Cover Image: Magpie


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Member Reviews

‘Magpie’ is the latest book by Sophie Draper.

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?

A dark and bleak story, ‘Magpie’ follows the story of Claire and Duncan before and after the break down of their marriage as well as the disappearance of their teenage son. Seen from the narrative of both people as they deal with the sudden changes to their lives and repercussions that they embark on. To the outside world, they are a happy couple. Duncan’s vetinary business is thriving and Claire plays the role of the stay at home doting wife, even though she longs more from life. She is miserable in her marriage and makes plans to leave Duncan, but it seems that when she escaped the unhappy marriage, she was still no happier in life, particularly when her son disappears.

There’s an interesting mix of characters from the bullyish Duncan who is abrupt and short with humans, but with animals, he’s kind and gentle. He’s nasty towards Claire and makes her feel worthless and insignificant which is difficult to read at times. Claire, was once a confident and happy woman but now questions everything around her and puts her son’s safety and happiness before hers at all times. Joe is also an complex character, althought not diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, he shows symptoms of the illness particularly his obsession with going out with his metal detector.

At the forefront of the story is the breakdown of a marriage, a son’s disappearance as well as a discovery of secrets and lies that made for interesting reading. The story is written cleverly in past and present tense and this was interesting twist that really pulled the reader in. Atmospheric, suspenseful and filled with drama, ‘Magpie’ was a vividly written story that captivates the reader from the first page.

You can buy ‘Magpie’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.
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I'm always draw to covers with houses on. This is the second book from this author that I have read and she didnt disappoint. Creepy, dark and thrilling
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This book was confusing, repetitive and slow. I couldn't connect with any characters and I struggled to work out what was happening most of the time
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A page turner at start, lagging a bit in the middle, well-thought out ending. 

This book took a bit of brain power to read. It was suspenseful and I kept turning the pages at first. The chapters alternate between "before" Claire and Duncan's son Joe goes missing and "after", and are sometimes told from Claire's POV, sometimes from her husband Duncan's. 

The writing was good, although there was some repetition of obvious facts and the different POV didn't help with this. 

The story dragged a bit in the middle. nothing really happened and I found myself skimming a few chapters. 

The end had a bit of surprise for me, which is good, few books do these days.
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Sorry not for me. In fact I didn’t read the end. This book just lost me fairly early in. I usually get trough books quite quickly but this took me an age to read. I just wasn’t compelled to pick it up to finish it. It jumps about all over the place. It’s confusing particularly towards the end. There’s no real characters to love. I’m sorry, I want to find something to say more positive but no, not recommended.
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I read Cuckoo and found it hard work. I gave Draper another chance with Magpie and again found it hard work. So much so, I gave up. I don't know if it's the characters, the setting, the writing style or a combination of the three but I just cannot engage with her books. A shame because I know a lot of people enjoy them and label them as 'atmospheric' and 'chilling' - two things I love to find in books I read. 
I think I've given up on the author now. Sorry Sophie Draper.
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Book Review: Magpie (The House of Secrets)
Author: Sophie Draper 
Rating: 4/5

Claire feels like she is married to a stranger, Duncan's need to control her and his secret affairs have driven her away, now that their son is 18 Claire feels like she can finally leave Duncan. But now their son, Joe is missing and Claire is struggling to piece together the evens of the night that tore tham all apart.

This story is split between Before & After of Joe's disappearance, told from Claire and Duncan's POV. It's hard to go into my thoughts without giving away too much of the book. This book was so well done, I love we got to see from both Claire & Duncan's perspective, we got to see how ones action could be misinterpreted. Duncan is definitely a problematic character and makes a  questionable choices but as we get further along the book we really got a sense of his character.

The ending to this book was such a blow for me, I Did not see it coming at all and had me feeling a bit emotional. I really had to sit for a few moments and process the ending. This book started as a 3 star read, the ending bumped it up to 4 stars and after some thought & consideration I am giving this book 5 stars and going onto my favourites list of the year.
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Definitely not my favorite, iit left me wanting more. I liked the writing so it was a good reading experience!
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I did end up enjoying this book but it, in my opinion, it just seemed to fall a bit flat. The ending was great and worth getting to but it was slow in parts it felt disconnected and as I was reading I felt like I wanted to rush through to get to the point. The pacing is slightly off which really threw me.
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Not a book a truly enjoyed. I liked the first couple of chapters but then it seemed to go off track and flit between the story of before and after of two characters. I couldnt connect to the characters or even really enjoy the story. Was a little predictable in places and I just didnt get any excitement from it. The ending still had me questioning a few things
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Thanks to Avon Books UK and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy to review. 

This book follows the lives of Claire and Duncan Henderson and their son Joe. Duncan is a successful vet with his own Practice. They live in a bespoke built, impressive house on former farmland, overlooking a valley and a reservoir. 

Each chapter is written from the point of view of Duncan, or Claire and each chapter is either ‘before’ or ‘after’. 

As the book moves on it becomes obvious that the before and after relate to a significant event but it’s not until almost the end that you find out what it is. 

Duncan is very arrogant and has been having a lot of affairs. He doesn’t have a good relationship with his wife or his son. Claire is looking into leaving him but is concerned about her son. 

Some parts of the book I had guessed so they were a wee bit predictable. 

It was easy to read and follow and kept me interested enough to want to find out what was going to happen next. 

The ending was ok but some loose ends weren’t tied up, for me.
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A well written thriller with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader turning the pages.

I couldn’t get involved with the main characters, though, and found it all a bit dull - a good twist though!
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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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