Author: Sophie Draper
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Mystery
Publisher: Avon Books UK
Summary: From Amazon
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?
I was intrigued to get to Cuckoo as I initially requested to read it through Netgalley without knowing much about it at all and I’m pleased to say it lived up to it’s promise of being an atmospheric thriller. The book begins with a creepy prologue that totally piques the interest of the reader. We are then introduced to our main character, Caro, who returns to her miserable childhood home after the sudden death of her stepmother. The first thing I really liked about Caro was her profession. She is an illustrator who has a real love of books and fairytales. This made me feel connected to her very quickly as I have a huge weakness for fairytales, especially when they have dark undertones. Fairytales are a very common theme throughout the story. Caro keeps coming back to them both in her work and her personal life. She takes on a commission to illustrate a book of sinister fairytales and I loved how her work on this was interspersed with flashes of her own dark memories.
Cuckoo is a very readable book, it flows beautifully, giving away just enough to keep the reader hooked on the mystery of the story. There is a real sense of menace that builds at a steady pace as the plot winds to it’s conclusion. Adding to the menace is the running theme of death throughout which makes the book genuinely unsettling at times. I really had no idea who could be trusted, this kept the story unpredictable for me right up to the end.
I really enjoyed reading Cuckoo and I’m so glad I took a chance on it. The plot is so intriguing and everything is murky enough to keep the reader on their toes. It is a fascinating look at family, grief, trust and memory and also how far a person can trust their own recollections. If you are looking for a a creepy, slow-burn of a thriller then I would definitely recommend giving Cuckoo a read.
I received an e-copy of the book from Netgalley. My review is my own honest opinion.