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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet, painful and finely-drawn
This poignant subtle story is told chiefly from the points of view of two women recalling an incident in their girlhood from which neither of them ever recovered. The drowning of their schoolmate Rose has shaped both lives - but the cleverness of this book is that you don't know really where you are with them until quite far in, when the hint of a huge twist keeps you...
Published on 6 Sep 2011 by Poppy Hall

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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love Marika Cobbold's writing, but I have certain reservations about the plot of this novel...
Oh dear, what can I say? I do love Marika Cobbold's writing, especially 'Frozen Music' and 'Guppies for Tea' (the two that I've read more than once, and would happily re-read again!), and I've read all of her work. But I can't give this book five stars, not if I'm giving honest rather sycophantic feedback. There was so much that I did enjoy about this novel, especially...
Published on 1 Oct 2011 by Goth lady


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bittersweet, painful and finely-drawn, 6 Sep 2011
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
This poignant subtle story is told chiefly from the points of view of two women recalling an incident in their girlhood from which neither of them ever recovered. The drowning of their schoolmate Rose has shaped both lives - but the cleverness of this book is that you don't know really where you are with them until quite far in, when the hint of a huge twist keeps you turning the pages at speed.
Eliza's job as a ceramic restorer serves as a beautiful metaphor for the fragility of life, and the impossibility of perfect recovery: everything, once broken, remains damaged within, no matter how carefully the flaw is hidden. The story is deftly told, with convincing dialogue, and Eliza's relationship with the dead girl's father is drawn with great subtlety and compassion. This is a great read - especially for someone who has felt regret about the past, and opportunities missed. Rose's father says at one point to the guilt-racked Eliza, "be a candle, not a black hole."
This book is a candle, and I feel the better for having read it.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite... I think, 17 Aug 2011
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
I have read all of Marika Cobbold's books and think this has to be one of my favourites. Unlike one of the other reviewers I really loved Aphrodite's Workshop (MC is a really funny writer and in Aphrodite she lets her sense of humour run riot!) however Drowning Rose, whilst still full of very witty, funny thoughts and scenes (Archie the doom filled neighbour is just brilliant!), is a rather melancholy and dark book (rather like Shooting Butterflies). It was gripping and page turning. Her books are always beautifully easy to read (I mean that as a compliment, she writes without pretension) and yet complex, cleverly constructed and full of hilarious and sometimes very sad insights. I was really interested by the descriptions of Eliza's work and behind the scenes at the V&A (one of my favourite museums) and loved the scenes from Eliza and the fabulously awful and tragic Cassandra's youth at boarding school. She was spot on about boarding school life but also the hell (and bliss!) that is being a teenager. Her ability to completely inhabit her characters, however different, is something that Marika Cobbold is excellent at. As always she excels at children and the elderly, as an author she really seems to understand the outsider (a bit like Anne Tyler, though sometimes Anne Tyler's outsiders are too outside!) which is what makes her books so special. Anyway this is a beautiful and richly written novel. Gorgeous cover by the way!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Story, 3 Sep 2011
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Joanna Cannon (Ashbourne, Derbyshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Kindle Edition)
This is the most exquisitely written story about fate, friendship and restoration. The balance between humour and poignancy is just perfect and I was pulled into each chapter by such well drawn characters, I could see and hear them from the very beginning. Ms Cobbold's description of an adolescent longing to fit in is painfully beautiful. A truly wonderful read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a beautifully wrapped box of chocolates ~ hugely satisfying., 29 Oct 2011
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Sheryl S. Brown (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
Drowning Rose I first read Marika Cobbold a while back when a publisher recommended her to me. I had yet to care for someone with dementia. When I had come through that life experience, `Guppies for Tea' became all the more poignant for me. Simply, Marika Cobbold writes real people, beautifully, and always balanced with just the right amount of humour. People you can identify with and recognise your own strengths and weaknesses through. I always feel as if I'm settling down with a huge box of chocolates when I pick up one of MC's books. But unlike Forrest Gump's Momma, I do know what I'm going to get: a hugely satisfying read. I wasn't disappointed when I read Drowning Rose - in one sitting. I was delighted by the switch of point of view from (present) forty-one year old Eliza, to Eliza at sixteen, the story narrated then by new girl to the school, Sandra/Cassandra, who is desperate to be seen as one of the inner circle of a group of more-privileged peers. A rather unique twist in the telling, then, and not easy to do, but Marika Cobbold pulled it off without a hitch. I'd rather not throw in spoilers - the book has to be read, so I'll just say that the story looks at the cracks beneath the veneer (Eliza's job as a ceramic restorer being a perfect metaphor). It examines how a traumatic event can shape one's future, the tragedy, which is the drowning of Rose, rippling out to touch and transform the lives of all those who loved and lost her. It looks at guilt, at grief, the burdens we carry and the impact on future relationships. It looks at `what ifs' and whys. I loved it, truly. Anyone aspiring to write should read it. Anyone who loves reading - you are in for a real treat!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky and brilliant, 15 Aug 2011
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P. Ashley "aka trisha ashley" (Conwy United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
I hadn't got time to read this book, I was saving as a treat. I only picked it up yesterday evening to glance at the first few lines... Then of course I was hooked and couldn't put it down, staying up late into the night to finish it. Another quirkily brilliant read from Marika - all her books are very different, but all witty, poignant and funny - and this one didn't disappoint. Memorable characters, admirable scene-setting and atmosphere..wonderful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, 6 April 2012
By 
Carol 'avid little bookworm' (LEEDS, Yorkshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
Oh I loved this book. I bought it early in January during the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' sale primarily for three reasons. I loved the cover! (teacup), substantially reduced price and it had been recommended by Trisha Ashley (author of a good book I'd just finished reading).

