Author : Lucy Atkins
Title : Magpie Lane
Pages : 368
Publisher : Quercus
Publication date : April 2, 2020
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
When the eight-year-old daughter of an Oxford College Master vanishes in the middle of the night, police turn to the Scottish nanny, Dee, for answers.
As Dee looks back over her time in the Master’s Lodging – an eerie and ancient house – a picture of a high achieving but dysfunctional family emerges: Nick, the fiercely intelligent and powerful father; his beautiful Danish wife Mariah, pregnant with their child; and the lost little girl, Felicity, almost mute, seeing ghosts, grieving her dead mother.
But is Dee telling the whole story? Is her growing friendship with the eccentric house historian, Linklater, any cause for concern? And most of all, why was Felicity silent?
| MY THOUGHTS |
It takes a special kind of book to hold my attention these days but Magpie Lane managed it effortlessly. This novel had me hook, line and sinker from the very first page.
Dee works as a nanny for an Oxford College Master and his family. But when eight year old Felicity disappears from her home in the middle of the night, Dee suddenly finds herself facing the police during a series of interviews. As Dee answers the detective’s questions, we discover what went on during her time working in the Master’s Lodging for a seemingly hugely dysfunctional family comprised of Nick, the powerful father; his wife Mariah, a Danish beauty who is pregnant; and Felicity, a lost and selectively mute little girl who’s grieving the death of her mother.
There are quite a few questions that need answers in this story. For starters, is Dee a reliable narrator or not? Is she telling the police the whole story? If not, what is she holding back and why? Why does Felicity not talk? Are there really ghosts up in the attic? And what’s up with eccentric house historian Linklater?
Magpie Lane is a brilliantly plotted character-driven psychological thriller that had me entirely captivated from start to finish. Even though I couldn’t quite warm to Dee, I hung on her every word. To be fair, not many of the characters are particularly likeable in this story, except for little Felicity, who just broke my heart, and the absolutely delightful Linklater. Nevertheless all the characters felt realistic and believable to me. To the point where I often found myself getting pretty angry at the way they behaved. I’m looking at you, Nick and Mariah.
Set in Oxford, this brilliantly atmospheric story is immensely addictive. Once I started reading I just couldn’t stop, desperate to know what had happened to Felicity. Magpie Lane has a little bit of everything. It often feels quite claustrophobic, in the police station and at the Lodging. There’s a bit of a creepy vibe going at times, a fabulous gothic feel. It’s sad, it’s a twisted tale, it’s tense and full of suspense. Most of all, it’s amazingly well written, it flows seamlessly and beautifully between past and present events, all the while leading to an unforgettable ending that I just had to read twice.
Why yes, you will undoubtedly see this book again near the end of the year when I compile my list of “books of the year”. I absolutely loved it!