Cover Image: The Nesting

The Nesting

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Member Reviews

After reading other reviews of this book, I expected it to be more frightening, creepy and atmospheric than it actually was. I also expected a reasoned, logical explanation to some of the strange events that happened. Being of somewhat cynical nature, I find myths and legends just that. However, I did enjoy the story and willed Lexi to succeed throughout. I loved the descriptions of the beautiful Norweigan scenery and the bleak, dark winter. I had different ideas of how I expected the story to develop and when it didn’t, maybe that’s why I was a little disappointed. It is definitely worth a read though and as I read it very quickly (for me), that would imply a well written tale.
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I read some reviews before I started this book, and noticed quite a few said how they had been genuinely hooked from the first page. Well, you can add me to that list too. The Nesting is such a gorgeous, intricate novel with a pace and characters that keep you utterly immersed in the story. It isn't often that books which cross genres in this way - psychological suspense with Scandinavian mythology themes - work, but this absolutely does. The Nesting has to be one of my top books for this year, I adored it.
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What an absolutely beautiful read this was.

I truly felt for Lexi the MC of The Nesting. The way she'd been treated in her relationships screams out to remind us of those who suffer with mental health and have no support network. 
The same can be said about Aurelia's internal struggle with depression and either the oblivious attitudes of those closest to her, or perhaps their refusal to accept it. 

Despite Lexi never having met Aurelia, Cooke portrays their potential kinship well making both characters more endearing.
In an odd way although this is a creepy thriller, I thought it uplifting when Lexi became Sophie and found the love of those children.

I wasn't a fan of Tom and I think this is Cooke's intention. He's rather neglectful of his grieving children and for a strict vegan he didn't mind messing with nature to suit his own architectural desires. It's surely hypocritical to refuse your children honey on account of the treatment of bees(!?) yet happily reroute a lake that serves the wildlife. Honestly, I think Cooke gives a clever and sly nod to the virtue signalling that's heavy in society nowadays with Tom's character.

The ending was a surprise for me. I guess not because it was unbelievable but more because I was so wrapped up enjoying the beautiful setting and invested in Lexi/Sophie and the girls that I forgot to untangle the hints along the way! A first for me that's for sure.

There were a few red herrings in The Nesting that seemed to be only for the sake of misdirection and weren't really resolved. One plot line in particular I don't believe added anything to the story at all, but I didnt give it another thought until I sat to write this review so it can't have really bothered me.

My favourite aspect of The Nesting was the atmosphere and Norwegian folklore. I love hearing of different culture's myths and beliefs especially centred in righteous retribution as Cooke has given us here.

This was my first read of C J Cooke and I'll definitely be looking for more.
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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

an interesting tale that is at times hard to read....
but if you like atmospheric books then this is the one for you...
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I LOVED it! Like 5 out of 5 loved it.

I initially picked it up to check the NetGalley eARC was formatted correctly – because I’ve been let down recently – it can’t just be me, right!?!?!

And I didn’t stop reading. I DIDN’T STOP. I was hooked, properly – genuinely hooked from page 1 until the ending. It isn’t often a book grabs my attention quite so hard as The Nesting by C. J. Cooke did. Maybe it was just the right book at the right time, the right genre for my mood but whatever it was I was one happy reader.

Anyway… Check out the synopsis for yourselves.

Book Blurb:

It was like something out of a fairytale…


The grieving widower.
The motherless daughters.
A beautiful house in the woods.
And a nanny come to save the day.

So what if Lexi isn’t telling the truth about who she is? Escaping to the remote snows of Norway was her lifeline. And all she wanted was to be a part of their lives.

But soon, isolated in that cold, creaking house in the middle of ancient, whispering woods, Lexi’s fairytale starts to turn into a nightmare.

With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi’s fears are deepening. Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care.

But protect them from what?

Sounds good, right!?!

And that cover! GORGEOUS! Stunning. And ALL the positive words. It might be my favourite cover art of 2020. I would definitely be rushing across the bookstore to pick up that beauty.

The writing was great, the descriptions were creepy, lush and made me want to visit Norway. I read in the acknowledgements that the author went on a research trip and her love of the beautiful Norwegian wilderness SHONE through her writing. I read this during #lockdown and it was the breath of cold chilling air that I needed to distract me from some of the everyday humdrum of Covid-19.

As I said the writing was good, the descriptions were lush but C. J. Cooke also nailed the pacing. It ebbed and flowed in such a manner that I couldn’t look away. There was a sense of urgency and fear that permeated some pages while other chapters had a slow burn of character development and set up. It WORKED. And worked so well.

The book wasn’t perfect – the ending was maybe a bit too neat for my liking and a few elements of the story were left open-ended – I think it is allowed in the genre thou and I don’t always need an explanation for CREEPY. But the ending didn’t quite hit the heights of the rest of the novel – I still LOVED it thou. I finished wanting to talk about the book, share the book and write my review – all the signs I needed to give it 5 out of 5.