Somehow, with all my other book purchases this novel had lain untouched until now. Had I even suspected it would be half as good as it was I'd have read it immediately.

Well, where do I start. Plots in the form of chapters, primarily told from the view point of Eliza now in her early forties and Sandra/Cassandra, more a bit part player relaying her school day stories featuring Eliza, Rose, Portia and Julian. In between, a few chapters are given over to an unknown character. As well as these there are a whole plethora of wonderful characters, none neglected all superbly constructed, weaving the fabric of the story together.

What a treat, although a sad subject underpins the whole plot, Marika Cobbold's wit and humour, not to mention her beautifully descriptive writing had me completely hooked and chuckling the whole way through this novel......

"She didn't regret having given them a fright, she said. But she did mind having driven over a very handy thermos flask. Apparently it matched their cold-box. 'The trouble is' Ruth had told me, 'that they don't sell them any more, not even at John Lewis'........" - PURE GENIUS!!

I thought I had a handle on this plot but I wasn't bothered because I was enjoying it so much but then a twist came along (some may argue glaringly obvious) and I had a 'Eureka' moment.

I think it's obvious I absolutely loved this novel and the author, this being the first of her books I've read, but it will definitely not be my last. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perceptive, witty and a great story, 9 Dec 2011
This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
Marika Cobbold's writing is always a joy to read. Her characters are wonderful, flawed human beings; her sense of place exquisitely drawn; her stories compelling and page-turning. In Drowning Rose she tells the story of past tragedies and guilts revisited, skillfully weaving several stories and timelines so that they read as effortless and beautiful prose. And throughout it all, such wit and compassion! I loved it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most thought provoking novel I have read in ages., 22 Oct 2011
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Y. Johnston - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
'Drowning Rose' is a lovely novel. I don't want to provide any spoilers here so will not mention the plot.
It is a novel about guilt and how lives are lived in the shadow of chance events that happened many years ago. It is quite the most thought provoking novel I have read in ages. Marika Cobbold has created some wonderfully rounded characters here. She is particularly good at recreating the emotional lives of teenage girls as seen through the point of view one of the characters. Throughout the novel, despite the serious themes explored, there is a gentle sense of humour present which makes it a truly enjoyable read.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love Marika Cobbold's writing, but I have certain reservations about the plot of this novel..., 1 Oct 2011
This review is from: Drowning Rose (Paperback)
Oh dear, what can I say? I do love Marika Cobbold's writing, especially 'Frozen Music' and 'Guppies for Tea' (the two that I've read more than once, and would happily re-read again!), and I've read all of her work. But I can't give this book five stars, not if I'm giving honest rather sycophantic feedback. There was so much that I did enjoy about this novel, especially all the detail about Eliza's life, her guilt, her past, her work in ceramics, and her return to Sweden, but I feel there's a huge flaw in the plot, as glaring as the crack on the tea cup on the cover of the book. It would be dishonest of me not to mention it, and if I'd been Marika's agent/publisher/editor I'd have advised her to remove it. Without posting a spoiler, I'll just say I'm alluding to the Sandra/Cassandra narrative, and the plot device implicit in it, which, to my mind, is clunky and obtrusive, a cheap trick and for me, just doesn't work. This would have been a far stronger book without Sandra/Cassandra; I'd love to give this book five stars, and maybe others won't be as critical as me. Don't be put off by my reservations!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story told from two viewpoints, 16 Mar 2012
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Drowning Rose (Kindle Edition)
I wasn't sure about this book when I started it as I found Eliza's voice overly chatty, jumping from subject to subject but all this changed fairly quickly and I got drawn into the story. Eliza and Cassandra tell us in there own words about their lives in the sixth form at a select boarding school. It details Eliza's relationship with her Godfather now an elderly man which are acutely drawn, subtle yet profound.

Marika Cobbold draws an accurate picture of how women often behave and think, the skill often learnt in childhood of seething inside whilst acting totally differently is one that Cassandra hasn't quite pulled off yet. She is set apart from the princeses, as she calls the group of friends, wanting both to be part of the group whilst similitaneously mocking and loathing them. Alhough there were some time specific phrases which appeared a good 20 years before they would have been used (PDA) this book delighted me, it is one of those beautiful books whose themes of guilt and loss will stay with me.
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Drowning Rose
Drowning Rose by Marika Cobbold (Paperback - 1 Mar 2012)
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