Cuckoo by Sophie Draper

How refreshing to have a book set in the typical English countryside, but not be quaint or twee; no this is far, far sinister. This is an unsettling book to read, but it hit a weirdly personal note of reassuring familiarity with me as I spent time with family in the Somerset countryside growing up and it made me cast my mind back and reminisce (to happy times, I might add).

This is the first book released by the author and it is so well paced that you are completely drawn in to the nail-biting events that unfold. The book envelopes you in this world of deception, secrets, all leaving you feel uneasy, yet… You. Cannot. Put. It. Down. I swear I could have read this book in one afternoon, all whilst perched on the edge of my sofa. You are constantly on edge with your heart pounding but cannot stop turning the pages. Twist after twist comes, leaving you none-the-wiser until, the link to the prologue at the end reveals all. And you can breathe again.

Sophie Draper has perfectly woven the story-lines to leave you angry, sympathetic, sad, relieved, happy and breathless. This book has calculated characters with a underlying “will good prevail over evil?” tone, but there is no chivalry involved here. As the story is revealed and the past explained in more detail, you have the gut-wrenching, harrowing empathy naturally felt when children are involved. She writes it so well, your heart really is in your mouth when you realise the truth about what happened and why everything else panned out the way it did.

Spooky, atmospheric and chilling, this book leaves you wanting more from the author, so I was happy to hear she has a second book called Magpie out now (it’s on my long, long list of TBR!) – I hope it’s as good as this one. There is a sense of pent-up excitement and foreboding as you get deeper into this book, you just do not know where it is going to end up, it’s almost as if it has taken over you. I suppose, just like a cuckoo takes over it’s victim’s nests. If you start reading Cuckoo, be prepared to clear your calendar… – GJ

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