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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Crafted, Exquisitely Portrayed
Jane Rusbridge has followed her excellent debut novel: The Devil's Music with this exquisitely written and thoroughly enjoyable second novel 'Rook'.

Nora, a cellist, has returned to Creek House, her family home in Bosham, a beautiful village on the West Sussex coast, where she attempts to put incidents from her recent past behind her. Nora's mother, Ada, an...
Published 21 months ago by Susie B

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical prose which didn't quite grip
This is an attractive book to handle, with a print of a bird-in-flight heading each chapter. And the character of Rook is original and 'other.' But I found the writing distracting, and this is obviously a very individual response judging by most of the other reviews. The novel is essentially written in the present tense, but as both Nora and Ada ruminate much on the...
Published 18 months ago by Sabina


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Crafted, Exquisitely Portrayed, 25 July 2012
By 
Susie B - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Rook (Paperback)
Jane Rusbridge has followed her excellent debut novel: The Devil's Music with this exquisitely written and thoroughly enjoyable second novel 'Rook'.

Nora, a cellist, has returned to Creek House, her family home in Bosham, a beautiful village on the West Sussex coast, where she attempts to put incidents from her recent past behind her. Nora's mother, Ada, an emotionally fragile and somewhat embittered woman, is not entirely welcoming, and instead of giving her daughter the love and support she needs, she immerses herself in her own fragmented memories and imaginings of the past, as she wanders in her overgrown garden where the scent of her French cigarettes mingle with the enticing aromas of the sea.

With the need to put her past behind her, Nora fills her spare time by running along the creek paths leading to the sea with the sound of cello concertos reverberating in her mind, and by volunteering to help with village life. One day she finds a half-dead baby bird, and feeling a connection with the bird's injured state and needing a project, Nora immerses herself in nursing the young bird back to health. And while Nora is occupied with her injured bird, other events occur which provide further distractions when a film crew, headed by a rather charismatic documentary maker, arrives in the village to make a film about an eleventh century king who is believed to be buried under the floor of the parish church. Bosham, we discover, has important and fascinating associations with the past and, as tales of ancient battles, rivalries and burials are revealed, Nora and Ada find themselves confronting difficult issues from their own pasts that are very painful to deal with.

Jane Rusbridge has portrayed the beauty of the natural surroundings at Bosham and along the Sussex Coast wonderfully, and this is a superbly crafted story by an author who has a talent for evoking a real sense of time and place and of reminding us of the rich seam of history lying quietly, yet powerfully beneath the present day. A brilliantly observed, atmospheric and sensually written story and one that deserves more than one reading, so it's a novel to keep on your shelves for further future enjoyment and to share with others.

5 Stars.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Building of Rooks, 10 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Rook (Paperback)
After the wonderful, The Devils Music, I couldn't wait to read ROOK, Jane Rusbridge' second novel. I preordered it from Amazon and cleared the decks for its arrival. When it did arrive I tore it from the parcel and found this beautiful book, the front cover has a picture of Nora, standing amongst a building of rooks. yes building, I looked it up. Anyway there are rooks in the air all around her. Nora has returned home to Creek House next to the village of Bosham, on the Sussex coast. Nora rescues an injured rook and nurses him back to heath, she names him Rook. Her mother Ada lives in the house and is a bitter old woman with a secret. Nora has been away from home. She is a gifted cellist and while at collage, then performing, has had an affair with her older and charismatic teacher. Nora has secrets too. There is so many wonderful layers to this book, from the opening scene of a mid eleventh century battlefield to the same ground in the twenty first century and Jonny, an outsider who wants to make a documentary about King Cnut and an attempted archaeological dig in the little church of Bosham. The characters are all fantastically written and the family story of Nora, her sister Flick, Felicity and their parents is wonderfully revealed as the the book reaches its end. This has been a hard review to write, no matter what I say about ROOK, it couldn't with my limited skill, do it Justis. I think Jan Rusbridge is something special and we may look back in years to come and realise this. I hope she writes many more books and gets the acclaim she deserves today.

Footnote. you can also have a parliment of rooks, I like building.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual, absorbing read, 9 Oct 2012
By 
T. E. Hart (Essex UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rook (Paperback)
I picked this novel up after reading a positive newspaper review. It will be one that stays with me for a while as I found I liked her atmospheric style of writing. She writes as if you were reading that particular character's thoughts, flickering from the past to the present, not chronologically. Very descriptive and interesting regarding Rooks and Saxon history - I feel I've learned something! I found the lack of understanding between mother and daughter very true to life. I've enjoyed discovering her characters, they felt very real to me. I will now read her first novel "The Devil's Music".
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luminous and atmospheric, 24 July 2012
By 
Bookworm (South of England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rook (Paperback)
This is a stunning book - spare, tender, beautiful prose, telling a multi-layered story which delivers no easy answers. The characters are minutely drawn, and the setting is evoked with luminous and atmospheric language. As a 'local' - I happen to live in the village where the book is set - I'm very impressed by how exactly Rusbridge has caught not just the look and landscape of the area, but the feel of the place too.

I loved this book, and my only regret is that I finished it too quickly.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rook is a novel of layers and textures, patiently crafted, and beautifully finished, 12 Aug 2012
This review is from: Rook (Paperback)
Rook is a novel about a community with buried secrets, figuratively and literally. In it, Jane Rusbridge (author of The Devil's Music) has woven together threads of historical fact, and local folklore, into a fabric of subtle colours and closely observed details.

