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Drowning Rose

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  252 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
It is winter in London. Eliza Cummings, a ceramics restorer at the V&A Museum, is leaving work when she receives an unexpected phone call. Standing in the haze of the Christmas lights she hears a voice which draws her back twenty-five years - to the tragic death of her best friend. But why does Rose's father want her to visit him? Why now? And why is he killing her ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published August 2011 by Bloomsbury
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77th out of 138 books — 23 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Miriam Wakerly
Jul 05, 2012 Miriam Wakerly rated it really liked it
I always enjoy Marika Cobbold's books, having read most of them, not just for the characters or the story - I have to say that I could see how this one would end quite early on. No, it is her style that makes me nod and smile; witty, dark and quite ascerbic at times but always perceptive, making you feel that she observes life around her and makes a note of things she sees and hears for use at some future point in her writing.
Sheryl Browne
Oct 29, 2011 Sheryl Browne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves a hugely satisfying read
Drowning Rose by Marika Cobbold I first read Marika Cobbold a while back when a publisher recommended her to me. I had yet to care for someone with dementia. When I had come through that life experience, ‘Guppies for Tea’ became all the more poignant for me. Simply, Marika Cobbold writes real people, beautifully, and always balanced with just the right amount of humour. People you can identify with and recognise your own strengths and weaknesses through. I always feel as if I’m settling down with a huge box of chocolates whe ...more
Oct 03, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it
Shelves: borrowed
“What do you say to a man whose life you destroyed?”

Eliza believes that she destroyed the life of Ian, her godfather. Rose, her best friend and Ian’s daughter, drowned at a party when the two were schoolgirls. Eliza feels responsible.

Twenty-five years later Eliza has become an expert in the restoration of porcelain, working for the V & A and undertaking private commissions. But she hasn’t managed to put her life back together, after the death of Rose, after a painful separation from her husb
Donna Irwin
Feb 21, 2012 Donna Irwin rated it it was amazing
Haven't read a Marika Cobbold novel in ages but loved this one. Totally absorbing, gripped to the end. Felt so so involved with the central characters,
John Champneys
Jan 14, 2012 John Champneys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I fell straight into this book and became absorbed to such an extent I began to swear every time I was interrupted by somebody wanting something. OK, what they wanted was to remind me that it was time for me to eat, or go to bed; or perhaps I’d care to get into the car which I’d called for earlier and it had been waiting for me for 25 minutes. Annoying irrelevant things like that. Things to do with Me. That’s the extent to which it dragged me away from my own annoyances. Opening my Android ...more
Nov 21, 2016 Gail rated it it was ok
Silly annoying characters. Taking the glib tone too far.
Aug 31, 2016 Nancy rated it liked it
The author seems to have two styles of novels centered on a main character, a woman, one style rather whimsical and the other a bit darker and where the female protagonist is more difficult (i.e. having a certain degree of intensity, that challenges others as well as herself). This is one of the latter (Along with "Frozen Music" and "Shooting Butterflies") and the style I enjoy the most.

The author writes very well, but not often enough, to the point where I order the book from Great Britain beca
Aug 17, 2012 Sue rated it it was amazing
Drowning Rose is one of the most beautifully written books I have read for a very long time. The story is centred on Eliza, a ceramics restorer, who tries to restore everything except for her own shattered life. She blamed herself for the death of her friend, Rose, at boarding school and her life has since been blighted by guilt. The themes of waste and reparation are present on many levels throughout the book. The narrative, provided by Eliza, is interspersed with accounts by Sandra/Cassandra, ...more
Dale Harcombe
Sep 22, 2013 Dale Harcombe rated it liked it
Three and a half stars. I was so excited when I found this at the library as I have loved several others of Marika Cobbold’s books. The story is told in two voices. One is Eliza and the other that of Sandra/Cassandra.
Eliza lives with guilt, feeling responsible for her part in her friend Rose’s death. Rose had been her best friends at an exclusive boarding school. The pictures of boarding school life particularly those from Sandra/ Cassandra’s point of view made me glad I was never subjected to
Jan 05, 2014 Lara rated it really liked it
Very absorbing read, increasingly so the further you get.

