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

Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Nesting by C.J. Cooke

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Nesting by C.J. Cooke

TheNesting2It was like something out of a fairytale…

The grieving widower.
The motherless daughters.
A beautiful house in the woods.
And a nanny come to save the day.

So what if Lexi isn’t telling the truth about who she is? Escaping to the remote snows of Norway was her lifeline. And all she wanted was to be a part of their lives.

But soon, isolated in that cold, creaking house in the middle of ancient, whispering woods, Lexi’s fairytale starts to turn into a nightmare.

With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi’s fears are deepening. Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care.

But protect them from what?

Expected publication : October 2020