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The Nesting

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  1,803 ratings  ·  506 reviews
The woods are creeping in on a nanny and two young girls in this chilling modern Gothic thriller.

Architect Tom Faraday is determined to finish the high-concept, environmentally friendly home he's building in Norway – in the same place where he lost his wife, Aurelia, to suicide. It was their dream house, and he wants to honor her with it.

Lexi Ellis takes a job as his nanny
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 3.61  · 
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Chelsea Humphrey
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chelsea by: Berkley Publishing Group
What a solid gothic thriller! No one is more surprised that I am that a book which initially felt like a The Turn of the Key copycat became so much more. Please note going in, that you will need to suspend your disbelief and take this story for what it is: a supernatural (ish) gothic mystery with some heavy handed plot holes that comes out shining at the end.

Lexi has unsuccessfully attempted suicide, and finds herself alarmingly alone in the beginning of this book. Her boyfriend of 8 years turn
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
CJ Cooke writes a hauntingly atmospheric novel with gothic overtones set amidst Norway's magnificent ancient forests and fjords, a location that serves as a central character in itself. The fragile and vulnerable Lexi Ellis is not in a good place, with a broken relationship behind her, she is suicidal, depressed and virtually homeless. Her desperation leads her to take on the identity and CV of another woman, Sophie Hallerton, for the purpose of securing the post of a nanny after she overhears a ...more
Nilufer Ozmekik
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nordic folktales dances with gothic, claustrophobic vibes and waltzes with ghost stories. It’s a gripping, riveting, fast-pacing, astonishing page-turner even though it had some small plot holes and the beginning of the story has resemblances with Ruth Ware’s “Turn of the key”
The story starts Aurelia’s dying: we are in the dark and we are still not sure if she took her own life or somebody killed her.

And then at the next chapter: we witness a suicide attempt of Lexi: who is our other broken, fra
So fucking good! Definitely one of my favorite thrillers of the year - it has such Turn of the Key / The Haunting of Bly Manor vibes. I’m absolutely obsessed with this. All the imagery of the elk and the idea of this river really freaked me out and got to me. This is definitely the stuff of nightmares and I absolutely loved the tone of this book, and the writing is so captivating.

Here’s the vlog where I read this one:
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
C.J. Cooke checked all the boxes and crossed them with a F (for Fjord, frightening, fantastic, etc.) is this Gothic tale set in a house on a cliff over a Norwegian Fjord! I love books where the location is very much a character in the book. The cliffs, the forest, the Fjords, the folklore, the the things that go bump in the night!

Lexi is down on her luck. She finds herself on the streets trying to pick up the pieces of her life. When she overhears a conversation about a Nanny position in Norway,

Lexi is at rock bottom. Her life has never been easy, but at this point, she has days where, truth be told, she would rather not be alive.

After her long-term relationship ends and her best friend basically tells her that she is too much to handle, Lexi knows she must find a way to make a new life for herself.

Riding the train one day, she overhears a conversation that provides her the opportunity to do just that.

Stealing a woman named Sophie's identity, Lexi applies for a position as
Oct 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, 2020-releases
"Vile that the hornet nest should take the shape of a womb, she thinks. With a shudder she imagines a baby inside, its head lowered into the cone."

CJ Cooke's The Nesting isn't necessarily my kind of great story but still great nonetheless. This is my first take on the gothic horror trope and I could say it was such an experience reading this. Everything was just soooo... atmospheric. Imagine a family living in the wilderness in Norwegian woods and unexplainable things keep on happeni
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2021
The Nesting by C.J. Cooke is a 2020 HarperCollins publication.

Had potential, but missed the mark

Lexi Ellis, recovering from a suicide attempt, is desperate for work and a place to live. She manages to steal another woman’s identity- now using the name, 'Sophie', and lands a plum job as a nanny for two girls named Gaia and Coco. The girls’ mother died tragically, and their father is determined to complete the home they had begun building before her death.

Despite her inexperience, Lexi quickly a
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc

A beautifully compelling tale of Gothic suspense and Nordic folklore from (new-to-me) author, C.J. Cooke, who has just earned her way onto my 'must-read' list.

