My mum would be delighted to be 'up in lights' on Amazon. Once, when I was a kid, she was booked for (slightly) exceeding the speed limit in the main street of Orbost. She was tickled pink when she saw her transgression reported on the front page of the local newspaper. Many people would have seen this in a negative light but her enjoyment was evident in the merriment in her eyes and her laughter when she proudly declared: “My name is up in lights!”
I must have inherited my mother’s sense of humour. I am often tickled pink by reviews/comments about Whisper My Secret that could be perceived as negative. The claim that Whisper My Secret is ‘pornography’ comes to mind, as well as the startling observations that the book contains ‘lurid’ or ‘gratuitous’ sex scenes. I find such comments amusing. And I’m not unhappy if these types of remarks are included in an Amazon review because they give the book extra zing. Like they say: sex sells! However, for the record, there are no gratuitous sex scenes in Whisper My Secret. The few sex scenes included in the book are there for a purpose. I believe most readers understand that but for those who need clarification here is a brief explanation.
The first sex scene (actually a ‘not quite sex’ scene) where Myrtle and Lily are spying on Mrs Brussells through a window represents the hypocrisy and ignorance toward sex at that time (1930s and 1940s); the social environment which significantly contributed to Myrtle’s lack of understanding about sex and consequently her unexpected pregnancy at the age of eighteen.
The second sex scene, where Myrtle succumbs to Henry after several seduction preliminaries over the preceding weeks, is there to show Myrtle’s ignorance about sexual intercourse and her need to be loved – accentuated by the recent death of her father.
The third sex scene where Henry roughly claims his ‘marital rights’ is over very quickly. This scene highlights the nature of the relationship between Myrtle and Henry and demonstrates how Myrtle fell pregnant with her third child – important in light of the lies spread about the paternity of that child.
The final sex scene where George and Myrtle make love for the first time demonstrates the vast difference between the way Henry treated Myrtle and the love and respect George felt for her.
Each of these scenes is brief. I have tried to make them realistic without being obscene. I felt I’d achieved that when one radio interviewer commented: “You do sex very well."
All that aside, I am heartened that Whisper My Secret has attracted so very many positive reviews from wonderful readers who understand what I want to convey.