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A Little Bird Told Me

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  204 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Besides, if you were one half evil, wouldn't you want to know about the other half?

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido and tagging after her brother. It’s the perfect holiday – except for the crying women her mum keeps bringing home.

As the heatwave boils on, tensions in the town begin to simmer. Everyone is gossiping about her mum,
Published September 13th 2018 by Agora Books
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3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  204 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Whispering Stories
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Reviewed by Julie on

‘A Little Bird Told Me’ is the debut novel from British-based author, Marianne Holmes. The story is told in the first person, the present tense and seen exclusively from the perspective of Robyn, the ‘Little Bird’ of the title. The chapters are interspersed with segment breaks and alternate from the summer of 1976 when Robyn is nine and late-September 1988, when she is 21.

A stranger appears in town and gives nine-year-old Robyn a present. We dis
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: What Kit knows and what I know is not the same. I have become my own secret curator of the facts. It's all in the suitcase I keep under my bed along with all the other monsters.

Matthew and Kit think they can protect me even now by keeping the past hidden. But they’re wrong. I already know more than they think.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Besides, if you were one half evil, wouldn't you want to know about the other half?

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido a
Liz Barnsley
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Read the entirety of this book this morning – a beautifully written literary mystery with a gorgeously immersive sense of place and time – anyone who ran wild through the Summers of the 70’s and 80’s will relate strongly to this story, although hopefully none of them had a Summer exactly like these…
This is also a multi layered family drama, we watch through the eyes of young main protagonist Robyn as she tries to understand and interpret adult behaviour, her own secretive nature and sense of sel
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A little bird told me that this was a very special book to read and I totally agree!!!

Beautifully written I was transfixed from the start to the finish.

Told in 2 timelines, the summer of 1976 and 1988.

In 1976 Robyn lives with her mother, step father Mathew and brother Christopher ( Kit). A strange man in a cowboy hat is hanging around the lido, he hands Robyn 2 wooden babies but when her mother sees them she panics and says they will have to leave but does not explain why.

This was a very intrig
Lucy Banks
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.

Lyrical, engrossing - with a clever twist at the end.

I do love it when I receive a book from a new author; the chance to dive into a fresh perspective and a different voice. Marianne Holmes certainly has that; with a lovely style of writing and a story that's intriguing, with a 'didn't see it coming' twist at the end.

Without giving too much away, the story is set in two different times -1988 (the present) and the 1970s. It becomes clear
ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ

Neil is shouting at us to wait for him, but we can’t because we are unstoppable and glorious and made of wind.

The novel takes place in 1976 and 1988. I particularly enjoyed the 1976 chapters, when Kit and Robyn were children. I was quite taken with the emotion I felt while reading this book, the author writes that well. Her characters are well defined, broken and tortured in many ways. Robyn's relationship with her mother and her brother and the way she comes to terms with her childhood is bri
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
'A Little Bird Told Me' is a heartfelt and wonderful debut from a strong new voice in the fiction genre, Marianne Holmes. With a truly beautiful cover, an evocative narrative and dark, twisty and unpredictable story. This book is deceptively dark, and significantly moreso than the synopsis indicates. I was immersed in the story and characters from the word go, but I did find that I had many unanswered questions by the time I reached and read the conclusion, which also left me feeling deflated. I ...more
thanks to netgalley and the publishers for a free copy in return for a honest review

interesting debut novel split between 2 different period. felt however the book did get bogged down a bit though but interesting plot though
Karen Mace
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
When a story constantly makes reference to a family with the same surname as you, you find yourself a little more invested in a book and that is exactly how I felt whilst reading this!  It was quite a shock to see the surname 'Mace' when it first popped up in this gripping drama, and I just kept hoping that terrible things weren't about to befall this family!! It became personal haha!!

But the tension throughout this book was the hook that kept me transfixed! It follows 2 siblings - Robyn and Kit
Paula DeBoard
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for a review copy of this book.

Based on its description, I thought I would love this book--a child narrator, an evocative sense of place, an unsolved mystery. In reality I found myself questioning the main character's decisions and wishing the storyline moved faster. Still--a good read.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Aug 08, 2018 rated it liked it
via my blog:
'Don’t cry, I think, watching as she swallows hard. Crying is for bigger things than this.'

