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Magpie makes for compulsive reading

This is one of those un-put-downable books that had me reading whilst walking it was that good. It is also a book with so many twists and unexpected turns that I had to go back and re-read huge chunks in order to figure it all out. Marisa moves into her perfect house in London with her newish perfect boyfriend and they decide to start a family. Marisa's upbringing has been troubled and she is obviously hoping that having her own children will heal old wounds. But it is only when they take in a lodger that things start to go awry. Kate, fashionable, successful and painfully friendly places her toothbrush next to theirs rather than use her own bathroom, and cooks Jake his favourite fish-pie better than Marisa can do it herself. Jake is of course oblivious to her cosying up and this infuriates Marisa. However the point of view then shifts to Kate the lodger and without giving away spoilers, it becomes a very different story. A desperate one of infidelity and the lengths to which one will go in order to conceive a child. Elizabeth Day has talked publicly about her own experiences with IVF and miscarriages and it is painfully obvious that this story comes from her heart. This is a book that works on many levels, a beautifully drawn character story of two women and their lives that have been blighted by their past and present experiences. But with its gnarly twists and turns it is also a psychological thriller that holds you captive with every page. And Elizabeth Day manages to entwine these two genres seamlessly with her skilful use of language and masterful manipulation of a seriously complicated plot and timeline, it made my brain fry just trying to figure out how she pulled it off. I defy anyone to be able to get on with their life whilst reading this book so store it up for some time when you can dive in and get fully submerged!

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