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3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  1,659 Ratings  ·  201 Reviews
Rose has it all - the gorgeous children, the husband, the beautiful home. But then her best friend Polly comes to stay. Very soon, Rose's cosy world starts to fall apart at the seams - her baby falls dangerously ill & her husband is distracted. It appears that once you invite Polly into your home, it's very difficult to get her out again.
Paperback, 435 pages
Published November 24th 2011 by Headline (first published 2011)
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I am kind of stumped on how to review CUCKOO. I finished reading it a few days ago and I thought letting it sit with me and reading a few other peoples reviews would help...but didnt.

I went back and forth from giving it 2 stars to 4 stars, and finally after changing it about 5 times-settled in the middle at 3.

This book reminded me a little bit of the movie-The Hand That Rocks the Cradle-but instead of a crazy nanny, Rose (the main character) allows her best friend Polly and her two hor
Jun 26, 2014 M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not someone who needs a big explosion at the start of a story, but it would be nice if something actually happened somewhere within the book's pages. This novel seemed to contain endless scenes of vomit-inducing middle-class life: the Aga! The Barbour jacket! The Aveda bath oils! The bloody coffee machine (which gets so much airtime it's almost a separate character itself)! The worthy local market shopping instead of Waitrose! And, my favourite, the Le Creset saucepans, which Rose checks are ...more
Mar 08, 2011 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend in need is a friend indeed . . . when Rose’s oldest and dearest friend becomes a widow, Rose is there with open arms and a shoulder to cry one. Rose thinks nothing of opening her home up to Polly and her two small boys who have just lost a father.

Rose has always loved Polly’s unique, non-conformist personality. But the longer she stays in Rose’s house, the more it seems she doesn’t quite fit the role of ‘grieving widow’. Polly isn’t acting the way a bereaved wife is supposed to. And whe
Jul 14, 2012 Cat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't tend to write reviews because quite frankly i can never be bothered but this is a book that deserves one. I loved this book and i do mean LOVED it. I read it in 3 hours in one sitting and thought it was terrific. I found Rose rather annoying, and i didn't like the setting- having lived in Bath i can't quite picture what Crouch was trying to portray but i think that's my own bias and not anything to do with her writing style or skill- obviously i view that particular area in a totally dif ...more
Aug 17, 2014 Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-penrith
Hot mess alert! This was very 'The Hand That Rocked The Cradle' esq. Very apt title, the main characters certainly were 'cuckoo'. The sign of a books enjoyment really shouldn't have anything to do with character likability, but I just didn't like them. A very messy triangle, a main character that I could have slapped, shook, screamed at - could she not see what was happening?! Poor little baby Floss, breast fed daughter of said crazy woman, she would have been in a total drunk state, not to ment ...more
Kirsty Hill
Aug 26, 2012 Kirsty Hill rated it it was amazing
While half way through this book my dad told me of a documentary he watched about cuckoos. A male cuckoo will call a different species of bird away from its next of eggs so that the female cuckoo can sneak in and lay an egg amongst the others. The cuckoos leave their young to be raised by this other bird. The cuckoo egg will almost always hatch first. The cuckoo chick grows large quickly, usually around three times the size of the 'host' bird. Because of this it needs to monopolise on the food c ...more
Every once in a while, a book comes along to remind me what true disappointment feels like.

On the jacket of Julia Crouch's Cuckoo, it says that cuckoos are birds that steal other birds' nests, but a more accurate allegation would be that Cuckoo is a book that steals you of any interest.

The only actually interesting characters in the book dies right on page one, though I weirdly took a liking to the main character, Rose, despite my overall annoyance at the entirety of Cuckoo. (view spoiler)
Sue G
Mar 02, 2011 Sue G rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are tensions in the story from the start. Polly has been Rose’s friend since they were 6 and they’re now in their late thirties and you soon realise that their shared history is going to be significant to the story. Rose has a very ordered and domesticated life that she wants to immerse herself in and Polly, an ex-musician, couldn’t be more different. The arrival of Polly and her two sons throws the household into chaos.

As the story unfolds it becomes apparent that Rose is keeping secrets
Dec 06, 2011 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definately a 'read-in-one-sitting' book! They don't come much darker, more disturbing or more ambiguous than this!
As the blurb says Rose appears to have it all, an idyllic country home, two gorgeous daughters, a handsome, talented husband...and then her oldest friend comes to stay and things take a nose-dive. Polly, recently widowed (make your own mind up about that) comes to stay indefinately with her two wild sons and the two families become entwined in a series of mishaps that lead them all i
Yolanda Sfetsos
Feb 18, 2011 Yolanda Sfetsos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2011 Jenni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-author
When I sat down to start reading Julia Crouch's debut novel I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. The synopsis appears to give you an idea of what the book is but as you get drawn deeper and deeper within the book the plot almost seems to swallow you in. I found that the further into the book I got the harder it was to put down, I was more and more gripped with the more I read.

The major characters are all really well written. I found them to be very three dimensional, no character was all good
Feb 27, 2012 Lxxo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cleo Bannister
Aug 11, 2013 Cleo Bannister rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book and it certainly held my attention, I was eager to find out what happens to Polly and Rose the two best friends from Brighton who'd first met at the age of 7.

The book is set in a rural part of England near Bath and describes the pain and pleasures of renovating a home to bring up the perfect family, then.... Polly's husband Christos has died and she wants to bring her boys back from Greece and Polly offers to let them stay.

