The Nesting by CJ Cooke

Posted On 12 November 2020

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NestingMy Five Word TL:DR Review : Atmospheric setting, slightly perplexing plot

The Nesting is a book that I enjoyed but at the same time it didn’t quite wow me the way I’d expected it to.  To be fair, the writing is great and really easy to get along with, in fact the strength of the writing won me over completely and I will definitely check out other works by this author based on this read.  Before I get ahead of myself though, a little about the plot.

As the story begins we meet Lexi Ellis who is going through a very dark period in her life.  I won’t elaborate but things don’t improve and Lexi finds herself, friendless, boyfriendless, jobless and homeless in fairly quick order when a chance encounter seems to reverse her bad fortune.  However, there is one small glitch, Lexi needs to take a new identity to turn her life around and by ‘take’ I mean steal.  So, new identity in place, Lexi takes the job and moves to Norway where her new employer (Tom) is building a summer house overlooking a Fjord and needs a nanny to take care of his two children following their mother’s suicide.

The setting is inspired and I loved it.  It is indeed gothic.  We have a major building project in the works here. This is a make or break project and tension runs high, especially as problems keep mounting. We have this whole feeling of nature rebelling against the work taking place.  Trees that seem ominously close, water sprites and hoof prints that mysteriously appear.  There are creepy carry ons, mysteriously forbidden basements and ghostly apparitions.  On top of that the story is infused with Norwegian folklore and stories that add an extra layer.

To the characters.  Well, obviously we have Lexi – also known as Sophie for a good portion of the story (stolen identity and all).  We have Aurelia, her storyline takes place in the past.  Aurelia was Tom’s wife until she committed suicide and we now spend time with her in the past to help build up the backstory of how the summer house plan came to fruition in the first place.  There are the two children, Gaia and Coco.  Gaia suffers nightmares and frequently wakes during the night.  Lexi really falls for both girls and in spite of her lack of experience and being thrown into the deep end a little she makes pretty good progress.  There are more characters, including a housekeeper who has secrets herself but I don’t want to elaborate too much.

The thing is, this has everything that I love in spades and even writing this review I’m getting excited all over again about the gothic creepy feel and the homage to other classics such as Rebecca which sprang into my mind whilst reading, and so why didn’t this totally win me over.  Well, the plot is a little unusual.  There are a number of elements.  There’s the gothic story itself, there’s all the folklore elements, a haunting and a murder mystery and it just feels like there’s too much and a number of the threads remain unresolved.  I wasn’t quite sure if this was down to an unreliable narrator but certain points just didn’t seem to go anywhere.

So, overall, in spite of issues regarding the story and a few unresolved threads this is a well written book and I’m not entirely sure whether the issues I had are more about my lack of concentrations at the moment.  One thing I can say is that this is superbly written and I feel like I’ve found a ‘new to me author’ to check out.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating : 3.5 of 5 stars

12 Responses to “The Nesting by CJ Cooke”

  1. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Looks like we both had similar issues with it. I loved the atmosphere, but you are so spot on with the unresolved threads.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, the funny thing is, once I’d finished, I felt like I’d missed something. So many things thrown in that I don’t felt were resolved. And, also, I can’t help thinking that the start could have been cut completely, we could have joined Lexi when she was already nannying – it felt a bit of an unrealistic turn around not to mention a very fluky way of getting the job – what about ID checks (anyway, I’m getting too serious about it all!)
      Lynn 😀

  2. pagesandtea

    Great review. I’ve been eyeing up the e-book of this for a while but haven’t bought it yet. Another book for my TBR perhaps…

    • @lynnsbooks

      It is a very well written book with great atmosphere. I did have some issues, mainly around unresolved storylines so I would be keen to see what you think if you get a chance to read.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    Intriguing review! (and I love the idea of the far North setting!)
    But I understand what you mean about unsolved issues: when a story builds a mystery in the way you describe, readers want to see it solved completely. Still, I think it’s worth a look, if nothing else for what promises to be an amazing setting 🙂
    Thanks for sharing!

    • @lynnsbooks

      And the writing is very strong with plenty of atmosphere. Just the unsolved threads – urgh!
      Lynn 😀

  4. waytoofantasy

    Hmm, interesting book it seems like! I don’t think this one is up my alley but I appreciate the thoughts on it!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s a shame that this didn’t really knock my socks off, it’s well written and has so many positive aspects but the story feels a little too busy and there are too many unresolved threads.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Jules_Writes

    I pretty much completely agree with your review but I LOVED it – it totally grabbed my attention and didn’t let go and I loved how steeped in atmosphere it was. Great review as always 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks. It’s a shame about this one because partly I can’t help thinking that I was just in the wrong mindset and so I was unable to let things go and just go with the flow. It has some great reviews though and I did love the atmosphere and setting.
      Lynn:D

  6. Heather @ Random Redheaded Ramblings

    I really enjoyed this one but it wasn’t as scary as I’d hoped it would be. The setting was lovely. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • @lynnsbooks

      The setting was great, as was the atmosphere, I think it probably could have been reduced slightly and that might have lent it a more scary edge.
      Lynn 😀

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