Cover Image: Magpie


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Member Reviews

Basically, an unhappy marriage - Duncan (vet), Claire (wife) and Joe (teenage son).  Sorry but can’t agree with the “creepy, chilly, heart rending” descriptions at all.  It was more like a domestic drama, going backwards and forwards from Duncan and Claire’s point of view, who incidentally were quite horrible people and there was nothing about them to like.  The story moved along at a snail’s pace from start to finish and I struggled even to pick it up.  The cover was good and so were the Derbyshire landscape descriptions, until there began to be too many, so I skim read.  A shame as I’d really expected to love this book but knew after the first couple of chapters that I wouldn’t.
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Magpie was one of those books that I sat down with, thinking I would read a few chapters and get a sense of the book and then pick it up again the next day. And then a few hours later, I was 80% into the novel - and couldn't put it down until I reached the last page. 

The book follows Claire, who has been secretly planning to leave her husband Duncan once their son Joe turns 18. But as she uncovers Duncan's secret life, there are consequences Claire never planned for: now, Joe's missing - and she's struggling to remember what really happened the night it all started to go wrong. 

A dark, atmospheric suspense novel, Magpie *is* a bit of a slow-burner - but once the twists and turns start to unravel, and the reader starts to discover the family's secrets, it's hard not to be hooked.
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Claire is an unhappy wife and mother. Claire and her husband Duncan recently moved to a beautiful house near the water. Her son has a few issues and soon goes missing and thwarts her plan to leave her husband. The story is told in alternating chapters from "before" and "after" from Claire and Duncan and at times it was a little confusing as to what time we in. The story is based on lies and distrust and a failing marriage. Sadly, I just never really like the characters and it took so long for me to figure out what was really going on with all the back and forth in timelines. The story didn't make a sense to me as I reading but when I reached the end it did all come together.
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An average mystery thriller lacking pace or a likeable protagonist. 

Claire seems to live an ideal life, in a beautiful house overlooking a river with her husband, veterinary surgeon Duncan, and their eighteen-year-old son Joe. Under the surface however, things are not so perfect. Claire has discovered a secret about her husband and is waiting for the first chance she gets to take Joe and to leave him. Then disaster strikes, and suddenly Claire’s son is missing, with Claire struggling to understand the events of the night that tore her family apart. 

This was unfortunately quite a slow-paced and repetitive book that I struggled to get through. Whilst the author did a solid job creating the bleak, depressing atmosphere of the dark, rainy countryside, the problem is exactly that – the setting is gloomy, uninspiring and not somewhere I particularly wanted to read about. The ‘before’ and ‘after’ narrative was clever and the difference in POV was evident in the subtle changes in the writing, but I found it quite confusing and difficult to follow at times. Additionally, the twists, whilst present, were not enough to lift the energy of this rather lifeless tale and the ending, whilst unexpected, was both extremely depressing and felt like a bit of a cop out. 

My main issue with this book is that I genuinely just did not like any of the characters. I found Claire to be miserable and tiresome, and the sort of person who ruminates about her problems but doesn’t act on any of them. For someone who is supposedly quite intelligent (she trained to be a vet alongside her husband before leaving work to be a full-time mother), she came across as quite useless and self-pitying. The trauma that occurred in her past (on which the book blames a lot of her current state) didn’t really seem to me to be enough of a reason for her to be so incapable at coping with life, and the way that her and her husband dealt with it was bizarre and obviously unhealthy. I spent most of the book reading Claire’s first-person lamentations and wishing she would actually do something about her issues. Her son Joe, although potentially supposed to have some sort of mental health issues or ASD (although this is not explicitly stated), came across as selfish, moody, obsessive and disrespectful, even for an eighteen-year-old. Claire overindulges him and lets him get away with an incredible number of unacceptable behaviours, which makes her come across as a pushover and him come across as incredibly spoiled and ungrateful. Meanwhile Duncan was a one-dimensional angry man, who didn’t just lack redeeming qualities but lacked any personality at all, other than being insensitive and treating his family badly. Overall, although the story itself was well written, I didn’t feel invested in it because I didn’t particularly care about any of its main players. 

In conclusion, I, sadly, did not enjoy this book much at all. Whilst the writing is good and the twist was clever and unexpected, it wasn’t enough to save the novel from unlikeable characters and a slow, repetitive plot. 


Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of this book to review.
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I couldn’t get into  the grove of the story. I kept stopping and putting it down. Such a struggle to read. 

