Chandler Baker’s Whisper Network has already been picked by no other than Reese Witherspoon for her latest Bookclub, and has stormed its way to the top of the New York Times bestseller list when it was published in the States a few weeks ago.
Telling the tale of four female lawyers who come together to challenge the appointment of their controversial new CEO in the law firm they work for, it’s a powerful, timely and explosive novel which has been inspired by the #MeToo movement.
We’re delighted to welcome author Chandler Baker to the Eason blog to explain why she was inspired to write it.
I’m writing this from my usual perch on my couch, my laptop balanced on my legs where I’m reminded, as I so often am, of the first line I ever came up with in Whisper Network: “We fell asleep with the heat of laptops burning our thighs.” If there were a single image I could use to illustrate what it feels like to be a working woman and mother today, it’d be this one.
It’s rushing home from work so as not to be late for childcare pickup. It’s scrounging a family meal together, reading and singing through bedtime and falling asleep in my toddler’s bed, only to heave myself out of it thirty minutes later to start work again for the evening. It’s the pull of demonstrating that I’m 100% focused on work while at the office and 100% focused on parenting while at home, but somehow always getting caught in those soggy in between moments where my focus is split, and not always in favor of the direction I intend.
Whisper Network started as a book about how women deal (or don’t) with sexual harassment at work. Like every woman I know, the advent of the #MeToo movement sparked a thousand personal conversations with my friends about what we had and had not experienced in terms of sexually predatory behavior and how we’d dealt with it or, perhaps more interestingly, how we felt about how we’d dealt with it. Those conversations always morphed into a broader discussion of the experience of being a professional woman, of which sexual harassment is certainly a piece, but not the only piece. I wanted to write a novel that could do justice to these insightful dialogues I was having while penning something big and juicy enough that a reader would turn the last page and feel both righteously indignant and the impulsive urge to call up his or her best friend and chat about what exactly happened in that ending! Here’s hoping that’s exactly where you land.
'Add another great book to your beach bag! This story has a workplace murder mystery that happens in today's #MeToo era. It's honest, timely and completely thrilling - I was so surprised to find out who the murderer was!' REESE WITHERSPOON
'Ms. Sandberg was right about something. We had to lean in. It was the only way to hear the whispers...' Sloane, Ardie, Grace and Rosalita have worked in the same legal office for years. The sudden death of the firm's CEO means their boss, Ames, will likely take over the entire company. Each of the women has a different relationship with Ames, who has always been surrounded by whispers about how he treats women. Those whispers have been ignored, swept under the rug, hidden away by those in charge. But the world has changed, and the women are watching this latest promotion for Ames differently. This time, they've decided enough is enough. Sloane and her colleagues' decision to take a stand sets in motion something catastrophic and unstoppable: lies will be uncovered, secrets will be exposed and not everyone will survive.