Growing up with secrets doesn’t make for any easy life, it is 1976 and Robin likes to go swimming, trail after her brother Kit, and dodge encounters with the bully Debbie and her ‘gonks’. At home, the atmosphere is heavy with the weeping of women whom her mother often tries to save from themselves, or abusive spouses. Then there is the mysterious cowboy, w
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's the summer of 1976 and nine-year-old Robyn and her older brother Kit are spending most of their time at the Lido and the park with their friends.

The two children live with their mother Jemima and stepfather Matthew but it's Robyn, also known as 'Little Bird', who witnesses an incident at their home involving their mother, an upset neighbour with her young son and an irate husband. Add to this, a tall stranger wearing a cowboy hat seemingly always in the background and it's not only the weat
Clair Sharpe
This is a literary mystery story told in two timeframes, the long hot summer of 1976 and 12 years later in 1988. In 1976, Robyn lives with her mum, stepdad and brother Kit and is enjoying the school holidays that are seemingly going on forever, hanging out with her friend and brother and swimming at the Lido. Robyn’s mum gets involved in a domestic abuse incident when a mother and son come to stay with them. After the wife goes back home and ends up in hospital, the son is taken away, and father ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Little Bird Told Me is a well-written book that catches your attention from start to finish. This suspenseful page-turner is told in the span of two different timelines and displays an intriguing story is about truth, lies, mysterious circumstances and who should pay for them. You’ll love the twists and turns. I’d love to read a sequel to this debut read especially since there were a few characters I wanted to know what was next for them.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher
Nusrat Mahmood
Sep 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I don't know why I was so bot into this book from the very first page. I tried so hard to like it but the story progressing made me bore and dizzy. Moreover the suspense took a lot of time to be built and there were some plot confusion . Why a woman didn't keep herself low rather than made her and her family a centre of attention where she flew away from something is very unusual . Though the character development of kit and robyn is praisable.
★★★ from me!
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a terrific debut novel, I take my hat off to the author who has recreated the long hot summer of 1976 and turned it into a simmering heat haze of suspicion, misunderstandings and mystery.

A Little Bird Told Me is the story of siblings Robyn (nicknamed Little Bird) and her older brother Chistopher also known as Kit.

The book sweeps effortlessly back and forth in time from 1976 when the pair were children and 1988 when as young adults, they return to the small town of their childhood so that Ro
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it

It seems that everyone in Britain, who was around at the time and at all old enough to remember, has some recollection of that long, hot summer of 1976. The water shortages, the standpipes in the street. (I was eight; I mainly remember it as the summer my granddad died. Though I do remember the standpipes in the street.) Robyn in this book is around the same age in 1976 - I think she’s nine - and sees the events and mystifying behaviour of the adults around her - centring around her mother Jemim
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to NetGalley for sharing this book.

I loved the book. Will recommend this to anyone.

I was unable to put down this book. I loved all the characters (except 2).

After reading I was bit confused on the ending. At times I feel it's incomplete. But in fact, it was a beautiful way to end the book.

Sometimes, its better not to know what had happened in the past and its better to let go. I would have preferred not to know what happened. Its so terrible. But Robyn was so brave to face it and find a
Zoe Mann
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
I have changed my rating to a 2 star ⭐⭐. Having only completed 'A little bird told me' a couple of weeks ago I have hardly any recollection of what it was about. I remember the basic plot but can't remember specifics or the characters names etc. I think that, in itself, speaks volumes. So to sum this book up for me, it is . . Forgettable.

I like to still give a description of books for others even if I haven't enjoyed them myself but nothing at all stands out to me that I should mention. Sorry f
Jade Simcox (3 Degrees Of Fiction)
In this book we follow Robyn and her brother Christopher. We have 2 POV's Robyn as a young girl and Robyn in present day (1988) We have the build up to what happened and the aftermath. You could see a young child that things were being kept from Robyn and people were doing it to protect her. The story is set in a small town were no one forgets that past and everyone is in your business. Which isn't always a good thing. You would of thought that Robyn and Christopher's Mom would of kept a low pro ...more
Aimee Walker Editorial

‘Besides, if you were one half evil, wouldn’t you want to know about the other half?

