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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cuckoo in the nest
Cuckoo tells the story of Rose and Polly, childhood friends whose lives follow very different paths until they are reunited following the death of Polly's husband. Rose and her husband Gareth have had a few problems in their marriage but have patched things up (at least on the surface) and are just finishing renovating their beautiful country house when Polly invites...
Published on 27 Aug. 2011 by Denise4891

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59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Who is the one in the wrong?
CUCKOO tells the story of Rose and Polly. When Polly's husband dies in a car accident, Rose invites her friend into her house, telling her she should stay with her family until she has got herself back on track. Then, unsurprisingly, Rose begins to regret her decision.

Without wanting to give too much away, even when Rose is beginning to have doubts about her...
Published on 13 April 2011 by Brida


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book that explores the nature of friendships and secrets, 22 Mar. 2011
By 
C. Bannister (Jersey, CI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Cuckoo (Kindle Edition)
I liked this book and it certainly held my attention, I was eager to find out what happens to Polly and Rose the two best friends from Brighton who'd first met at the age of 7.

The book is set in a rural part of England near Bath and describes the pain and pleasures of renovating a home to bring up the perfect family, then.... Polly's husband Christos has died and she wants to bring her boys back from Greece and Polly offers to let them stay.

At first I sympathised with Rose but as the book goes on it is slowly revealed how she is no innocent. The relationships between all the characters are well defined, Rose and her husband Gareth have recently gone through a bad patch and he is reluctently persuaded to let Polly stay, then things start to unravel but whose fault is it? I can't say too much without spoiling the story but no character in this book is a role model.

I have wavered between a 4 and 5 start review mainly because I wasn't overly convinced by the last section when Rose and Polly visit Brighton but make no mistake this is a great debut book and is not to be missed.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cuckoo Julia Crouch, 7 July 2011
This review is from: Cuckoo (Paperback)
This book has quite a sinister and unsettling tone to it, however it is definitely hard to put down! It had me wondering just what exactly was going to happen next, and to who. Although the ending was not what I expected. it was a tad disappointing, but that said still a very good read!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Had me glued!, 7 April 2012
This review is from: Cuckoo (Paperback)
Definately a 'read-in-one-sitting' book! They don't come much darker, more disturbing or more ambiguous than this!
As the blurb says Rose appears to have it all, an idyllic country home, two gorgeous daughters, a handsome, talented husband...and then her oldest friend comes to stay and things take a nose-dive. Polly, recently widowed (make your own mind up about that) comes to stay indefinately with her two wild sons and the two families become entwined in a series of mishaps that lead them all into disarray and decay but who is really to blame? Is it wild, kooky Polly, former drug addict and famous singer, who was once the mainstay of Rose's life before 'respectability'? Or is it Rose, outwardly so sensible and straight but with a shockingly disturbing past and long buried secrets?

Julia Crouch writes with such disturbing briliance, teasing away at the reader, taking you one way and then another, building the tension up to a crescendo that suddenly dissipates leaving you feeling somewhat shaken and appalled and perhaps not quite knowing the truth of what you have read.
Definately one to draw your own conclusions from but one that most certainly will not disappoint.

Every description draws you into the genteel little world that Rose has created and then rips you away from it into unsurety. It brings Rose and Polly's pasts to you drip by drip that leaves you with a conviction that all is not right and all will be wrong. I really could not stop reading this, filled with a sense of impending doom that just compelled me to keep reading and reading.
One of the best psychological thrillers that I've read in a long time and one that I am sure will stay with me.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cuckoo - dark, twisted, thrilling & chilling!, 26 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Cuckoo (Paperback)
Julia Crouch's debut novel Cuckoo is an unsettling psychological thriller. Reminiscent in part to Half Broken Things by Morag Joss, it has a sense of dark foreboding and a chilling conclusion, which will leave you unsettled. Don't be fooled by the pretty pink suitcase on the cover of Cuckoo, for there is nothing light and fluffy about this book. It is a book of greed, sloth, envy, lust and gluttony. All the deadliest of sins lie within its pages. The cosy country setting may be perfectly idyllic, but Cuckoo tells a tale of deeply damaged people, fractured relationships and a toxic friendship that will make you think twice before you invite your next house guest to stay. As somebody who has always been interested in the complexities and intricacies of female friendships and how suddenly and devastatingly they can go wrong, this one intrigued me from the get go, and kept me thoroughly entertained with numerous plot twists throughout.

