Magpie – Elizabeth Day

Published By: 4th Estate
Pages: 256
Released On: 02/09/2021

She has almost everything. The rest she’ll take.

Marisa may have only known Jake a few months, but she has never felt this certain about anyone. When he asks her to move in with him and they start trying for a baby, she knows she has finally found the steadfast love and support she has been looking for all her life. But their relationship is tested when they take in a lodger, Kate, who has little regard for personal boundaries and seems to take an uncomfortable interest in Jake – as well as the baby they are hoping to have.

Why is Kate so obsessed with the couple? And, more worryingly, why doesn’t Jake share Marissa’s concern? In her determination to find the answers, Marisa risks losing everything she holds dear.

*****

*Contains Spoilers*

The reviews I’d read prior to reading this all said this was unputdownable (yes this is a word). I admit, it did take me a few weeks to get through it, but that wasn’t because of anything negative with the book. I just didn’t want to finish it because I was enjoying it so much.

Whilst I thought the whole thing was really good, I was definitely enjoying it more and more as it went on. Elizabeth Day has managed to weave two conflicting storylines perfectly that makes you question what everyone is saying – who is telling the truth? There are surprising twists and turns all over the place so you never feel completely comfortable with what you’re reading.

It is a very clever, intense, psychological story. I’m always a bit wary of using mental health as a plot point as I feel those with mental health illnesses are nearly always portrayed as the villain or the “nutter”, but I feel Elizabeth pitched it perfectly for this story. It showed the ups and downs and flaws and positives (believe me, there are some positives) of mental health. She is also very clever about what is mental “health” and what is mental “illness”? I find the scariest bits about mental illness, in fiction and in real life, are the symptoms that aren’t in-your-face illness symptoms; it’s the little, unnerving things that set you on edge.

If there’s any negative, I’d say the conclusion was a bit too neatly wrapped up. After all the action and stress and fear in about 90% of the book, it suddenly wraps up all nice and neatly in the space of a few pages. It didn’t ruin the book or anything for me, and wouldn’t put me off recommending it for other people, but it did jump out a bit at me as unusual for the rest of the book.

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