Admittedly, after reading the first few chapters, I was struck by how much The Nesting reminded me of Ruth Ware's The Turn of the Key. It quickly evolved into something very different, however, making use of beautifully vivid prose and positively gorgeous descriptions of's fjords, natural beauty, wildlife
Sep 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The offering by Ms Cooke combines elememnts of Gothic novel, suspense and thriller all set in modern-day Norway, with references to Norwegian folklore.
Lexi Ellis, after at attempted suicide, manages by a trick to get a position of a nanny to two girls whose mother died in mysterious circumstances.
The story was quite engaging, and kudos to the reader, Ms Kala whose interpretation is truly good. Some moments were beyond my believability, however, I suppressed it in order to enjoy this book.
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

The only thing I enjoyed about this book is the kinda gothic atmosphere, the setting, and the Norwegian folklore references. Otherwise I really didn’t think that there was anything “thrilling” about this book. There wasn’t anything really happening and I don’t think we even get any answers by the end. There were numerous plot holes!!! I don’t know, this just seemed so pointless? There were no twists, nothing shocking or scary. It was just really flat. Even after finishing it, I couldn’t
Dannii Elle
Lexi's life is falling apart. Her boyfriend has left her, her best friend has moved in to take her place alongside him, she has no home to call her own, and her depression is weighing heavily upon every decision she makes. A chance encounter and an overheard conversation could prove her salvation, however.

Despite owning no qualifications to do so, Lexi impersonates nanny Sophie and moves to Norway to enrol as caretaker for two motherless girls. Their father, and her new boss, is an award-winning
Diana | Book of Secrets
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book. THE NESTING is a Gothic mystery with Nordic folklore woven into the story, which sounds like something I'd love, but unfortunately it didn't work for me. The main character Lexi ends up as a nanny in Norway under false pretenses, with the false pretenses part being a weak plotline.

Was there a solid plot? Was this horror or mystery? I'm not sure about either question. The mother of the two girls Lexi is caring for d
I'll admit, I have rather low opinion of "thrillers." The weak female characters, the intellectually lazy sadism, the cliched storylines. But I do enjoy a gothic tale.

It does not get off to a great start. Lexi is recovering from a failed suicide attempt and her support system is comprised of a boyfriend who kicks her out, a pal who dumps her, and an abusive characature of a mother. With no place to go and no one to rely on, Lexi just happens to overhear a girl named Sophie say she is going to tu
Samantha Downing
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Nesting is a gorgeous, atmospheric book that chilled me to the bone. The perfect escape book into the deep woods of Norway, where nothing is as it seems. C.J. Cooke just became one of my favorite authors.
Nov 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Officially surpassed the 100 books mark! Now that my biggest challenge is down, mostly I'm just trying to clear my shelves before 2021 starts, so time to read a lot of my older(ish) books. First up was The Nesting, which I thought was a pretty decent thriller.

A novel that I'd probably classify as an airplane read, The Nesting follows a familiar set up in which a nanny goes to a house in the middle of nowhere and some creepy occurrences start to happen. With a slight twist, the Au Pair isn't who
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this book! My favorite sort of suspense story is gothic, dark and atmospheric -- and this tale pressed all those buttons. The basics have been done before -- a down-on-her-luck young woman takes a nanny position....tells some lies to get it, in fact. Lexi believes she can escape her darkness....but ends up in a strange house on a cliff with weird happenings going on....did she run from darkness only to find more dark? Did the children's mother commit suicide....or did something more grue ...more
Frank Phillips
Mar 16, 2021 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this second novel by C.J. Cooke, and wanted to give it a higher rating, however for me the execution at the ending fell somewhat flat. I will follow up by saying that I listened to this on audiobook while multitasking, so perhaps I missed something, I'm not sure. It just felt like it was going in one particular genre direction, which had me hooked, and then just stopped and another explanation was given at the end, which felt a bit rushed to me. As a matter of fact several of the story ...more
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2020

VERY disappointing. This should be advertised as a soap opera/drama rather then a thriller. Nothing happened for 330 pages (out of only 350pgs), zero twists, nothing was surprising or shocking or scary.

Also this has deer/elk in it lol what up with horror and deer recently now it's getting a little weird
Adrian Dooley
Not for me unfortunately. A rather muddled and overlong read.

Its the story of Lexi, who we are introduced to at the start. In her late 20s, severely depressed and having just survived a suicide attempt, the opening part of the book is narrated by her as her life slowly falls apart as her boyfriend leaves her, she finds herself homeless with no money.