Chilling. Gothic. And some very creepy fairy tales. The Nesting had EVERYTHING I wanted and more.

I received a copy of The Nesting by C. J. Cooke for review from the publisher, via NetGalley – Thank you! Thank you very much.
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A very atmospheric gothic like read.   Set in Norway,  a country I have visited it was easy for me to imagine the setting and scenery.   Would recommend to others.  Will look out for other titles by this author
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I loved this Norwegian mythology themed book. It was a page turned and also quite spooky at time. The description of the creature was something else and it had the hairs on the back of my neck standing to attention. The story moves between then and now and it really did keep me guessing as to the true nature of how things really happened.

We begin the story with Aurelia, wife and mother, who dies jumping off a cliff, but there is mystery surrounding her death the whole way through the story and as a reader, I did find myself wondering what really happened to her. 

Then we meet Lexi our main character who is homeless and deeply depressed. She overhears a conversation on a train and in a desperate bid to salvage some sort of live she takes on the persona of Sophie a Nanny and applies for the job Sophie was going to turn down. Lexi becomes the Nanny to Gaia (age 6) and Coco (9 months old) and travels to Norway with them and their father where he is building a new home. His wife Aurelia died 4 months previous.

Without giving too much of the story away, readers should be ready for a gripping tale that will have you wondering what is real and what's not. This is a very atmospheric story and the forest and cliff come to life on the page as does the sad lady that seems to haunt them all. As the story progresses we learn more about the torment Aurelia faced in the months leading up to her death and the plot thickens when Sophie (Lexi) finds Aurelia's diary. 

If you are looking for a fast pace, mystery that will send shivers down your spine, and you love old folklore and mythology, you will love C.J, Cooke's The Nesting.
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Thank you so much for allowing me to read an early copy of this book. This is a thrilling atmospheric read. The author created not only the sense of place extremely well but also the sense of tension. I certainly will be recommending this to the library readers in the monthly books to read newsletter.
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The description of this latest thriller from C J Cooke, as a blend of Gothic and noir with a touch of supernatural had me keen to read it. I wasn't disappointed. I was gripped from the start when Lexi, homeless and nearly suicidal inhabits a new identity, Sophie and applies for Sophie's job as nanny to a widower architect living in Norway. Naturally she gets the job and moves out to the icy back of beyond with no Costa, Pret or local corner shop for miles and miles, just creepy forests, water spirits, a building site, two motherless children and a possible ghost haunting the house along with a housekeeper with her own secrets, and two best friends who semi live there and have their own marital problems.
The isolated, freezing, claustrophobic setting adds layers to this story as Lexi reborn as Sophie, struggles to learn how to nanny, how to heal herself, and to solve the mysteries enwrapping this tragic family. The eldest daughter, six-year-old Gaia is a joy, great fun to read about and the setting is beautifully evoked as well as the erection of 'Aurelia's Nest' the eco super green new house clinging to the cliff.
This is a suspenseful, non-stop thriller with that touch of the ghostly, so you're never quite sure who is haunting you, with a foot in the past, - every two or three chapters we go back to the year before when Aurelia was still alive and how she was coping living in the weird woods.
I found the ending a little rushed and a bit too keen to 'tidy up' the threads. That was the only bit that disappointed.
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I absolutely loved this book and despite her deception I couldn’t help but warm thoroughly to Lexi, if anyone deserved a break, she did. 
The characters were well written and each had their own individuality.
The Norwegian setting was perfect, eerie, spooky but breathtaking all the same and the hints at Norse folktales was intriguing.
Full of plot twists and well paced, I would definitely recommend this book.
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I really couldn't make up my mind about how much I liked this book.  Parts of it were really good and other parts were a bit too far-fetched for me.  Still an enjoyable book
A different story line for me to read and on the plus side i did find myself getting involved with the characters. You are never quite certain what exactly happened to Aurelia and one or two clever sections make you even more doubtful
A very good read nevertheless
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Firstly I would like to thank the publisher, author and Netgalley for my free ARC.

This is an incredibly thrilling story – atmospheric, compelling, intriguing and vividly scary. I haven’t read anything like this in a long time. It is laden with Nordic folklore, the power of nature and the inescapable compulsion of mind over body.

Lexi is struggling with her life. She hits rock bottom when she steals the identity of an unfortunate random girl on a train to apply for a job which she is then offered. Life now has potential and opportunities. Soon she is on a first class flight to Norway to a home with views of forests and a fjord. Events that follow require Lexi to dig deep, to find hidden resilience, to use the power of her mind over body in a good way. She discovers her strength, her resolve, and ultimately her people.