In the scorching summer of 1976, Robyn spends her days swimming at the Lido and tagging after her brother. It’s the perfect holiday – except for the crying women her mum keeps bringing home.
As the heatwave boils on, tensions in the town begin to simmer. Everyone is gossiping about her mum, a strange man is following her around, and worst of all, no one will tell Robyn the truth. But this town isn’t good at ke
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is about a past that nobody wants to unravel including the town residents. It's a slow, suspenseful read. There's touching affection and intimacy between Robyn and her brother Christopher (aka Kit) after the trauma of their half-forgotten childhood. I love the way Kit, and some other characters refer to Robyn as "Litlle Bird," What the book portrays so well is the anguish youngsters feel trying to evaluate the words and actions of adults. I recall from my childhood overhearing fragment ...more
Aug 21, 2018 rated it liked it
The story was a very good one. A long time ago when she was a child bad things happened. The effect on her brother and herself was not a good one. It has effected her todate. Her brother has tried and is trying to move on, but it seems as if Robyn will not let go of the past until it has told her all its secrets.

From the beginning you realise that her sibling knew more than he let on. He was protecting his rather vulnerable sister, whether it was a good thing or not in hindsight maybe not but at
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A new author and a debut novel.
I found this book to be a slow burner but I had to keep reading to find out what happened.
I am still confused, why did Robyn and Kit the two main characters return to the town and the house where so many bad things happened?
What does the man in the cowboy hat really want?
A dysfunctional family and it is set in the 70's and 80's. We get snippets of what actually happened all the way through the book until the very emotional ending.
I still have many questions What wi
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mixed feelings about this one, mostly due to the narrator. Enjoyable but melodramatic. Review here:
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult, arcs
With the book being just under 300 pages I thought I would fly through this book. What I found instead was myself getting extremely confused, drained, and irritated. This book took me a week to finish.
This book has two main problems.
First, it’s normal for a reader to figure things out before the narrator, but if I figure something out immediately in a book about a mystery I expect there to be a twist. What I found instead was reveals of things I already expected-100 pages after I already figured
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 52booksfor2018

A Little Bird Told Me is Marianne Holmes' debut novel and it is truly stunning. The story is narrated by Robyn and switches between the summers of 1976 and 1988. Seeing the story unfold through the eyes of a child, one trying to understand the confusing behaviour of the adults around her, makes the mystery all the more haunting.

The relationship between Robyn and her big brother Kit is one of the many strengths of this book. His memories of the events that led to them having to leave their home a
Nicki Southwell
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-reviews
In the heat of the 1976 summer, Robyn and her brother Kit spend a lot of time as the Lido. Their mother knows where they are and can get on with her own busy life bring another woman back to their house.

Throughout the hottest of weather, there is a man following their mother and the town is gossiping.

Fast forward 12 years and Robyn is back at the family home. |Now it is deserted.

This is a great debut novel and intricate layers of a family drama told so well by the protagonist Robyn. There is a t
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
This title started out strong, but sort of lost me toward the end - told in alternating perspectives between the summers of 1976 and 1988, the book lays out the workings of a particularly dysfunctional family. The writing itself is lovely and compelling, but as the book went on I found myself getting more and more frustrated at how drawn-out the suspense was and how unrealistically the characters behaved toward the end. It was enjoyable as I read it, but I found myself disappointed by the ending ...more
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved this so much. It’s beautifully written and definitely deserves your time. It’s a slow burner that’s worth staying with as Holmes turns up the tension gradually and expertly, to the point where you can’t help but read on to find out what’s going to happen to Robin. Some gorgeous images that stay with you, this is the perfect summer / lazy weekend read.

Thank you to Agora for the advance copy.
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Marianne Holmes was born in Cyprus to RAF parents but is now firmly based in London. After a sensible career in marketing, Marianne is now focusing on her love of language and writing.

A Little Bird Told Me is her first novel.