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The Unmaking of Ellie Rook

4.63  ·  Rating details ·  24 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A single phone call from halfway across the world is all it takes to bring her home . . . 'Ellie, something bad has happened.'

Desperate to escape her 'kid from the scrapyard' reputation, Ellie Rook has forged a new life for herself abroad, but tragedy strikes when her mother, Imelda, falls from a notorious waterfall. Here, according to local legend, the warrior queen Finel
Paperback, 208 pages
Published July 11th 2019 by Polygon
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4.63  · 
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 ·  24 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Philomena Callan Cheekypee
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: loved-it
I’ve read Bone Deep by this author and loved it so I was looking forward to reading another from her.

According to legend, Finella , a fierce Pictish queen, jumped to certain death from a waterfall after killing the King of Scotland. When Ellie Rook’s mother, Imelda, disappears from the same spot, Ellie is forced to confront some disturbing truths about the family she left behind and the woman she has become.

Ellie gets a phone call that’s gonna change her life forever. Her mother’s missing, pres
Rachel Bridgeman
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: july-2019
This is a truly magical novel that I would defy anyone reading it not to be moved by. How far can you run to get away from yourself?

No matter where in the world you go(and in Ellie's case it's Vietnam), something or someone will eventually pull you home-whether duty or a longing to reconnect, this happens to Ellie when her mother goes missing, and is presumed dead.

Her connection to a Pictish queen via her name, the location of her mother's disappearance (the site of Finella, the Pictish Queen's
Kate Avery
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourites-2019
Rating 4.5/5

This is the first time I have read a Sandra Ireland book and I wasn’t sure what to expect because when I saw the size of it I wondered if it could deliver on the promise of such an intriguing blurb with so few pages. I needn’t have given it a thought, this book definitely falls into the small but mighty category, considering its short length I had no idea just how much of an emotional rollercoaster I would be taken on.

I feel like I have so many good things I want to say but I just do
Jul 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
What starts as one young woman’s summons home in the aftermath of her mother’s death at a local beauty spot, steeped in legend, quickly becomes something altogether darker and more troubling.

Sandra Ireland has made use of folklore before in her writing but nowhere is it more inextricably linked to her modern-day story than here in The Unmaking of Ellie Rook. Ellie was named for the Queen whose escape from those pursuing her became the stuff of legend.

It’s a story her mother, Imelda, told her tim
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ellie Rook is named for huntress Finella who is in a folk tale her mother used to tell her all the time when she was a little girl. Finella was strong and brave and could do anything and Ellie's mum instilled the idea in her girl that she was the same. Despite being close to her mum, Ellie could not bear living with her controlling father any longer and left to see the world. It would be the making of her, her mother told her. Now her mother has disappeared in circumstances worryingly similar to ...more
Misfits farm
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Unmaking of Ellie Rook by Sandra Ireland 1st July- Kelly
(*Trigger warning* domestic abuse ) Ellie was in Vietnam when she got a phone call from home saying something dreadful had happened. She arrives back to find her family adrift, other than her father who wants to carry on as if everything is alright his typical approach to anything, always acting as king of the scrap. Her brother River and his mother were walking by the local waterfall which they know very well. River turned and suddenl
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is up there with my best reads of the year so far.  Brilliantly written, fast-paced, I finished this in 2 gulps.

A story of psychological and physical abuse within a family, with members torn between getting away for their own survival, or coming together to protect each other.

Despite being close to her mother, Ellie leaves home to escape the clutches of her controlling father and start afresh.  Then the phone call comes through - Ellie's mum has disappeared, assumed to have fallen into a lo
Mrs Marion E Todd
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an enchanting tale with increasingly darker undertones, referencing the legend of Finella that underpins the narrative.

The title character, Ellie Rook, returns home when her mother is missing, presumed dead. With a gentle pace and lightness of touch, Sandra Ireland reveals Ellie's back story and the dynamics of the clannish Rook family, always the outsiders. The more we learn, the more we fear as Ellie's father grows more menacing with every chapter.

When the truth is revealed, the tensi
Angie Rhodes
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
Ellie Rook, who as a child, spent most of her days, running wild, dirty and getting into fights, leaving home in the Scrapyard, gentle mother, brother and bullying father behind , she finally goes traveling, backpacking round Vietnam, until the one phone call that changes her life forever.
Her mother is missing, drowned people are saying, but each witness has a different story.
Is there a connection between Finella, whom her mother told the most wonder stories about and her disappearance?
Sandra I
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was asked to review this book by Lovereading and as it was the Easter break I was really keen to sit outside in the sunshine and read this intriguing novel.

