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Ratings and Reviews (3 15 star ratings
3 reviews

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4.3 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

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    Dark, foreboding and sad, yet tense and intriguing

    Caro has issues. Deep-seated disturbing issues that she tends to feed with alcohol, lack of sleep and worry. But the more you learn about Caro the more you may understand that she has earned each and every one of her mental and physical hang-ups. There’s the foreboding old childhood home (no happy memories here), the wicked stepmother, the beautiful and popular older sister, the evil “Pear Drum” childhood horror stories she was punished with, and who’s that little boy in the bright red Power Rangers suit that keeps showing up uninvited? Caro must return to Derbyshire, her childhood home that she abandoned years ago, forced away by her hateful stepmother. But now that woman, Elizabeth Crowther, has passed away, dead from a terrible fall within Larkstone Farm, the home she usurped from the kids when she married their father. Caro’s sister, whom she hasn’t spoken with in just as many years, also returns for the funeral. Stephanie is still as beautiful and intriguing as ever but has no desire whatsoever to inherit Larkstone or get involved in the cleaning and auctions that must follow to settle the estate. Steph offers full ownership to Caro if she will simply stay and do the organizing and preparation. Caro hates this home; it’s very unhealthy for her to be there, but she has nowhere to go and tries to make the best of it. Hated and ignored by most of the townsfolk, Caro slides deeper and deeper into a dark, alcohol-fueled desperation where the childhood horrors haunt her; questions linger about her father and stepmother, and Daniel, a mysterious child who appears in her dreams and drunken visions continues to taunt her. The only good thing that happens is meeting her neighbor, Craig, a sweet hunk of a guy that was treated like Elizabeth’s son prior to her tragic accident. Craig is all the things Caro has hungered for: patient, kind, loving, a great cook and quite gentle on the eyes. So why do strange things keep happening, as if there’s a dedicated effort in this horrible home to drive her raving lunatic crazy? How do the dreaded pear drum and its horrible English folktale have such an effect on Caro? And who, if not Caro herself, moved it from the attic to her bedside table? Is this drafty old, freezing farmhouse in Derbyshire determined to drive Caro away? As events unfold and more is unearthed, Caro slowly begins to remember an entire block of history she had wiped from her childhood memory. And nothing is quite what it has seemed all these years. (I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to Avon Books UK for making it available.)
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Good title

    Well written atmospheric story full of twists and turns with wonderfully devious characters and an exciting and twisty ending. Well worth reading.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Slow-burning gothic read!

    Cuckoo is an atmospheric gothic mystery set in a rural English house, where even the heroine doubts her sanity. Is she hallucinating? Are ghosts present or is it her memories coming back of her horrible childhood? Caro is a starving artist in London when she is informed her stepmother has died. Caro and her older sister Steph will inherit the entire estate once it leaves probate. Steph, now a wealthy New Yorker, gives her share to Caro. Caro, soon to be homeless in London, decides to move into her old family home to clear out her stepmother’s paperwork and personal items. While in the house, a snowstorm forces her to stay inside where her memories of her hateful stepmother during her childhood return with a vengeance. Cuckoo is reminiscent of golden age mystery writers like Mary Roberts Rinehart with her Had I But Known school of naive and trusting narrators. Caro total lack of faith in herself and continual bad choices began to annoy me around the midpoint. Basically, the clues were all there in plain sight but Caro just ignored them all. I did enjoy the dark English folk and fairy tales sprinkled throughout the book. I googled some of them and they are real—no wonder the English have such stiff upper lips if this is how they entertain their children! If you enjoy slow-burning gothic reads with most of the action in the unreliable narrator’s head, you will enjoy reading Cuckoo. For me, the annoyingly dense heroine and an obvious twist makes this a 3 star read for me. Thanks to the publisher, Avon Books UK, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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