Today It’s my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for Cuckoo by Sophie Draper. I have to admit that when I got the invite to read this book I was quite intrigued. It was quite literally a mystery as to what I was going to find. A big thank you to Sabah Khan at Avon for inviting me to join the tour. Here is what the book is all about:
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?
A haunting and twisty story about the lies we tell those closest to us, perfect for fans of Ruth Ware and Cass Green.
I’ve been searching and searching lately for a psychological thriller which draws me in and keeps me hooked in a way that has me racing through it towards the end. It’s not the fault of any of the books I’ve been reading – it’s completely me. I’m all booked out. When I picked up Cuckoo by Sophie Draper I really wanted it to be that book and you know what? It flipping well was.
I don’t know what it was about the book, perhaps the strained family relationships – I can relate to that – or maybe the creeping and run down house that Caro inherits – I can relate to that too. Something about the book completely captured my attention and held it and I found myself reading with a far greater ease than I had for quite some time. And I you asked me, I’d be hard pressed to tell you why, I just know that I was.
The majority of the story is told from Caro’s point of view as she leaves her home of many years in London and returns to the that of her childhood following the death of her stepmother. Caro’s memories are tinged with sadness and there is an overwhelming sense of neglect from a woman who was forced upon Caro when her mother died. When she loses her father too, Caro has only the wicked stepmother to rely upon but there is little by the way of love given to her as a child. In fact, that is an understatement, but you will have to find out just how much by reading the book.
I loved the way that Sophie Draper built the tension in this book. There was nothing in the way of outright shocks that led tot he slower terrorisation of Caro, more it was the way in which, bit by bit, we are slowly taken deeper into the recesses of her mind and events from her past that she would rather forget are brought to the fore. None more so than the story of ‘The Pear Drum.’ This is a folk tale in the vein of Grimm Fairy Tales and whilst not the most horrific of stories, the way in which it is used to feed the tension throughout is extremely effective.
Caro was a character I warmed to quite quickly. She is not exactly the most gregarious character and she is quickly ostracised by almost the entire village although we have no clue as to why. She faces a campaign of hate which I couldn’t help but feel some sympathy towards her over, although she did eventually find a few allies within the village. Her story is quite dark, and the more I found out about her, the more I wanted to see her come good. There are many revelations throughout, both about her and her family, some of which is not wholly unexpected, but this didn’t matter.
This isn’t the fastest of reads even though it held my attention from start to finish, but the slow build of the atmospheric tension, and the environmental factors which increased Caro’s sense of isolation, are both perfectly pitched to the tone of the book. If you are looking for snappy action and high octane thrills then this is definitely not the book you are after. If on the other hand you want a clever, twisting, and nerve jangling tale that the feeling of a gothic fairy tale at its heart, then I’d say give this one a go. I really enjoyed it.
If you would like to give Cuckoo a chance, you can find it at the following retailers:
About the Author
Sophie was born in the Midlands but raised in Scotland. With an MA in Mediaeval History, she followed a career in finance, travelling the world as a management consultant and International Finance Director. She took a career break to have a family and after her youngest was born, Sophie rediscovered her love of stories, taking up life as a writer and traditional oral storyteller.
Sophie lives with her family in Derbyshire, in a house filled with music, several cats, too many books and three growing boys. As a storyteller she was nominated for the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence 2013 (Outstanding Female Storyteller) and performs across the UK, telling stories for all ages at festivals, schools, historic houses, museums and community groups.
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