First time I’ve read a book by this author.  It’s told in the perspective of both Duncan and Claire, which is fine but jumping back and forth  from before and after was tedious.
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Claire and Duncan's marriage is played out throughout this story, by looking at the past and present through each of their lives. I was intrigued from very early on, as it is a very mysterious story, and seems to jump between time or people as soon as things get exciting! A lot of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Creepy, atmospheric and at times a little scary (although I am a wimp)  Great book and I will definitely be reading more by this author.
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I want to start off by saying thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book, it was a very good read easy to follow along with storyline and characters. This was a new author for me but I very much enjoyed it, thank you for the opportunity and I look forward to reading more by this author again. I highly recommend this book to everybody.
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This was my first book by the author and unfortunately I was not really impressed. I found it hard to get into the story as it was super slow and while I enjoy a good slow burner, this was even dragging at points. Still I appreciated the idea the behind the book!

Thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for the eBook!
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I really enjoyed  Sophie Draper’s novel Cuckoo, so I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately I found the prose difficult to get into and struggled to click with the storyline - whilst I like a slow burner novel usually this was just too slow and it felt inaccessible. A real shame.
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This book was so well written and interesting from beginning to end. I loved the story as well as the characters and can’t wait to read more by Sophie Draper.
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Claire and Duncan's marriage is on the  rocks, and the bitterness and anger carries over into resentment. I did enjoy this dark drama, and liked the back and forth between the minds of the characters. Gives a much broader view of reasons and past events that cause their downfall. A sad yet good story, and one I recommend.
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The story is about a small family of 3. The dad, Duncan, is a vet who specializes in special cases and has a great love for animals. The mom, Clare, is a stay at home mom who is fed up with her husband and his affairs. The son, Joe, is an 18 year old who still lives at home, has no job and spends his days with his metal detector. When Joe goes missing Clare is obviously a nervous wreck about where he is and what has happened to her only child. Clare and Duncan are also trying to piece together when their marriage took a turn for the worse. 

 This story is set "before" and "after" something... the author doesn't really say what event happens. We think we know, but in the end it is something totally different. The whole book is told from Clare and Duncan's perspective and it flip flops between the before and after. So it can get a bit confusing at times. At first this book was a little hard to get into, I didn't really get into it until I was about 75% of the way done.
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This is the first book I have read by this author and I have to admit it was not my favorite read. I found myself having to read it little by little versus taking it in all at once. At times I felt a little confused.
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Claire and Duncan’s marriage is falling apart and she is finding the courage to leave with her son Joe, but what will be the consequences of her actions? 

After having enjoyed Cuckoo by Sophie Draper before (check out my 5* review here: I was excited to get the chance to read Magpie. Perhaps the build up of expectation ultimately let the book down for me but I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. The book is extremely slow from the start; you get the story from two perspectives – Duncan and Claire and the chapters also jump timelines to before and after a major incident in the plot. This did lead to confusion of getting the timelines straight but also there are a lot of chapters that don’t really add anything to the plot and I felt they could have been really easy cut to make it a pacier, more enjoyable read.

The end twist did surprise me although brought up quite a few more questions than it answered in some regards which are not resolved in the rest of the book. I also didn’t really feel much for either of the characters or even Joe – in fact, I hated Duncan with a passion so I didn’t really get too invested in the plot as a whole. There also seemed to be quite a few sentences and phrases repeated which got a bit jarring as well, particularly when as a reader you are crying out for the pace to increase and for something interesting to happen.

Overall Magpie is a slow read and one that would have benefitted from being a lot pacier. Thank you to NetGalley & Avons Books UK for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Claire and Duncan have the perfect house and from the outside the perfect marriage. Their 18 year old son struggles with life and in his own little world oblivious to his parents wants for him. Claire is set to leave Duncan but something happens and Joe goes missing.

Set with a before and after timeline and from Duncan and Claire’s pov this was a decent read saved by the ending! 

Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
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I enjoyed 'Cuckoo', the author's previous book and was looking forward to this, sadly I found it rather disappointing. Whilst it was extremely atmospheric with a conclusion that I really wasn't expecting, I found the jumping around in timeline confusing at times.  It was very much a slow burner of a story with a narrative that tended to be rather repetitive.  This one didn't entirely work for me but it has got some good reviews from others. 
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Loved her previous book Cuckoo and so was excited to get my hands on this one, I thought the story drew you in slowly but surely and it was a great read, but I preferred her first novel. It was a great book in all that did have me guessing and I liked the storyline and characters too, I just prefer my novels a bit faster that’s all. Great book though 😊
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I had requested this as had seen others review her first book and thought this would be as good. Sadly it wasn’t. I even had to stop the book and read something else and come back to it later on which I rarely do.
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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?

