Cuckoo is an atmospheric gothic mystery set in a rural English house, where even the heroine doubts her sanity. Is she hallucinating? Are ghosts present or is it her memories coming back of her horrible childhood?
Caro is a starving artist in London when she is informed her stepmother has died. Caro and her older sister Steph will inherit the entire estate once it leaves probate. Steph, now a wealthy New Yorker, gives her share to Caro. Caro, soon to be homeless in London, decides to move into her old family home to clear out her stepmother’s paperwork and personal items. While in the house, a snowstorm forces her to stay inside where her memories of her hateful stepmother during her childhood return with a vengeance.
Cuckoo is reminiscent of golden age mystery writers like Mary Roberts Rinehart with her Had I But Known school of naive and trusting narrators. Caro total lack of faith in herself and continual bad choices began to annoy me around the midpoint. Basically, the clues were all there in plain sight but Caro just ignored them all. I did enjoy the dark English folk and fairy tales sprinkled throughout the book. I googled some of them and they are real—no wonder the English have such stiff upper lips if this is how they entertain their children!
If you enjoy slow-burning gothic reads with most of the action in the unreliable narrator’s head, you will enjoy reading Cuckoo. For me, the annoyingly dense heroine and an obvious twist makes this a 3 star read for me.
Thanks to the publisher, Avon Books UK, and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.