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Ratings and Book Reviews (6 10 star ratings
6 reviews
)

Overall rating

2.9 out of 5
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  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

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    Great writing, slightly disappointed with story

    I purchased this after reading the blurb and it appealed to me, I had bought the previous novel by Sophie CUCKOO after reading some great recommendations on it, despite not having got round to reading it yet. Unfortunately for me this book didn’t live up to what I had hoped for, the pace was just far too slow, the characters were just not relatable or nice, except for Joe who I felt sorry for. Caught between parents who are no longer in love if they ever were, it’s hard to tell, I assume they were at some stage. There is a lot of repetition in the story as well, at times it felt that some of the writing was to bulk the story out a bit, it didn’t really add value. The writing is good, at times hauntingly atmospheric. There was just more needed to the actual storyline, maybe if we had seen other characters, perhaps someone that Duncan was seeing. Claire and Duncan Henderson are married and have an eighteen year old son Joe, who still seems to need a lot of attention, possibly someone on the spectrum, this could be one of the reasons that Claire is so protective of Joe. They live in a beautifully converted Barn in rural Derbyshire, overlooking a reservoir, The house has been done to Duncans specifications, Claire hates the house, she doesn’t feel like it’s a home. Claire believes her husband has had numerous affairs during their marriage, she is secretly planning on leaving Duncan and taking Joe with her, but before she gets the chance to leave, her and Duncan have a blazing argument, and Joe disappears. Has he run off? Who would blame him? Caught in the crossfire of an unhappy marriage. But it’s not the first time Joe has gone missing, the difference is he has always come back home before. The story is told in two timelines before and after, which at times became very confusing, jumping forward, then back six weeks, forward, back again six weeks, then add into that the POV’s which just added more to confusion, or maybe that was just me. There are family secrets, infidelity, things on both sides. Joe likes to go out with his metal detector searching for ancient coins, he finds a rare coin on the property, to him it’s a great find, but to Claire it’s not. Claire sees Magpies in the story, Magpies like to collect and protect things, Claire wants to protect Joe, and Joe likes Shiny things. Maybe that’s just coincidence and I have got it wrong but I did wonder if that some way of where the title comes from. I always think of the old wives tail one for sorrow, two for joy, and despite not being superstitious I hate seeing one magpie in my garden, despite them being a quite attractive bird. Claire is desperately trying to find her son, Duncan, just doesn’t seem to care and is just angry and frustrated with everyone. But we find there are as always two sides to every story.the story did pick up towards the last chapters, with an ending you didn’t expect. I will look out for the writers next book. Thank you to #Netgalley and # Avonbooks for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Disappointed

    I am honestly torn about this book. I found the first half slow and quite boring yet the second half improved. I don’t want to post any spoilers so I can’t really explain what I didn’t enjoy. I will say the characters were not described well enough in the first half to be able to like them. I didn’t like Duncan at all throughout the book while Claire I wanted to like but I just couldn’t. The storyline is confusing and instead of enjoying the twists I was relieved for it to be over. Perhaps others will enjoy this book but it just didn’t resonate with me.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Not the Author for Me

    As I sit here and process the story I reflect back to the opening chapters. This set what I thought would be a fast pace thriller. Instead the execution of building the personal lives of the characters was slow and tedious. I just couldn’t get into them. I couldn’t find one redeemable character in this book. They both had issues that caused suspicion. Their personal issues were depressing to read. This was turning into a depressing story with characters complaining...is no one happy? This story centered around trust and knowing what I now know I can appreciate the story from this angle. Although, the execution was slow and tedious. Great concept I just wish it was delivered differently.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Brilliant and mesmerising

    WOW!! What a mesmerising read from beginning to end! I absolutely LOVED this book! It is so descriptive you can visualise every little thing. "I am Alice in her Wonderland, too big for the space, too small to fight back, too disbelieving of my fate, as I'm sucked down into a vortex of my own making" You love Claire, you can't stand Duncan, you feel so sorry for Joe and you see that sometimes your fate is determined by your own failures. I will definitely read everything by Sophie Draper from now. She has a magical way with word.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Dark and interesting plot twist

    Claire and Duncan are married, but it’s not really a marriage anymore. Their son Joe, now 18, is a difficult child, never diagnosed, but possibly somewhere on the spectrum. He is fascinated by ancient Roman coins which leads him to take up metal detection. The family lives in a renovated, contemporary “barn” along a reservoir. It’s a lovely location, however, Claire and Duncan had two different views of what would be the perfect home. Perhaps that’s where their troubles began. Duncan is leading what he thinks is a secret second life. Claire suspects and then confirms this second life. She is planning her escape from Duncan when Joe finds a very rare coin on their property, he thinks it’s a brilliant discovery, while Claire disagrees. So many secrets are hidden on the property and in their lives. Can this family be fixed? Once Claire escapes Duncan, will her life improve? The novel is told in “before” and “after” segments by Claire and Duncan. We are led to believe that the before segments are before Claire leaves Duncan. I was surprised by the low ratings for this book, as I did find it rather compelling. It definitely is slow paced. With the back and forth between before and after, you are slowly building to what is present, and what really happened to this family. All three people are broken in their own ways. While others found the characters rather unlikable, I found them to all have redeemable qualities. Duncan is a vet and truly cares for the animals, perhaps not the people, he treats. Claire is dedicated to her son, and like any mother, did her absolute best to raise him. Joe struggles, but only because he may have some underlying, undiagnosed issue that makes him less likely to be social. Magpie is well written and Draper has a way with prose. She is able to describe details in a beautiful way. I was not disappointed by this novel at all and would recommend it to people that aren’t in a hurry to get to the finish. You’ll find some beautiful words along the way.
10

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