Finding her boyfriends rail ticket, she hops on the first train she can find. She is still riddled with depression, her sanity and her life on a kni
Isabel • The Crime Bookshelf
Oct 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

If there was a perfect book for me, it would be this one. I am so completely blown away by how much I loved this book + it’s definitely a new favorite of all time 🙌🏼

The atmosphere of this book was absolute perfection. The story is set in Norway along a fjord, which was such a beautiful setting 🇳🇴🌊 I really loved how nature was such a big part of this story + I thought it was SO unique. Not only that, but I fell in love with the Nordic folklore aspect of this story. It was so beyond
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
She lied about who she was, but she never realized that her desperation for a job would never match the desperation she would feel to survive. THE NESTING by C.J. Cooke is a razor-sharp, garrote tight thriller that will leave readers chilled.

Terrifying, heavy with atmosphere and an undefinable darkness, this tale takes readers to a secluded mountain in Norway where what one sees on the surface may not be the true reality. A fabulously gritty read that will leave the answers just out of reach unt
“For her, the world is a still place where tragedy can be outdone by triumph. Where sorrow can be quench by noble acts, and the long shadow of death can be outshone by love’s light.”

What a thrilling, bone-chilling ride this was! A Scandi Noir intertwined with Nordic folklore and myths, atmospheric views of cliffs and fjords and gothic mysticism. A melting pot of tradition and modern life; this story reminded me much of both Rebecca and The Turn of the Screw.
Lexi’s adventure starts in UK, with a
Katie P
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you Berkley and Netgalley for the gifted e-copy.

Ummm...can you say UNRELIABLE NARRATORS? Plural???? This book was filled with them, and I totally loved it.

Lexi is a hot mess - boyfriend dumps her, no job, homeless, tried to commit suicide but it didn't work...she overhears some girls on a train talking about a nannying opportunity in Norway, and she's like "oh cool, I can do that. I'm just going to pretend to be this girl Sophie and apply!"

It works. And Lexi is now Sophie, an expert at veg
Justin Chen
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was ok
2 stars

Wasted potential. The Nesting has intriguing elements, notably the inclusion of Nordic folklore, and an underlying message of Nature retaliating against human's undoing; unfortunately these are weighed down by a silly domestic melodrama disguising itself as a dark Gothic thriller.

I'm baffled by thriller's obsession with incompetent female protagonist; do readers actually find this exploitation appealing? It was excruciating suffering through Lexi's constant 'my mind is drawing a blank,' '
Jun 03, 2020 added it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
A wonderful dark nordic tale, filled with twists and turns.
Creepy forest, creepy river, creepy history, creepy location, creepy dark things lurking, muddy footprints, grabby things, lies, bad omens, dark tales and several mysteries. Yes, it was creepy, dark, and twisted. The setting was amazing, perfect for the tale, Norway’s deep forested Fjords. The children were read Nordic tales, which only added to the creepy level and made me question if it was supernatural or not. The scenery was so intri
Erin A. Craig
Jun 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. Stars. I loved this book!
Schizanthus Nerd
‘Nature always protects itself by whatever means possible.’
Sophie has a new job as a nanny, caring for two adorable girls, Gaia and Coco. Their father, Tom, is an architect who’s currently working hard on an innovative new project in Norway. Sophie is also working hard, trying to make sure no one figures out that she’s not really Sophie, but Lexi, and that she’s not actually a nanny.

Although it appears to be the ideal escape from her real life, this new job isn’t as straightforward as Lexi ha
Rachel Hall
The Nesting combines elements of a psychological and gothic thriller, adds a smattering of unsettling Nordic folklore and mixes them together in this ambitious but ultimately frustrating attempt at a modern chiller. It is also one very busy novel that requires a hefty suspension of disbelief which begins with twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Ellis recovering from a failed suicide attempt only to be dumped by the boyfriend whose home she lives in. Effectively homeless, Lexi overhears a young woman disc ...more
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-netgalley
When I started reading The Nesting, I was reminded of Ruth Ware's The Turn of the Key. If you haven't read that book, this isn't a spoiler, but if you have, the striking similarities between Lexi and Rowan do not continue throughout the story.
Lexi has hit rock bottom. After a failed suicide attempt, she lost her job, her boyfriend breaks up with her, she has very little money, and nowhere to go. While on the train, trying to come up with some kind of plan, fate intervenes. Two women start talkin
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C. J. Cooke is an award-winning poet and novelist published in twenty-three languages. She teaches creative writing at the University of Glasgow, where she also researches the impact of motherhood on women's writing and creative writing interventions for mental health. ...more

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