Friday 3 March 2023

Book Review | Magpie Lane by Lucy Atkins | prettylittlewriter

‘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 was Felicity silent?’

If you want a novel that has the perfect gothic and historical setting, then you will enjoy Magpie Lane. Set in Oxford, there are so many landmarks and descriptive paragraphs to the novel, I often felt like I was there, and could picture everything quite vividly, although I have never visited Oxford myself!


You could tell from the offset that Dee was an unreliable narrator, and there were parts where I had to re-read it as there weren’t any clear speech marks during her conversations with the police, so it wasn’t always obvious if she was talking to them or she was narrating. I really did feel for her though as she had a terrible childhood, and the trauma she suffering surrounding her daughter must have been incredibly hard to bear.


I also felt incredible sympathy for Felicity; her father and step-mother were atrocious, and it was clear that she would have a much better life away from them, so when she went missing, I hoped profusely for the outcome that I believed was coming.


I also really enjoyed the character of Linklater, and was quite frustrated when Dee would rebuff his advances, as she deserved some happiness and he seemed like a lovely person.


I can’t say anything else without the risk of spoiling the book if you haven’t read it, but I will say that although this novel had promise, and it was occasionally creepy and atmospheric, it was let down by the fact that you could see the ‘twist’ coming a mile off and the ending left you wanting a little more to conclude.


3/5 stars

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