Whispers Sinners and Saints

Non-Fiction - Memoir
320 Pages
Reviewed on 03/18/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Angelique Papayannopoulos for Readers' Favorite

Whispers Sinners and Saints by Nancy Heart is the account of the deeply sad and emotional lives of a family spanning three generations. Anna, born in New York City in 1959, is the daughter of a Hungarian immigrant mother, Ann. During WWII, Ann was only twelve when the slums she grew up in became a ghetto for Jews. Ann was left to live off the streets, having witnessed humankind’s most heinous atrocities. As the result of an unwanted pregnancy, baby Anna suffered continuous mental, emotional, and physical abuse from her mother from birth onward, as punishment for their destitute state. At an early age, Anna discovers that she has a special connection with a power she calls All Knowing. As she travels through life and meets people, she encounters a path she yearns for in place of loving her mother.

Nancy Heart has created an eye-opening masterpiece that will linger in your mind for a long time. True incidents and real people are described in profound detail, which will enlighten the reader and create empathy for post-war hardships and their victims. Young Anna stands as a testament to the power of strength, resilience, faith, and perseverance. It is easy to be moved by young Anna’s strength and know that it brings her triumph at the end of her dark tunnel. In Whispers Sinners and Saints, the author has poured out her heart and soul, unveiling the true essence of abuse and deprivation. Explicit language and graphic violence scenes add authenticity to the narrative. This is a superb read and, as readers, we owe it to ourselves to appreciate such a journey of self-discovery, faith, and personal growth!

Keith Mbuya

“Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do the innocent suffer?” These are some of the many questions that have pushed people into questioning the essence of life, the reasons for their existence, and whether a superior being exists. It is interesting that life still has strange ways of connecting those hurtling down the path of soul-searching to the answers they seek, the answers to these same questions. In Whispers Sinners and Saints, Nancy Heart relates her family’s history, recounting her memories of growing up with an abusive mother (suffering from Asperger’s), and how an all-knowing, supernatural force helped her in many ways, but most significantly, helped her make sense of her childhood.

Nancy Heart’s memoir Whispers Sinners and Saints is a must-read for those with parental responsibilities, therapists, psychologists, and non-fiction history enthusiasts. With vivid anecdotes, memories, and nuanced, evocative depictions, Nancy takes readers back in time, opening a portal into the life of a poor Jewish family in Hungary during the Nazi, then Russian invasion of the country, then into the miserable life of a child living with an abusive mother in New York City. Nancy’s poignant, intimate tone allowed me to connect with her and experience the story emotionally. Both the details of the extended family’s life in Hungary and young Nancy’s life in New York brought me to the brink of tears. The witty commentary and introspective thoughts on the culture and behavior of Hungarians against the backdrop of heartwrenching life encounters put a smile on my face. Nancy’s extraordinary story has touched me. Her decision to be different from her mother and harbor no resentment against her mother is a powerful lesson for victims of abuse.