Rose has what seems to be a perfect life. Her marriage to artist husband, Gareth, hasn't always been plain sailing, but now they are finally happy and settled, living in a carefully constructed middle class country idyll, in their newly renovated home with their two adorable young daughters. Rose has a somewhat mundane lifestyle, but it's also enviable in its way, with frequent trips to Waitrose and Farmer's Markets for food, mouthwatering meals cooked on the Aga, a house filled with Jo Malone candles and a bathtub full of Aveda products. Everything in Rose's perfect life changes with one phone call from her old friend, Polly, who, due to tragic circumstances wants to come to stay for a while. We've probably all had a house guest at one point or another who has overstayed their welcome, but you're about to see this taken to the extreme. Once Polly gets her foot in the door, she truly makes herself feel at home, and it's hard to see her ever leaving.

Crouch has populated her book with immensely unlikeable characters. I never quite took to Rose, and was left wondering if I could find it in me to root for her as bit by bit her idyllic lifestyle is deconstructed by the dark and sultry Polly. I could say a lot about the characterisation of Rose. It's wonderfully done, with a lot of food for thought, and a smart move on Crouch's part. All the characters in this book are well drawn and developed. We learn of Rose and Polly's friendship from its school day beginnings in Brighton trough to their hedonistic party days of drugs and alcohol in the nineties. Polly, we learn, was famous as a singer in the nineties, and is a downright doppelganger for PJ Harvey, a fact that is thankfully referenced in the book. It's clear that Polly comes from a very dark place, and while Rose also has secrets in her past, she has successfully carved out a new life for herself, something that Polly resents, and then some!

Cuckoo is a strong debut, and I will definitely be reading more from Julia Crouch in the future. This was a quick read for me, but now, days later, I still find myself thinking about the ending of the book, which was very clever and truly creepy. Cuckoo will definitely leave you feeling unsettled. It will leave you wondering about the motivations of people and of their true intentions. It will leave you wondering about past mistakes and if they can ever be truly forgotten. The actions of the characters here are exaggerated to the extreme, but this makes for a deliciously dark read. It's definitely a book that you have to delve into deeply, and where you will find out that not everything, or maybe even nothing, is as it first seems.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and creepy, 21 Nov. 2011
This review is from: Cuckoo (Paperback)
I felt really tired the next day at work because I stayed up until three reading this book. I loved its ambiguity, its claustrophobic atmosphere and the way it built suspense. It's dark and sexy and stylish. Can't wait for the next one!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't stop reading, 5 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: Cuckoo (Paperback)
This was very good book. The descriptions of the house and the children were beautifully written and the plot was intriguing. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes their 'chick-lit' to have a bit more to it.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vivid portrayal of a mother's descent into chaos..., 7 May 2011
This review is from: Cuckoo (Hardcover)
I was recommended 'Cuckoo' by a friend and it did not disappoint.

Rose, the central character in this dark yarn of fractured relationships and past lives that come back to haunt, appears to have the perfect life...until Polly comes to stay.

Rose's life couldn't be more different to my own however the vivid and descriptive nature of Crouch's writing really puts one in the character's shoes.

Certain passages in the book are truly chilling and appear out of nowhere, adding to their impact and leaving a sense of unease pages after they have been read...

Overall the book has a rather cinematic quality and I would be very surprised if the film rights to this tale of love and madness are not snapped up in a trice!

In summation I have only two words: Read it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 1 Aug. 2014
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This review is from: Cuckoo (Kindle Edition)
brilliant couldn't put it down
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read, 29 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: Cuckoo (Paperback)
This is an outstanding book and I finished reading it in one day. I could not put it down! Brilliant.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 22 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: Cuckoo (Paperback)
This book is about Rose and her friend Polly who comes to stay with her after Polly's husband dies. The book in itself is ok. The scene is set very well and the author is good at setting the atmosphere. However the story is a little bland and although I enjoyed it, I enjoyed it because I wanted to know more but things were never fully explained properly with some unnecessary details mentioned that I thought might become relevant, but didn't. I was a little disappointed at the book as a whole once i had read the last chapter.

I wouldn't really recommend this book.
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Cuckoo by Julia Crouch
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