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3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,137 ratings  ·  235 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. ...more
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Headline
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,137 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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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
Kirsty Hill
Aug 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
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)
Jul 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: great
Good thriller.
Dec 06, 2011 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
Mary Thomas
May 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book contained

Endless breastfeeding

Constant alcohol consumption whilst breastfeeding. Really and you wonder why your baby is vacant.

Unlikeable characters ranging from smug middle class escaping to the country armed with the wellies and Barbour jackets to the drug addled anorexic singer.

Even the children were horrible. I love a good profanity but a nine year old using the c word and no one
mentions it. Unbelievable.

The constant cheating without a second thought.

The worst thing though was t
Sue G
Mar 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-but-gone
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
Nov 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
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.
Yolanda Sfetsos
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Cleopatra  Pullen
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2012 rated it did not like it
This was like watching a train wreak. It didn't get any better, though I hoped like anything that it would. I should have stopped reading but I hoped the climax would have been worth it. It wasn't.

What an awful storyline. People cheating, people drinking in abundance (including while pregnant and breast feeding - awful example of a mother despite proclaiming that she never fed her children anything unorganic yadda yadda).

And if anyone EVER threatened my children like what happened in this book,
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Suzy Quinn
Oct 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Haven't enjoyed a book so much in years. The writing is magical, and the characters utterly original and believable. The sinister Polly character is just right as the cuckoo in the nest - not over the top bad, but very dark and dangerous. Completely thrilling, I promise anyone, male, female, young, old, this book won't disappoint! ...more
Mar 27, 2012 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.
May 30, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: review
In 'Cuckoo', Rose is living her dream life with her husband and children. She spends her idyllic days doting on them. However, everything changes when when she learns that her best friend, Polly is widowed after the untimely death of her husband. Inviting Polly to stay with them turns out to be a mistake…

The exciting albeit run-of-the-mill premise piqued my interest. The idea of someone you care about moving in with you and wreaking havoc on your life was incredibly promising. Unfortunately, the
Apr 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. Stories and secrets from the wom
Feb 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Derek Bell
Mar 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
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
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Julie Tynan
Aug 04, 2012 rated it did not like it
The concept had promise but the execution was poor. Unrealistic, twee and the ending was a let down. In top of that I had no empathy with the protagonist.
Abigail T
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I haven’t been this annoyed at a book for a long time!! I hated the characters including the main character Rose. I don’t know if she was supposed to be likeable or not but I wanted to throttle her. I can’t say to much about the most annoying points in the story as this review would then be one mega spoiler. I found the story dragged and I really struggled to finish ... just one question... I don’t have children myself but is it alright to get pissed most nights then breastfeed a child the next ...more
Helen the Bassist
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
There are three people in this marriage...

Polly and Rose have been best friends since they were children...their lives took widely different paths but when tragedy strikes and Polly thrusts herself back into Rose's happy family life it slowly becomes apparent that the relationship is more toxic than one could imagine.

This book had a subtle undertone of menace from the start but nearer the end, with some of the plot twists, it became gradually harder to suspend disbelief.

Finally , I don't want to
Helena Wildsmith
This is a tricky one to review - I was gripped by the plot but the characters were all SO unbelievable. I'm not going to spoil anything but the fact that Rose didn't immediately kick out Polly after the first incident is astonishing. In fact, their whole twisted friendship and what it's based on is astonishing. And then Rose's 6 year old daughter (I have a daughter almost the same age) is able to single handedly nurse a baby bird back to health, make chocolate ice cream and pour her tired Mummy ...more
Dec 04, 2020 rated it liked it
I’m giving this 3 stars as the story was exciting, I read it really quickly. However, I felt the writing wasn’t brilliant, and the ending was a little far-fetched. Perhaps 2.5 stars.
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.

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