This is the second book by author Sophie Draper following on from her debut thriller Cuckoo.  Claire lives with her husband Duncan, their son Joe and dog Arthur in a beautiful home in Derbyshire.  However looks can be deceiving and Claire's relationship with her husband is not what it appears to be.  Duncan is having an affair (and not the first one by all accounts) and Claire is determined to leave him this time.  But leaving a marriage is never easy as Claire is about to find out, with devastating consequences; if only she can remember what they are.

Magpie is told from the perspectives of both Duncan and Claire in a before-and-after format.  This always works well as you get both sides of a story which always makes a novel feel more well-rounded in my opinion.  On the surface Claire has everything she could wish for, except that in reality, she doesn't.  Son Joe has become obsessed with metal detecting and trying to find ancient hidden treasure on the hills of Derbyshire, a risky business for a teenager when so many professionals are on the scene too, as Joe is about to discover. Despite their differences Duncan and Claire share a secret, one that they are determined to hide, but when a body is found on their land, it seems that as always the truth will out in the end.

Sophie Draper's book is full of twists and turns and examines the destruction of not only a relationship but that of a family too.  Look out for the twist at the end - I certainly didn't see it coming! If you have a kindle, at the time of going to press, Magpie is currently only 99p.
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I loved "Cuckoo" by Sophie Draper so I was eagerly awaiting her next. However, I was somewhat disappointed. It was nothing like her previous one and I found it to be painfully slow. To the point of glacial. I wanted to enjoy it but I couldn't really find anything about it to enjoy.

Claire, Duncan and their teenage son Joe live in a beautiful hilltop house referred to as "The Barn". The setting was atmospheric, almost isolated, lending itself to a creepy sense of dread. But life is not as idyllic as it may seem. Claire has been secretly planning to leave Duncan, who has had a "secret" life of his own for years, when their son turns 18. It is clear neither of them have been happy in their marriage for a long time.

Duncan is a vet with a local practice in the village and Claire suspects his attentions has been on one of the many female employees. She just isn't sure who. Still, when Duncan is home he's absent emotionally and when he's not there, who knows where he is.

Joe is their 18 year old son, and while he hasn't been diagnosed, I strongly suspected he was "on the spectrum" with some form of ASD. He was a loner, fiercely focussed and obsessive in his interests - in this case, metal detecting - and very rarely spoke. He screamed ASD to me. So naturally he came with specific needs which of course added extra pressure to the boiler that was Claire's marriage, ready to explode at any moment. 

When Joe goes missing, Claire is frantic with worry where he could be. She has constant nightmares in which she searches for her son, waking in sweats imagining the horrors that could have befallen him. Then as the story progresses to six weeks after he went missing, secrets slowly begin to surface in an attempt to keep the tension palpable.

Told in the past and present timelines titled BEFORE and AFTER, the story unfolds through Claire and Duncan's narratives. Normally I can follow this type of format, but this one I found confusing. We go forward, then six weeks back, then forward again, then six weeks back again...back and forwards constantly that I found myself dizzy and wondering which timeline I was actually in. Claire's AFTER narrative I found to be very confusing. There were times I wondered what she was talking about, alone in her dilapidated cottage she left Duncan for, hoping Joe would return.

And then when I got to the kind of made sense in a clever kind of way. However way we got there, the journey was too confusing, but when we did it was somewhat clever. But for me, it was a far too tedious journey to get there.

I have no idea why the book was called MAGPIE, though I'm sure someone may enlighten me, and in the end I really had no idea what the book was actually about. I couldn't find one redeeming quality about any of the characters. The fact that Duncan was a vet should have been a redeeming feature but he was morose and irritating and I didn't much like him at all. In fact, for a vet, I found his attitude to be rather impatient when it came to his customer's pets. Not at all like the vets I know. Both Claire and Duncan were positively depressing, as was Joe, with everyone always seemingly complaining which made MAGPIE a rather depressing read. 

MAGPIE, for me, was very repetitive and tediously slow. I felt sad upon reflection as I really enjoyed "Cuckoo" and wanted so much to enjoy this one also.

I would like to thank #SophieDraper, #NetGalley and #Avon for an ARC of #Magpie in exchange for an honest review.
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