2.5 star

Review: Magpie by Elizabeth Day

She has almost everything. The rest she’ll take.

Single White Female meets The Perfect Nanny in this taut, psychological suspense novel about a perfect couple and their seemingly perfect roommate—that is until she threatens to destroy everything they’ve worked so hard to create.

Marisa and Jake are a perfect couple, and Kate, their new lodger, is the perfect roommate–and not just because her rent payments will give them the income they need to start trying for a baby. Except no one is perfect. Sure, Kate doesn’t seem to care much about personal boundaries and can occasionally seem overly familiar with Jake, but Marisa doesn’t let it concern her. Kate will soon be gone, and it will just be her, Jake, and their future baby.

Conceiving a baby is easier said than done, though, and Jake and Marisa’s perfect relationship is put to the test through months of fertility treatments and false starts. To make matters worse, Kate’s boundary-pushing turns into an all-out obsession–with Jake, with Marisa, and with their future child. Who is this woman? Why does she seem to know everything about Marisa and Jake?

In her quest to find out who Kate really is, Marisa might destroy everything she’s worked so hard to create: her perfect romance, her perfect family, and her perfect self. Jake doesn’t know the half of what Marisa has created and what she stands to lose. Magpie is a tense and twisting novel about mothers and children, envy and possession, and the dangers of getting everything you’ve ever dreamed of. 

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster. All comments are my own.

Exciting premise. And a classic case where I expected there to be a lot of intrigue, and confusion between what was real and what wasn’t. Unfortunately this kind of fell flat for me, and I will divulge why further in this review.

Magpie revolves around Marisa, who has moved in with her new boyfriend Jake, and everything seems perfect with their baby coming around. However, a new lodger comes in, Kate, who is acting quite dubiously, perhaps following Marisa around and being unnecessarily nosy for being a stranger. Just who is this Kate and what does she want with their lives? That is the question that the book attempts to answer through its suspense and intrigue.

Unfortunately, although the suspense and tension was fairly well done, the story itself was confusing and honestly felt like it had no plot. I can’t say I completely disliked it, because I did manage to get through the book fairly easily and I was never really bored. However, I was definitely confused as to why the plot wasn’t going anywhere and why the intrigue didn’t really resolve itself, and why there were no complications. I was asking myself, oh that’s it? There was literally one “twist,” found in like the middle of the book, and that was it. I didn’t really understand where the plot was supposed to have come from.

The characters were probably the best part of this book. They were all fairly unique and well-fleshed out, and that part of building the intrigue and suspense was good. There weren’t too many characters, and there wasn’t any real mystery to solve, just this family dynamic and intrigue between Jake’s family and the lodger, Kate.

The ending fell really flat for me for sure. And while overall the suspense was good, it was just so uninteresting how everything resolved itself. Not to mention it resolves itself in the middle as well, where the explanation for the seemingly inconsistent perspectives seems to resolve itself. The final “big reveal” doesn’t even really seem that related to the premise of the whole story, which was also disappointing in itself. Overall, I really can’t say this is much of a good book. If you like reading about intrigue and interesting family dynamics, then maybe? Otherwise, I wouldn’t really bother.

Maybe I just didn’t really understand this book. If you did, please let me know.

Overall Recommendations

Magpie is a story of a perfect couple whose life slowly starts to unravel when the new lodger, Kate, shows up. Just what does she want with Marisa and Jake’s new life, and why does she seem to be so nosy and overly interested in their life? With good character development, and interesting family dynamics, there is an interesting story to be told about the family dysfunction in this story. However, the plot itself was definitely a little bit lacking for me, so keep that in mind!


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