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WHISPERS by Belva Plain


by Belva Plain

Pub Date: May 3rd, 1993
ISBN: 0-385-29928-1
Publisher: Delacorte

 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 a gentle 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)