My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Saturday, October 10, 2015

ARC Review: Whistling Women

Synopsis (From GoodReads):

Life went terribly wrong for Addie Bates in San Diego, and she’s been running from dark memories ever since. For fifteen years, the Sleepy Valley Nudist Colony has provided a safe haven for Addie to hide from the crime she committed. But when the residents pack up to go on exhibit at the 1935 world’s fair in San Diego, Addie returns and must face the thrilling yet terrifying prospect of reuniting with her estranged sister, Wavey.

Addie isn’t the only one interested in a reunion. When her niece, Rumor, discovers she has an aunt, Rumor is determined to bring her family together. But it’s not so easy when the women are forced to confront family secrets, past and present.

Set against the backdrop of the 1935 world’s fair, Whistling Women explores the complex relationships between sisters, the sacrifices required to protect family, and the devastating consequences of a single impulsive act.


Whistling Women is a powerful book.  It is the story of two sets of sisters Wavey and Addie, and later Wavey's daughters Mary and Rumor.  Spanning from the Influenza epidemic of 1918 to the World's Fair in 1935, this is a gripping drama of love, sacrifice, and self-awareness.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres.  I love a book that really takes the time to describe the setting and mood of an era.  The sights and sounds of what a world's fair might be like come alive on the page.  One can tell that the author has lived in San Diego by how easily the reader can picture the settings based on her descriptions.  While some of the sentiments of the book are not politically correct for this day and age, they are representative of the era presented.

I was very moved by the relationships in the book.  Addie and Wavey have a heartbreaking estrangement that leaves both women seeking different ways to cope.  Addie seeks seclusion in a nudist colony.   No one asks about her past and all are accepting of who she is at the moment.  Addie has pretty much kept to herself, never allowing anyone to get really close to her.  Wavey goes the opposite direction and seeks out men to help her forget her missteps in life.  Her nightly wanderings are off-putting for her daughters.  

Mary and Rumor are as close as sisters can be, but while Mary is content to follow the rules, Rumor is always questioning them.  This exasperates Mary to no end.   But, even when Rumor goes against her mother's wishes and tries to have an relationship with her aunt Addie, Mary is unwavering in her loyalty to her sister.

There are some very disturbing scenes in the book involving assault.  This could be a trigger for some readers, so please be mindful of this.  Although it was difficult to read, these scenes were handled well by the author.  This is not a morality play where everything gets neatly resolved at the end.  While some may find this disappointing, I found it to be realistic and therefore, appropriate.  I don't want to spoil any plot points so I will not get into it, but the books gets the reactions of the people correct for that time.

If you can handle the violence in this book, you will be rewarded with the strong emotional journey these sisters experience.  It is a reminder of a different time for women where we were often dependent on men which limited our choices.


Source:  ARC copy from NetGalley

Release Date:  November 17, 2015
Format:  E-book
Recommendation:  If you enjoy historical fiction and relationship stories, you will love this book.  
Will I read more from this author? Yes!

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