Author: Sophie Draper
Publisher: Avon Books
There’s a stranger in your house…
When her stepmother dies unexpectedly, Caro returns to her childhood home in Derbyshire. She hadn’t seen Elizabeth in years, but the remote farmhouse offers refuge from a bad relationship, and a chance to start again.
But going through Elizabeth’s belongings unearths memories Caro would rather stay buried. In particular, the story her stepmother would tell her, about two little girls and the terrible thing they do.
As heavy snow traps Caro in the village, where her neighbours stare and whisper, Caro is forced to question why Elizabeth hated her so much, and what she was hiding. But does she really want to uncover the truth?
This is packed full of gothic threat, suspense and repressed memories, which is hard to get just right – but I think Sophie Draper manages it all brilliantly in Cuckoo. I was hooked right from page one, and though the pace varies between fast and a little slower, the tension is always there.
I really liked protagonist Caro. Though she seems pretty naive at times, she’s likable and, most importantly, as a reader I really cared what happened to her. She certainly hasn’t had the easiest childhood, but things are about to get harder… the other characters are harder to trust, and I spent a lot of time wondering who was really on Caro’s side and who Caro should be keeping a closer eye on…
I think what I liked most of all about this book is the way that Sophie Draper subtly drops in creepy symbols and stories, from the alternative ‘fairytales’ and folklore that Caro is commisioned to illustrate to the weird pear drum that becomes such an oppressive, threatening object throughout the novel. I really felt a sense of foreboding as I continued reading, and the story’s strong gothic undertones, with its mix of romance and horror, adds to this,
I hugely enjoyed Cuckoo; I think it ticked all the right boxes for a gripping psychological thriller that keeps up the tension right until the (THAT!) satisfying last page…
Many thanks to Avon Books for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
[About Sophie Draper]
Sophie Draper is a Derbyshire based author. Cuckoo is her first book and won the Bath Novel Award 2017. She also won the York Festival of Writing Friday Night Live Award 2017. A second book is due to be published later in 2019.
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