louise McAndrews has just such a revelation in Whispers and Lies, a taut drama that causes some twinges of dissatisfaction, but ultimately delivers an entertaining romantic adventure.

Lou is a veterinarian in Susanville, New York, nestled in the Catskill Mountains. Her mother passed away recently and in her grief, she has lost weight but is learning to live without her. Her best friend is about to get married, causing Lou to rethink her life a little. After all, she was married and divorced and is trying to be satisfied to be alone, until her high school crush enters the picture.

Will Jamison is her best friend’s brother. He is an investigative reporter for the Washington Post and is home for his sister’s wedding. Will is hot on a story about the infamous siblings of famous people, one pair being Senator Jackson DeWitt and his brother, Lincoln. Lincoln has been involved in nefarious schemes over the years. He has a daughter, Gretchen who looks remarkably like Lou. When Lincoln sees a picture of Lou’s mom he is shaken and Will’s antennae’s go up. He begins to suspect that Lou is somehow connected to the brothers.

Lou, meanwhile, is amazed that she still has feelings for Will. He too is attracted. This is one of those twinges of dissatisfaction. Here is a woman who is successful and has friends only to discover she still has a crush on a high school flame? Will is only attracted to Lou because she has lost weight and is slimmed down. Of course, ultimately he is attracted to her personality, but I can’t help but wonder if the romance would have gotten off the ground had she not been a size 10 now.

I digress…When Lou and Will discover that the person Lou grew up knowing as Janice McAndrews, dedicated mom and supporter, was really a woman named Rita Conlon; when Lou’s apartment is ransacked for no apparent reason and when Lincoln DeWitt seems to come up missing, Will goes into full investigative pursuit. Lou teams up with him when she realizes she doesn’t even know who she is and her life seems to be a series of lies told her by her mother.

The story is fast-paced and engaging. The romance that springs up is sexual, funny and warm. Both Lou and Will start out just to assuage their hormones, only to find a person they can relate to on many levels. Their discovery of their relationship was as engaging as the search for the truth. Lou is determined and strong, yet wrought with doubts. She gets a little self-pitying but quickly pulls herself up. Will is warm, gentle and a bulldog with the story. He is insecure about his ability to maintain a relationship and a career, fearing he takes after his workaholic father “who never seemed to be there when he needed him.”

One nice thing about the couple is that they talk and share their concerns. There is one misunderstanding when Will doesn’t disclose all he knows, wanting to protect Lou, but that is quickly handled with a good argument and they move on.

Whispers and Lies is a generally engaging story of lies, deceit and the effect of those lies on the children that follow. Yet it is also a fun and entertaining romance that satisfies the reader’s need for warmth and characters you can care about.

--Shirley Lyons

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