Life in the village of Bosham is disrupted when a TV documentary maker arrives, and makes a case to exhume the remains of an eleventh century king purported to be at rest under the floor of the parish church. The village has links to the Battle of Hastings, and is mentioned in the Bayeux Tapestry. While the ghosts of the Norman conquest are still in a sense present, the real conflict takes place between a modern day mother and daughter, Ada and Nora.

Ada is a woman in her declining years with an unravelling grip on reality. Her fragmented memories run through the whole novel, giving the reader skewed glimpses of the family's history. Her daughter, Nora, is a cellist who has apparently abandoned her destiny to play at international concert venues in favour of teaching music to schoolchildren. Nora's abrupt return to Creek House is unwelcome as far as her mother is concerned, and one of the real virtues of this novel is the almost unbearable tension which develops between them: there's hardly any arguing, just a pattern of disapproval and festering resentments.

Nora takes on several projects to occupy her, such as long-distance running, and volunteering in the village, but her main preoccupation is the adoption of a baby bird, Rook, who she attempts to nurse back to health. Rook is an adorable creation, fragile, volatile and weird-looking; at the same time he's the eerie embodiment of spirits of the past. The attachment between Nora and Rook, her foundling, potentially redeems them both.

Where this novel really flies is in the evocation of environments, of spring tides, flooded roads, rookeries, archaeological digs, battle grounds, and vast skies. The landscapes which emerge from this novel are vivid, even cinematic. Equally impressive is the way Rusbridge's prose sweeps down to the smallest detail, to a painted glass jar, the ridges of a scallop shell, or the lining inside a coat.

Father figures are also important and recurring - idolised, substituted, lamented and often unattainable - the legendary kings, Cnut and Harold, occupy a space in the imagination, as do the masculine ex-lover, and the beloved absent parent.

You feel the author's deft touch on every page. Rook is a novel of layers and textures, patiently crafted, and beautifully finished.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly engagaging and atmospheric, 9 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Rook (Paperback)
It's one of those books that draws you in - to a landscape, to a pulse of time (where historical time and present time merge and depart), and to the mystical in everyday lives - all while being firmly planted in the here and now, the mundane, and real time. It's a book I left slightly altered for having read it...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful but a bit confusing, 3 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Rook (Kindle Edition)
I loved Jane Rusbridge's first book, she is a poetical and eloquent writer. Rook was written in the same atmospheric lyrical style. The descriptive writing is excellent. But the plot did not captivate me. I found it hard to get into and hard to follow because of the jumps from one time to another. It starts in the 11th Century and leaps forward to the 21st and it took some time for me to understand the reason. Then the story is then based around Nora and her mother Ada in present day Bosham and the mystery of two tombs in Bosham church. Both women relived many memories from their own lives and sometimes the change in time and place from one chapter to another was confusing. Beautifully written, full of evocative description of the landscape and the starveling rook rescued by Nora. The relationship between Nora and the rook was interesting and informative. The author obviously carried out thorough research on rooks and local history and in that regard the book was satisfying. Definitely worth reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really Great, 7 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Rook (Kindle Edition)
This was quite unusual. I love history and the story held my interest because it started with a slaughter in the 11th century and then to the present day with a mystery to where the king was buried. I have a real interest now in Rooks. If you were interested in Richard III remains being found I am sure you will enjoy this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Tapestry, 28 May 2013
This review is from: Rook (Kindle Edition)
Rook was an incredibly well-written book, a beautiful tapestry in itself with descriptions so wonderfully lucid, It reminded me of poetry! It was easy to become quickly absorbed in the atmospheric setting of this story, from the early historic battle scenes to the present day scenario across the coastal plains of Sussex. The characters too had a depth you could feel, with highly charged emotions which reveal the complexity of human nature - most poignant of all for me, was Nora's nurturing instinct to care for the fledgling `Rook' - a deep bonding, combined with a maternal drive, which was not fully explained until right at the end of the book, (which for me was a real 'Eureka' moment.)

Although she was described as 'a fragile, bitter woman' in the synopsis, I took a shine to Nora's Mum, Ada - she struck me as being rather sweet, a little confused maybe, but with an eccentric personality which endeared her to me. I was more disappointed by Nora's lovers, both of whom came across as men who were shallow and vain - where even 'Rook' himself seems to have sussed out the egocentric Jonny, the one character determined to dredge up the secrets of Bosham church to make his TV documentary! But I did develop a soft spot for the straight-talking Harry, a loyal friend to both women.

The link between history (portrayed in both the Bayeux Tapestry and the mysterious tomb in Bosham church) is an enthralling storyline in itself which kept me wanting to turn the pages. If I had the time, I would gladly read this all over again, this is how much the author captivated me. A wonderful book for anyone, especially those familiar with Sussex and the beaches around Bosham. This book was given to me as a Christmas present.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooked by Rook, 6 Feb 2013
By 
M Whipman "Mel" (Farnham, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rook (Paperback)
I was hooked from the opening pages of this stunning follow up to Jane Rusbridge's first novel, The Devil's Music.
Rook is a poignant, atmospheric tale of history, love and buried secrets welling up with the Sussex spring tides. Her lyrical prose brings to mind two of my favourite authors - it has the rich intensity of Jeanette Winterson, combined with the clarity and stillness of Helen Dunmore. An utter delight to read.
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Rook
Rook by Jane Rusbridge (Paperback - 1 Aug 2013)
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