Themes: relationships, betrayal, deceit, foster care, suicide, folklore, abandonment, parenting, love, trust

I can’t recommend this book enough, but probably a good idea to keep the lights on! I have pre-ordered my hard copy for the book design and to read again!
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This book is the perfect blend of suspense, mystery and folklore. 

Lexi has just attempted suicide and soon finds herself homeless after breaking up with her long term partner. By chance, she overhears details of a nannying job in Norway and decides that it would be the perfect fresh start for her - the only problem is she doesn’t have any experience! Lexi ends up stealing the identity of someone much more qualified and finds herself in Norway as the nanny to two young girls who have recently lost their mother in suspicious circumstances. From there the plot unravels as the truth is slowly revealed along with a touch of the supernatural. 

The Nordic setting is incredibly atmospheric and really a character in its own right. The remoteness and drama of the surroundings described really raised the stakes and drew me into the story. Several Norwegian style fairytales are inserted into the narrative, this was a nice touch but I did find the ones used a little bland and rather jarring next to the rest of the book. They weren’t long though so I was able to quickly move onto the main narrative. 

The suspense comes in the form of a number of threats, both physical and supernatural. This worked very well together as they amplified each other. I liked that the supernatural elements weren’t too heavy handed either, there was just enough to make you ask questions but it wasn’t relied upon to drive the book. 

The conclusion was also very satisfying with a big showdown and most loose ends being tied up. There were a few plot holes but I was happy enough to overlook these. I’d also say the book could have been a bit shorter to really pull it all together and ramp up the suspense but again this didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book too much.  

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I really loved this book, it was a wonderful mix of folklore and mystery.  Great characters and a wonderful - if slightly creepy - location.  Your imagination ran wild at the house locations and the lovely snowy weather.
A beautifully written book and one I will remember for a long time.  Thank you
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The nesting is a great thriller and it very chilling.

This book is dark creepy and twisted and has many twists and turns it will have you turning the pages to see what is going happen next it is a gripping read and will have you on the edge of your seat with so many answers to be answered and by the end you will have them all. This is my first book by this author and will not be my last. this book is very well written it really is a creepy read.
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Dark and mysterious.
Fear of evil spirits and animals from Nordic folklore and superstition fill this tale.  Who is the sad lady that haunts the house? Why do they see her and does she mean them harm? Is there more to Aurelia’s death? So many questions arise from this story of suspense that you will want to embark on the journey to discover what really happened that night.  If you’re of a nervous disposition, read it in the daylight but do read it. Fabulous book.
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The Nesting was an absolute delight to read. The remote Norwegian setting was perfect for creating a sense of isolation, linking the moods of the characters with the harsh and beautiful landscape. It is not surprising that the people living here are suffering from obsession, depression and anxiety; the forest seems to impose itself on them even as they attempt to change their surroundings by diverting the river and cutting down ancient trees. I loved how the myth of the Nokk was interwoven into this eerieness, from the stories read to the children, Gaia and Coco, to the mysterious hoof marks on the the floor and the dreams / visions that haunted them all.. 
Everyone here is lying and fixated on their own isolation; from Lexi who steals a nanny’s identity to escape her past, the housekeeper Maren who abandons her career as an artist to look after Aurelia, the suicidal mother of Gaia and Coco, Tom who is obsessed with building his wife an eco-house and their friend / business partner Clive and his wife Derry.  At times you feel repelled by these characters, but the need to know how Aurelia dies drives you on. The sense of strangeness is perpetuated throughout the story, the feeling that tragedy lurks around every corner as each bad decision is highlighted in the 'then' and 'now' chapters. This swinging from one time frame to another could jar, but here it just adds to the overall sense of disembodiment, a sense of releasing the known and entering the world of myth and legend, a sense of things not being real but still happening. Loved it!
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My thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book ahead of publication. It is currently due for release in the UK on 15th October.

Content warning - contains one scene and many references to suicide and mental health issues. 

Lexi is recovering from a suicide attempt and breaks up with her boyfriend and has an awful relationship with her mother. She finds herself on a train, homeless and overhears a woman taking about a job opportunity in Norway, which she decides not to take. Lexi is writing a novel set in Norway so she decides to submit an application using the woman's details. She gets the job as nanny to Gaia and Coco, two girls who have lost their own mother. When she gets to the new home, she starts experiencing odd sights and wonders more and more what happened to Aurelia, the girls' mother. 

The novel switches viewpoints from Lexi/Sophie and Aurelia, each having their own difficulties in the harsh location. The home being built its in the middle of nowhere and becomes a support character of its own, along with the landscape it's set in. For me, this aspect was quite intriguing and not only does it work well, it's integral to the plot. The story is as much about place as it is about people and, if anything, it features more than the characters manipulating it. 

