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Ratings and Book Reviews (6 8 star ratings
6 reviews
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3.4 out of 5
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  • 3 person 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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    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.
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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.
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    A Great Read!

    If dark, domestic thrillers give you a buzz, then you must read Magpie, the latest novel written by Sophie Draper. Even though I have yet to read some of this author's earlier work, I knew I was going to be in for a treat with this one, and it was pretty good. Claire, her husband Duncan, and son Joe, live in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But Claire feels as if she’s married to a stranger and one who is cheating on her. This has been the pattern of their marriage so she decides now is the time to take Joe and their dog and move into a cottage across the pond. As soon as she can get Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan. Then Joe vanishes and Claire is fraught with angst, living in the cottage alone with their dog, struggling to find her son, and attempting to make sense of the events of the night that tore them apart. In Magpie, Sophie Draper explores the darkest corners of a toxic marriage in a mesmerising tale of secrets, lies, infidelity, quietly seething hatred, and sorrow. Written in two timelines - before and after Joe's disappearance - from the perspective of Claire, I was given the opportunity to see things from the protagonist's intensely personal angle. Sophie Draper's characterisation was so impressive, and she explored the psyche of her characters with great conviction, making them very credible. I particularly liked the author's portrayal of Claire who displayed a fascinating concoction of characteristics - detachment, emotional instability, and simmering rage. Each character had a part to play in the story and all of them came across as being good or bad, or both, which made this a very believable read. Everyone had different motives and priorities for their actions, thoughts or behaviour. The pace was mostly slow, and the events ordinary and repetitive, because it portrayed the family's lives. The twists, when they came, had more oomph because of this. The Derbyshire setting was great as it's place I'm a little familiar with and the author portrayed it artfully. Magpie brought few disappointments, capturing my attention for the most part and Sophie Draper created an underlying sense of unease and foreboding that I found gripping. I appreciated the tautness of the plot, the twists and revelations, and the overall quality of the writing as the story spiralled its way towards a superb denouement. I have found a new psychological thriller writer in Sophie Draper and I highly recommend Magpie. I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Avon Books via NetGalley at my request. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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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.
8

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