At first I sympathised with Rose but as the book goes o
Derek Bell
A deeply unsettling and sinister read. Crouch avoids falling into the complete Single White Female/Home Invasion cliche although at times you think she is heading straight for it. I had very little sympathy for any of the characters, including the children, and at times found myself wishing something bad would happen to them all. It seemed to me that Crouch was deliberately doing this, I felt increasingly ambiguous about Rose and that we were not being let into all her story but getting what she ...more
Aug 15, 2011 Chrissi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This book is truly amazing. I can't believe that it was Julia Crouch's first novel. It is very very deep and disturbing. It is written so well I devoured it quickly. It may seem like it is geared towards a female audience but I don't think it is, I think males could enjoy this book too. It's extremely compelling.

The characters are wonderfully written. Some I absolutely hated and wanted them to get what they deserved. Others I empathised with. I was shocked by the ending which I got to quit
Nov 06, 2013 Chloe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Certainly a page-turner, but I found I was frustrated by the story line most of the time. Frustrated at the main character for not seeing what was under her nose. This is quite unlike me really, I'm normally happy to go with the flow in books like these.

But anyway, that aside, it was a good book with a necessary twist at the end - one that wasn't very pleasing perhaps, but suited the story.
Nov 25, 2011 Patsy rated it really liked it
I did enjoy it my main criticism being that it left too many unanswered questions at the end which i don't like, i think if you're going to write a book then please finish it.
Rebecca McNutt
May 06, 2016 Rebecca McNutt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has vague elements of more modern psychological thriller films such as Orphan (2009). With its sinister characters and built-up suspense, it's really a great novel.
Stephanie Karaolis
Cuckoo is a surprising, frustrating, engrossing psychological thriller. I added this to my holiday reading list, having seen it recommended by Sophie Hannah – one of my favourite authors of the genre – so I had high hopes. And, while I perhaps wasn’t quite as bowled over by this debut as I was by Little Face, I found myself thinking about the unresolved questions and trying to explain the complicated plot to my other half several days after finishing it, which for me is a sign of a good book.

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 19, 2011 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed at

Julia Crouch’s debut novel, Cuckoo, is about two childhood friends, Rose and Polly. Inseparable in their youth, Rose doesn’t think twice before inviting Polly and her children to stay with her family when they have nowhere else to turn. But soon, everything in Rose’s life starts to go wrong – and it seems like Polly is behind it all.

I can’t reveal too much of the plot without spoiling anything – this is, after all, a thriller, and a twisty plot is to be expected. S
Bill Kupersmith
Sep 17, 2012 Bill Kupersmith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’d wanted to read one of Julia Crouch’s novels because they kept cropping up on as choices by English readers who enjoyed some of my favourites, especially Elizabeth Haynes’s Revenge of the Tide. As Julia Crouch has not yet found favour with the editors in New York who decide what we Yanks are allowed to read (at least with affordable postage), I had to make do with a used copy that had to be shipped over. And I very much enjoyed Cuckoo.

The character Polly was a marvellous (quite l
Feb 25, 2011 Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
Cuckoo by Julia Crouch is a seriously deep book, full of class, intrigue and a complexity that was so unexpected it was a delight to read – despite an overwhelming darkness that oozed from within. Published by Headline on March 3rd the book had me from the get go. On reading the accompanying blurb (below) and dust jacket I did wonder if the book was aimed at the female market (especially with the pink suitcase adorning the cover), but it soon became evident that the book is well suited to any ad ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rose has a pretty perfect life - a large country house, two children she adores, a talented husband and happy marriage - and then her recently-widowed childhood friend Polly comes to stay with her two children...

Seeds of doubt about Polly's motives are sown early and the atmosphere gets rapidly darker, so from the outset the reader is keen to know what happens. The sense of menace is compounded by Julia Crouch's vivid writing style - she makes it easy to picture Polly and Rose, husband Gareth an
Jan 20, 2012 Anne rated it liked it
I'd heard lots of great things about Julia Crouch's debut novel Cuckoo, so decided that it would be a good choice to take away on holiday.
Psychological thrillers are fast becoming my favourite genre.

The premise of the story is good, although it's clear from the title that Polly is going to become something of a nightmare. My main gripe with the writing was the constant designer name-dropping and the way that the house, the food, the clothes were described in minute detail. Underneath all of thi
Dec 31, 2013 Helen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I flew through this and marked it as read with 4 stars earlier on. Now a couple of hours have passed and I've time to review it properly, I'm down grading it to 3 stars.

I feel this story didn't go where it should have and the ending was unsatisfactory. Without giving too much away, Polly arrives at the home of Gareth and Rose with her two boys after her husband dies. As the blurb tells you, Polly quickly upsets the happy home.

There were too many things that didn't ring true; why wasn't she throw
Jul 25, 2011 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
I really liked this book, once i started it i really didn't want to put it down....

It's not as girly as the cover suggests, in fact its a very dark psycholoical thriller.

I hated Polly's character from the get go, but as the book progresses you find that all the characters are as flawed and damaged as each other. You see Rose's carefully planned domestic life slowly and dramatically unravel, and its beautifully written also.

This one is definately coming highly recommended!
Nov 11, 2012 Fatema rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The story is disturbing, disgusting, and disappointing. Better not read this novel if you're looking for a thriller because this novel is sadistic and unrealistic.

None of the main characters is mentally stable in my opinion. They all have serious messed up brains which made the story unbelievable and ridiculous.
What a great story.! Julia Crouch sets up the situation very masterfully as the kind heated and generous Rose invites her old friend Polly to stay with her sons after her (Polly's) husband dies unexpectedly. Gradually we begin to see that Polly is very far from a good friend but will Rose realise in time to save her family?
A shocking story that stays in the mind for a long time
Jeni Reid
Mar 27, 2012 Jeni Reid rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I was a bit disappointed by this story. It had great potential but it built up and up to nothing. The ending was very frustrating and the characters not very likeable. The constant passive aggressive conversations between the two women were annoying, more than anything else. Such a shame because the story itself could have been so much more.
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