12/05/2007

Soft Voices Whispering (by Adrienne Dines)

'Soft Voices Whispering' is by Adrienne Dines. It's her third novel - and the reviews of the first two don't appeal to me at all. But this one is poignant, suspenseful, and moving, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

A tall and rather austere nun comes to teach at Kildoran Primary School. The children at the school find her over-strict, and the other nuns find her too private and rather abrupt. Besides that, there's obviously some mystery surrounding her past.

Much of the focus of the book is on Emer Fagan, a harrassed wife and caring mother. Emer observes and wonders, but understands little of what is going on. She works hard, taking life fairly phlegmatically, while often wishing it could be different. As the story unfolds, it's often seen through Emer's eyes, and I found myself relating to her probably more than anyone.

There are a large number of characters, but somehow, it didn't matter. There are several viewpoints, too, but I didn't find it annoying. There were times when it was obvious what was going to, but I didn't skip any pages; instead I felt the tension of the characters as they gradually realised what I had already known.

All in all, the author got the balance exactly right from my perspective, with no extraneous words, no pointless dialogue, and no unnecessary descriptions. Highly recommended.

My longer review is here at The BookBag

1 comment:

Adrienne Dines said...

Sue - I've just found this by chance. Thanks for your comments and glad you liked this one. As for the others, don't always believe the reviewers! The Jigsaw Maker is in the same vein as Soft Voices but Toppling is a different matter.
I like the way you review - straight to the point.
Now on with the writing...
best wishes
Adrienne