As far as the characters go, Lexi and the girls are very close, very quickly and they are clearly helping each other. Lexi's descriptions of her mental health early on, and then later about her mother may make some readers uncomfortable but they are handled nicely and I found them informative and well written so they are realistic and understandable. Lexi takes a new dimension because of it. Aurelia's chapters are interesting as well because you're looking for clues as to why she committed suicide or worrying about her, knowing she'll soon be gone.

The other characters weren't quite as fleshed out, however. None were entirely flat by any means but with the others being so vivid, them being given less attention slightly hurts the book for me. Tom,  Aurelia's husband,  is an odd example; I couldn't decide whether I liked him or not and I wasn't sure if that was supposed to be the opinion of him. The other people living in the house are there and they have their roles but I wasn't overly invested in them. 

The whole story does have an unsettling, creepy feel that doesn't quite step into horror territory, instead just knocking on the door. Personally I liked this balance and hint if the macabre over outright scares, although I don't doubt if it was ever adapted for screen, this would be made more prominent. The atmosphere would be The Haunting rather than The Conjuring. 

It's a decent, slightly unsettling book with an engaging plot.  A great read while curled up on a cold autumn night. 

This review will be posted on my blog on 9th October.
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Not for me unfortunately. A rather muddled and overlong read.

Its the story of Lexi, who we are introduced to at the start. In her late 20s, severely depressed and having just survived a suicide attempt, the opening part of the book is narrated by her as her life slowly falls apart as her boyfriend leaves her, she finds herself homeless with no money.

Finding her boyfriends rail ticket, she hops on the first train she can find. She is still riddled with depression, her sanity and her life on a knife edge. On the train journey she overhears two women talking. One of them a nanny, tells her friend she has applied for a job in Norway for a few months to look after a widowers two children. Her friend tells her that she is pregnant and she cant leave her on her own so she decides to stay!
The two women head off to the get something to eat and ask Lexi to keep an eye on their stuff.
She steals a look at the laptop and finds the womans CV and job application which she takes photos of and decides its a good escape for her, she will pretend to be this woman and go for the interview.(this feels so far fetched as I type it and an extremely clunky bit of plotting)

So obviously Lexi gets the job and heads off to Norway to look after two young children, despite having no experience whatsoever, having submitted the glowing CV. Apparently she is able to wing it and learn from YouTube how to do the job. This is the woman that not a chapter or two ago had a failed suicide attempt and couldnt look after herself, never mind to young children in another country!

What entails is the story of the father determination to build a house he had started before his wife had committed suicide, Lexis life looking after the kids and trying to find out about said late wife, some Norwegian folk lore involving spirits of Fjords and nature and not to mess with it and well.. a rather meandering, dare I say it uninteresting read(a bit like this review perhaps!)

No real likeable characters here, all a bit wooden. The story does really drag and the Lexi we are introduced to is not the Lexi we find in Norway. Its all a bit preposterous. I get that the author was trying to build an air of tension and atmosphere in the Norwegian countryside but for me it fell flat on its face. At least 100 pages too long, even the ending annoyed me.

Many thanks to Netgalley, HarperCollins UK and C.J. Cooke for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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CJ Cooke writes a hauntingly atmospheric novel with gothic overtones set amidst Norway's magnificent ancient forests and fjords, a location that serves as a central character in itself. The fragile and vulnerable Lexi Ellis is not in a good place, with a broken relationship behind her, she is suicidal, depressed and virtually homeless. Her desperation leads her to take on the identity and CV of another woman, Sophie Hallerton, for the purpose of securing the post of a nanny after she overhears a conversation. This has her travelling to a remote part of Norway to look after two lovely young children, Gaia and Coco, their mother, Aurelia, recently dead in mysterious circumstances, assumed to have committed suicide.

The widowed and grieving father is a well known architect, Tom, intent on constructing a home in the cliffs, like a nest encroaching on the environment, a dream of his and his late wife, Aurelia, a project that continuously runs into trouble, a previous house by the river was destroyed. His business partner, Clive, is married to Derry, and the odd housekeeper, Maren, was completely devoted to Aurelia. In the face of a series of strange events, and the 'sad lady', Lexi as Sophie is determined to do everything she can to protect the children. The chilling narrative shifts from the past with Aurelia and the present with Lexi, making the most of the stunning location, with local history, culture, the folklore and superstitions infused adroitly into the story.

Cooke's dark, spooky, twisted and ghostly novel provides the perfect reading material with the approaching Autumn and its shorter days, particularly with its elements of the supernatural. It positively drips with atmosphere, hinting of the darkest of fairytales, a diary, and of the breaking the laws of nature. The writing is vibrant and compulsive, with a growing sense of dread pervading the pages, touching on issues of mental health, grief, nature and the environment. A great read and wonderfully plotted Scand-thriller. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
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