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Author: Gerrie Ferris Finger

Publisher: Crystal Skull Publishing, 2011

ISBN:  978-0615574035

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing. That’s how I felt in the morning when I realized I had stayed awake until midnight with WHISPERING and its shivery love scenes, complete with potential cads. Here I am at age 73, reading my first romance novel.

But is that what this book is? The word I used above, “cad,” will give you a clue to what I think the author means it to be, and that is total immersion in 1921. WHISPERING is a most unusual illustration of post-WWI recovery in the United States where the lives of “tycoons” seem barely touched by the tragedies in the European trenches, and the very rich (like today) keep several “sheds.” The Henry family has one called Summerness on Sago Island, Georgia, and their servants are the slave descendants colonized along this coast.

Into this summer retreat comes a young woman whose fiancé was taken by the Great War, and whose family fortune has dwindled, so that her sympathies are with those less self-centered than the beautiful people who dress for dinner, dance to seduce, and make whoopee with locally distilled booze.

Cleo Snow, a hospital nurse, has been persuaded by her freckled, red-headed cousin Neill , a “flyboy” who survived, to meet his best friend Graham, and enjoy a week of cheerful luxury and recreation (which includes playing in the sand wearing beach pajamas). Graham’s mother Teddy (Theodora, of course), wears pantsuits, smokes cigars, and is marginally a suffragette. With a loathsome lush and his showgirl wife as neighbors, and other mysterious characters lurking nearby to assist in caring for cars, boats, wardrobes, and horses, the novel turns into an American version of the country house murder mystery. Nighttime adventures are facilitated by the three unused wings of the great mansion with numerous back staircases.

In addition to a spellbinding tale of love, lust and the laughable experiment called Prohibition, this novel offers lessons on fashion, tabby architecture, sailboat rigging, back woods religion, and period slang, which is so profuse on these pages that it seems a separate language. “Hic” in the drunk’s speech gets tiresome, but it was fun to read: oodles, nookie, ditto, chump, corker, Roller (for Rolls Royce), and giggle juice. We still said “hell’s bells” in the 1940s, but the author did some laudable research to turn up “I’m the gnat’s whistle.”

The language of sexuality is pretty frank in this book without being crude. It will warm your sheets. At my age, I am happier for knowing there’s a word, “bubs,” to substitute for “boobs.”

Great fun, Gerrie Ferris Finger.

Click Here To Purchase Whispering