She’s married to him. But does she know him at all?
Claire lives with her family in a beautiful house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.
But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.
Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth?
It’s my turn on the blog tour today for Magpie, the second book by Sophie Draper. Huge thanks to Sabah Khan at Avon Books for asking me to take part and for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I have to admit, this book took a little while to get going for me. It is the story of a troubled family, living in a small village in the Peak District. Duncan and Claire have been married a long time, but the marriage is in difficulty, not helped by the problems suffered by their only son, Joe. Claire is on the verge of leaving when Joe goes missing and everything really falls apart.
The book is told from the dual perspectives of Duncan and Claire and, to begin with, neither of them were characters I particularly warmed to which made it difficult to form that connection with the book. It is hard to know which of them is telling the truth about their relationship. As well as jumping between the perspectives of Duncan and Claire, the story also runs on two timelines – Before and After (before and after what is the crux of the story)- this made the book a little difficult to follow, it requires a certain level of concentration to keep up with who is talking and in what point of the story. I am not sure I have read a book that jumps about in quite such a complicated and disjointed fashion.
However, and this is a big however, this book is absolutely worth the perseverance it took to get into the groove. A third of the way through, I became completely hooked on the story and raced through the rest of the book in desperation to get to the end. This story has so many elements that I love in a novel – suspense, deception, atmosphere – and it is extremely creepy. The author does a wonderful job of bringing to life the oppressive feel of remote corners of the Peaks, especially in winter when the looming crags and endless expanse can feel claustrophobic (I used to live in Ashbourne, so I know this area well).
You will find it hard to categorise this book. Is it a thriller? Is it suspense? Is it gothic? It is all of these things and more. It took a while, but it eventually got under my skin and became a compelling story that I had to pursue to the end. I had no idea what was going on for the majority of the story, I did not guess what was coming until very close to the end and it was a story that really took me by surprise. That can be a hard thing to do to someone who reads as much as I do.
An initially slow-burning novel that turns in to an atmospheric treat with a marvellous pay off. If you are looking for something a bit different and are willing to have a little patience, this is a fulfilling read.
Magpie is out now and you buy a copy here.
Please do follow the rest of the tour for more perspectives on the book:
About the Author
Sophie ‘s debut novel, CUCKOO, was published by Avon (HarperCollins) on 29th Nov 2018. It won the Bath Novel Award 2017 (as “The Pear Drum”) and the prestigious Friday Night Live competition at the York Festival of Writing 2017.
Her second book, MAGPIE, is due out on 28th November 2019.
Sophie lives with her family in Derbyshire, in a house filled with music, several cats, too many books and three growing boys. When not writing, Sophie works as a traditional oral 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.
Connect with Sophie:
Facebook: Sophie Draper Author