Ellie fed up with her life leavers behind her mother, father and brother and goes off to Europe. a phone call brings her back. Various stories emerge regarding her mothers disappearance - has she drowned or what has happened.

Ellie has to confront the past and decide if folklore has something to do with her mother.

This was so intriguing myst
Charlotte Walker
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very well written and packs a real punch in it's 197 or so pages.
The characters are incredibly well written, with every subtle gesture telling you more and more. I have seen another review include a trigger warning in their comments for domestic abuse and it's definitely should be flagged. The plot development is brilliant, mixing the elements of crime fiction, the legend of Finella, the family drama of Ellie and her brother and father as well as relationship stories all interwoven.
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I don’t actually know what to say, I was left a bit speechless by the time I had raced through the book, devouring it. It’s one staying on my forever shelf’s and a tale that will stay with me for a long time to come. My full review is up on the blog. As part of the love books group blog tour
Jane Kelsey
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have a lot of thoughts in regards to this book, unsure exactly of my rating but I believe 4.5 is what it will settle at. Had a few issues at the ending, but otherwise a great book.
Gwen McGinty
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
“The story says Finella may have survived the fall, that she was washed into the sea and picked up by a boat.”

Ellie Rook’s mother has disappeared, supposedly fallen from the waterfall at the Den of Finella, just like the heroine of the story from Ellie’s childhood. Did she fall? Was she pushed? Or does this story have more to tell?

This is a strange little book – part domestic drama, part crime fiction, and sprinkled with just a little folklore, it has just enough darkness and tension to keep you
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was sent an ecopy of this book in order to take part in the blog tour. This has not influenced my rating.
Mary Picken
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sandra Ireland is carving out rather a nice niche for herself, taking some of the ancient folk tales of Scotland and turning them into contemporary allegorical stories, full of rich imagery and delicate, poetic accounts. I loved Bone Deep and The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is equally strong.

Ellie Rook is a young woman recently returned home from her travels abroad to her family’s scrapyard business in rural Aberdeenshire after a phone call tells her that her mother has gone missing. The Rook family
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sandra Ireland’s third novel, The Unmaking of Ellie Rook cements her place as the queen of Scottish folklore-inspired domestic noir. Loosely based around the legend of Finella, a noblewoman who lured a Scottish king to his death in revenge for the murder of her son, The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is a contemporary work exploring family secrets, abusive relationships and love.

Ellie Rook is working abroad when she receives a phone call from Scotland that forces her home. Her mother has gone missing ne
Karen Huxtable
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you so much to Kelly at Love Book Group Tours for the invitation to the tour and to Polygon for the gifted copy of the book.

I knew the book was about a girl Ellie who had left her home and family to start a new life but wow! there was so much more to it than that.

I loved tension that the author manages to instil in this story and the writing so descriptive that I had no trouble at all imagining that I was there at Rooks Scrapyard with Ellie and her dysfunctional family.

The story is written
Book Inspector
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
The protagonist in this novel was Ellie, and the whole story was told from her perspective. Ellie comes back to her hometown after the news, that her mother drowned. But as I was going through the pages, it was clear, that Rook family is a very dysfunctional one, hiding many horrible secrets. I really liked the way the author chose her characters, they all have a story to tell, they all are interesting and play very important parts in this book. I liked the way Ellie opened up and shared her sto ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Unmaking of Ellie Rook has various depths that touch upon unsettling themes, from family toxicity to the dynamic pecking order within a hostile family situation. The Rooks live a very independent life in terms of dealing with aspects of family life with minimal outside socialisation. This changes when Ellie is drawn back home after her mother has disappeared, she returns to her childhood as soon as she steps over her father's doors threshold. Sandra Ireland coaxes you into the Rook's life wi ...more
Yvonne Banham
rated it it was amazing
Jul 13, 2019
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Jun 24, 2019
Polygon Books
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Jul 11, 2019
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Sandra Ireland was born in England but lived for many years in Éire before returning ‘home’ to Scotland in the 1990s. She is the author of Beneath the Skin, a psychological thriller, which was shortlisted for a Saltire Literary Award in 2017. Her second novel, Bone Deep, a modern Gothic tale of sibling rivalry, inspired by an old Scottish folktale, will be published in the UK by Polygon in July, a ...more