Eliza Cummings is the protagonist. She has grown up guilt ridden since the death of her best friend when they were teenagers, and has always believed that the father of the deceased blames her for the accident. She is shocked to hear his voice, calling from Sweden, after so many years of silence. He, Ian, forces kindness on Eliza, who keeps trying to reject it. As she processes her guilt in the present day, we revisit her teenage years, r
Pete Denton
Apr 26, 2012 Pete Denton rated it it was amazing
I don’t usually like reading books where we have two first-person narrators. In the past, I’ve stopped reading more than one book written this way. Confused my little brain!

Not this book.

Both first-person narrators are well-defined and there is even a heading telling you each time the narrator changes. (Always helpful)

The main protagonist is Eliza Cummings. Her story’s set in the present as she struggles to live her life 25-years after the death of Rose, her best friend from school.

Eliza’s story
Jessica Gaskin
Mar 03, 2012 Jessica Gaskin rated it really liked it
The exploration of emotions in allows an almost instant feeling of intimacy with the characters. The reader is aware at all times that the story is being told through two slants, each skewed from the truth for reasons of their own. This forces the reader to grasp for the truth between the lines and makes for a gripping read. The story is compelling but let down slightly by the ending, which I felt brought it back to the predictability it had managed to avoid until that point. The characters are ...more
Jun 07, 2014 Helen rated it really liked it
Not read anything by this author before, so came to this with no particular expectations. Switches between the voice of Eliza, in the present (aged 41) and one of her schoolfriends, mainly in the past (25 years before). Eliza blames herself for the death of her best friend Rose, having always believed that she was responsible for her death. This has affected the rest of her life. Her godfather, who is also Rose's father, contacts her near the end of his life because he wants to put things right ...more
Cleo Bannister
Jun 18, 2014 Cleo Bannister rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, own
I wasn't sure about this book when I started it as I found Eliza's voice overly chatty, jumping from subject to subject but all this changed fairly quickly and I got drawn into the story. Eliza and Cassandra tell us in there own words about their lives in the sixth form at a select boarding school. It details Eliza's relationship with her Godfather now an elderly man which are acutely drawn, subtle yet profound.

Marika Cobbold draws an accurate picture of how women often behave and think, the ski
Kathleen Jones
May 08, 2012 Kathleen Jones rated it liked it
I didn't think this was as good as Marika Cobbold's 'Shooting Butterflies' - though the heroines are rather similar - both fortyish, childless, edgy, and damaged by events in their childhood. Both books open with a big 'hook' - in Shooting Butterflies, the heroine receives a birthday present from her dead lover; in Drowning Rose, it's a telephone call from the man whose life, she believes, she destroyed. In each book there are two narrators. In Drowning Rose the story is narrated by a grown-up ...more
Eliza Cummings has gone through life feeling responsible for the death of one her school friends, Rose. Rose's father is now dying and wants to reconcile with Eliza. In flashbacks we gradually find out what happened to Rose and what led to her death.

I enjoyed this novel a lot more than I thought I was going to and found that it grew on me as it went along. It's written mainly in two voices, Eliza who narrates what is happening in the present, and another character who tells us what happened in t
Feb 21, 2012 Daffy rated it liked it
Uncle Ian finds his god-daughter Eliza very irritating. So did I, so much so that I put the book aside. After a while, I decided to persevere and glad I did as Eliza became less irritating. Uncle Ian was of the same view as he gave Eliza a house. In Hampstead.

