Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins ★★★★★
Updated: May 15
Published : 2nd April 2020
Publisher : Quercus
Format : Kindle, Audio, Hardcover
Genre : Crime
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 is Felicity silent?
Thank you so much Ella Patel and Quercus for this truly amazing read!
This was one that I was extremely eager too read so when I received the email offering the opportunity to take part in the blog tour I was beside myself with happiness.
This is a story that starts off as a crime read. There is a child missing and the Scottish nanny Dee is being interviewed to find out what she knows. The story then goes back to the beginning and it slowly reveals its self to you, perfectly written so that each page builds a story and each chapter makes you guess even more who the culprit could be.
Dee is a nanny, she has been looking after young children at Oxford for quite a while now, always recommended on from the last family.
Dee has a secret past which slowly unravels as you make your way further into the story.
On a morning walk she bumps into the new Nick, she soon finds out that he is the new Master at Oxford and he and his wife Mariah are looking for a nanny to care for his eight year old daughter Felicity.
Dee takes the position and is soon moving into the 400 year old lodging. Felicity is not a normal eight year old girl, she is a selective mute, only talking to her father and is a very pale and seemingly frightened of everything.
She has not spoken a word to her stepmom in the four years that they have been together.
You soon find out that Felicity's mother died when she was little and he has not spoken since, not through choice but through pure anxiety.
Dee and Felicity grow closer and form a bond that means felicity starts to trust and speak to Dee.
Not everything is as it seems though, felicity gets up in the night, talks to people who are not there and the old priests hole that is in the corner of her room, always locked, ends up open at night and dee quite often finds the little girl talking to herself, her dead mum or other spirits in the ancient hole.
This is where the story took an eerie turn for me. I actually put it down whilst reading in bed as I was a little spooked. Loved that this went from being a crime read to having that eerie edge.
The house that they are all living in has a history and as a gift to his danish wife, Nick hires a house historian to write the past of the house, Linklater starts to delve into the houses history and this is when the inhabitants and the tortures of those people all come to light to Dee who along with Felicity has struck up an unusual friendship with Linklater.
Throughout the story you are taken back regularly to the interview room where Dee is being questioned. Not everything is as it seems under the roof that they all lived together and not all members of the household have been honest with the police.
I didn't guess the twist at the end of the story and when I came upon it I was quite pleased with how it all came together, this was an absolutely brilliant book and I enjoyed every page, and I loved how the end left a big question mark over the future for the characters.
I highly recommend this book to be added to your tbr as soon as it is published.
Purchase/ pre order links are below.
Meet the author
Lucy Atkins is an award-winning British author, feature journalist and Sunday Times book critic.
She has written for newspapers including The Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times and The Telegraph, several UK magazines and also seven non-fiction books, two of which have won national awards.
Her books have been published internationally.
She lives in Oxford.
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