124. Cuckoo by Sophie Draper

Kindle Edition – 400 pages

Published by – Avon 29th November 2018.

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?

The synopsis of this on Amazon Kindle caught my attention first. Spooky and haunting were my first impressions of this book but I discovered as I started to read that the story was more complex than I’d first anticipated.

I found this difficult to read. The book itself wasn’t as engaging as the blurb made it out to be. Like how you can sometimes see the whole film from a trailer, I felt that the blurb was about a completely different story than the one I eventually read. I brought this on the 11th July this year, and it has taken me this long to read it – October 24th. I found it rather confusing and often had to take breaks because I didn’t understand what I was reading or the concept behind it.

I went through phases of enjoying and hating Caro’s character. I think I was expecting a past with more twists and depth than the one I discovered here and that hampered my enjoyment of what I was reading. At times I found Caro to be annoying and whiny while at other times I found her to be strong and resilient. The pear drum was the creepiest part of the story for me and the parts that had Caro interacting with it did give me a sense of urgency and held me gripped to my chair. However, for the most part, I didn’t feel like I connected to Caro’s character as well as I wanted. I felt that I had a block when reading her and that I couldn’t fully understand her actions as the book progressed.

My ability to visualize was misshapen at best, but that is completely due to my understanding of what was happening. I could clearly visualize Caro and the story of the little girls and the pear drum but much of the book was left to blurs and murky imagination.

I think I was perhaps expecting something different to the plot that I found in this book. I’d never come across Sophie Draper before so was unfamiliar to her works. Amazon always plugs books with ‘perfect for fans of…’ or similar tag lines and neither of the featured authors here were ones I had experience with either. I took a chance on this book, but it just didn’t hit the spot with me. It is a shame because I can see how much others have enjoyed it and I can tell that the book is as gripping and spooky as reviewed, I just couldn’t get myself to the point where I could say ‘yes, I agree’.

My enjoyment was hampered somewhat by my ability to understand what I was reading. I thought the book was heavy on making the reader feel the tension, the sinister spooky aspects and the psychological thriller moments but the way the book was presented, the style, language and structure, was heavily impacted by my dyslexia and my ability to process. It made my enjoyment of the book diminish as I found myself stumbling over bits that shouldn’t have given me issue but somehow did. I find it most frustrating when I encounter a book that I can’t get into because my weaknesses come into play. Especially with a book like this because I can see what others have seen while reading this but it’s like it is behind a wall of impenetrable glass and I am stuck trying to reach it but forever failing. Had I been able to read this without issue, my opinion of it would have been a lot different. To be honest, I’m still confused by it.

If you’ve read this book and enjoyed it, please let me know below

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