14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Beautifully Crafted, Exquisitely Portrayed,
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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 layers of history lying 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.