Wednesday, March 24, 2021


The "Satanic Panic" scare of the 1980s is the main focus of Whisper Down the Lane, where adults were all too eager to jump to conclusions and ruin lives.  

Young Sean lives with his single mother.  Overworked and without any family support, Sean's mother has to work long hours to support them, leaving Sean in the care of babysitters.  When a bully in his class begins to beat him up, Sean is too afraid of repercussions to tell his mother or any other adults the truth about where his injuries came from.  The adults quickly look for someone to blame and their gaze turns to the local elementary school, where any teacher or staff member who seems a little odd or overly friendly with the children immediately becomes the focus of suspicion.  

Decades later, Sean is now known as Richard and is married to a fellow teacher.  His past is a carefully guarded secret, even from his wife.  When sinister things begin happening at the school where he now works, Richard begins to fear that his past is catching up with him.

The author did a really good job of showing how the adults in these types of situations are ready to believe the most outlandish tales that children come up with instead of attempting to find out what is really happening.  The children, suddenly thrust into the spotlight and not willing to disappoint, do all they can to tell the adults what they want to hear.  The adult "experts" also coach and cajole the kids into agreeing to point the finger at totally innocent people.  While this book does refer to the "telephone game," where children whisper a message throughout the group, only for it to become terribly distorted by the end, the story also had a lot of similarities with the Salem Witch Trials.  

Disclaimer: I received a copy of Whisper Down the Lane from the publisher in exchange for this review


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I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

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