Ultimately, I found this a pleasant read that unravels the circumstances that surrounded the death many years ago of Rose who was Ian's daughter and Eliza's best friend. As other reviewers have commented, there are no suprises, indeed the p
Mar 10, 2015 Grace rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books-read
2.5 stars

It took me a little while to get into this book. Overall the story was good but I felt the authors style let it down quite a bit. I have read other books written in this style where the story is told from different view points of the characters and goes forwards and backwards in time. I felt the author took a long time to get to the heart of story. I'm not sure that I would read another book by this author.
Sarah Hazeldine
Dec 27, 2015 Sarah Hazeldine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking read

Enjoyably written and cleverly plotted this book kept me hooked throughout. In Eliza you find a character that is infuriating and damaged but likeable for all her flaws. Certain characters are perhaps not developed enough which makes them almost stereotypical but in a relatively short novel this is not a deal breaker. A good read that makes you reflect on grief and guilt.
Feb 13, 2014 Sarah rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, but wasn't wowed by it. I found it well written, with clever observations of life and interesting characters. I enjoyed the two person narrative, although I found Sandra unlikeable, and Eliza a bit irritating (much like Uncle Ian. Like Uncle Ian I warmed to Eliza later in the story). It was pretty obvious from quite early on what had happened to Rose, but interesting to see the events unfold.
Apr 17, 2012 MetLineReader rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
It was a bit bland for me. Nothing horrendous about it, don't regret reading it, but it left me a bit "so what"?
I wasn't really fussed about any of the characters and I wasn't really fussed what happened... It wasn't gripping enough - i didnt feel that I had to read it above all else

The characters could have been less one-dimensional -- it was a good premise but failed to deliver anything beyond a "nice" story that passed the time. A disappointment for me.
Lou Nixon
May 27, 2016 Lou Nixon rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
I wasn't expecting this to be as dark as it was-it was exciting and a page turner. I had guessed the end by about halfway through, however the language and the descriptions were so good-this didn't affect my enjoyment of it. I loved Eliza, I felt awful and angry at Cassandra. I love books that make me react to the characters like they7 are real people. Another goodun' from Marika Cobbold. She is in my top ten favourite authors.
Sallyann Van leeuwen
First book I have read of Marika Coppold. I liked it, didn't love it. It didn't hold any surprises, but it was an interesting story of a middle aged woman who has been affected by guilt from a tragedy that happened at a boarding school when she was 16. Won't rush to read everything by this author, but would pick up another of her books from the library.
Feb 25, 2012 WR rated it really liked it
This was a rather simple book, telling a story through a series of flashbacks. It appealed to me coz I'm one of those people who go on guilt trips quite easily. And over silly things too. So this was a good reminder to look forward, rather than stay hung up over little things, and to live up to one's potential rather than leaving room for regret.
Nov 15, 2011 Maevis rated it liked it
Shelves: drama
Drowning Rose is an enjoyable, light read. It follows the story of a woman dealing with her past and her guilt and is intercepted with snippets from the past. I must admit I found the storyline somewhat predictable but it was still an engaging read that did not require too much brain-power to follow along!
Ilyhana Kennedy
Mar 05, 2015 Ilyhana Kennedy rated it liked it
I found this novel fairly ordinary reading, a predictable 'mystery' though I did appreciate the motif of the ceramic repair as it was woven through the story.
More like teenage fiction, the characters are defined in schoolgirl terms and dialogue. The book does however, point to the mystery of lives spent under false interpretations of traumatic events.
Aug 18, 2011 Zehra rated it it was amazing
A wonderfully gripping read, which I recommend highly, my review of this book was published in Avrupa newspaper and on my blog here
Jan 05, 2014 Lizabet rated it really liked it
My first time reading a Marika Cobbold book and so glad i did. I found it hard to put down and just had to find out what happened next. I thought it was well written and the characters very believable. I can't wait to read more of her books.
Mar 14, 2013 Ginny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disappointing read... just wasn't drawn in enough from the beginning and wasn't made to care enough about the characters. The ending also seemed quite rushed which was frustrating as up to that point the whole story felt very dragged out. Such a pretty cover... must learn not to judge a book...
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I was born in Gothenburg Sweden into a family of readers and writers. My father is a newspaper editor and columnist, as is my brother. My mother, who stayed at home looking after the family, furnished the walls of every room with shelves full of books. We were a family that read and discussed and whereas there were restrictions about what we were allowed to watch on TV, and comic books were ...more
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