Book Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

I have historically enjoyed Elizabeth Day’s books – both fiction and non fiction. And have listened avidly to the last series of her podcast ‘How To Fail with Elizabeth Day’ – where she has a fabulously eclectic mix of guests talking about their ‘failures’. When I saw she had a new novel out – I dived on NetGalley to request a copy and was very kindly granted one. Here’s the blurb:

Sometimes Marisa gets the fanciful notion that Kate has visited the house before. She makes herself at home without any self-consciousness. She puts her toothbrush right there in the master bathroom, on the shelf next to theirs.
In Jake, Marisa has found everything she’s ever wanted. Then their new lodger Kate arrives.
Something about Kate isn’t right. Is it the way she looks at Marisa’s boyfriend? Sits too close on the sofa? Constantly asks about the baby they are trying for? Or is it all just in Marisa’s head?
After all, that’s what her Jake keeps telling her. And she trusts him – doesn’t she?
But Marisa knows something is wrong. That the woman sleeping in their house will stop at nothing to get what she wants.
Marisa just doesn’t know why.
How far will she go to find the answer – and how much is she willing to lose?

Ooh – this is GOOD! It’s not often I dole out a 5* review on NetGalley – but this is definitely a book that deserves one. It is incredibly well written, it feels like a grown up, ‘proper’ book – if that doesn’t sound too wanky?! It feels like care and attention has been made to the words and sentence structure and how it is all presented – as if it has been properly crafted and not just rushing to get the story down.

The book starts with Marisa and Jake and their new relationship. Jake is quite repressed with his emotions – but Marisa is madly in love and desperate to start a family with him. Her friend Jas is wary of it all going a bit quickly – but accepts the situation. Jake is the main breadwinner – but when a deal goes tits up he can no longer fund everything and so they get a lodger – Kate. Marisa is somewhat suspicious of Kate and her motives and feels she’s trying to get her claws into Jake as time progresses.

Then THERE IS A MASSIVE TWIST! It is brilliant. I’m not going to even hint at what it is – but it is amazing and really well written. I hate reviews that give stuff away – and so I’m not going to!

Whilst the story focusses on the 3 main characters of Marisa, Jake and Kate – the interweaving of additional characters, and back stories, is done really well. Are Jake’s parents misunderstood? Supportive? Spiteful? Downright evil?

There is also an element of infertility that is discussed in a really perceptive way. Ms Day has been very open about her own fertility journey and so this part of the storyline feels really well written and personal and consequently emotive.

I loved this book and devoured it very quickly. It’s out at the beginning of September – and I would highly recommend pre ordering it immediately.

A massive thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC.