Jane Eagland is one of the best historical novelists, ever. Her first novel, Wildthorn, blew me away, and Whisper My Name is even better. Both of her works have such twists and turns, such mystery – you just never know where the next page will take you. Her novels remind me a bit of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s books. High praise indeed as they were very important to my childhood. I have no doubt that Whisper My Name is a novel that will pass the test of time. Its portrayal of Victorian London, its shocking mystery, its intrepid heroine, all create a book more than worth its weight in gold.
Whisper My Name achieves an amazing feet by appealing to both lovers of historical fiction and those who tend to avoid it. The plot is so enthralling that it’s easy to forget the genre of the work. However, it still contains various historical nuances that will appeal to the history lover. As the novel begins, Meriel, the heroine, has just lost her mother, been sent away by her father, and is now journeying to live with a grandfather she has never met. While her grandfather turns out to be just as cold and distant as he is odd, Meriel finds a friend in a maid named Sally and a medium named Sophie. With their help, she begins to unravel a mystery that could change her life…
Meriel is the perfect protagonist for this novel, flawed, but with her heart in the right place. It’s easy to take her side against the injustices dished up by her grandfather and to cheer her on in all her endeavors. Behind her stands a memorable cast of characters who truly enrich the story. I have to say that Sophie, the reluctant medium, is my favorite character in this novel. She is just one of those people who are truly, truly good at heart. Sophie offers quiet support and friendship to Meriel, even when she might face unpleasant consequences for her actions. She just might be the most perfect friend who ever existed (besides my BFF, of course).
The big picture: Whisper My Name is historical fiction for the most ardent history lovers and those who avoid the genre at all costs. It has an intriguing plot full of twists and turns and well-crafted writing. Jane Eagland is an author to watch.