REVIEW: Magpie

Wow I’ve had a pretty good reading week so far and it’s only Thursday! I’ve just romped through Magpie, by Elizabeth Day, a thoroughly enjoyable domestic psychological thriller. It’s one of the books I received for Christmas – Amazon wish lists are a wonderful thing.

Elizabeth Day is a British journalist and author who also runs the podcast How To Fail With Elizabeth Day. She has written two works of non-fiction – How To Fail: Everything I’ve Ever Learned From Things Going Wrong and Failosophy: A Handbook For When Things Go Wrong – both tied in with her podcast.

Magpie is her fifth novel and, as you can see from the cover, was a Sunday Times Bestseller.

First published in 2021, Magpie deals with the subjects of motherhood, infertility, mental health and family relationships.

Marissa (artist, late 20s) meets Jake (accountant, late 30s) at a party and the two click. Very quickly they decide to move in together and start a family. But then money gets a bit tight so the couple takes in a lodger – Kate.

Marissa falls pregnant and she and Jake are delighted but then she starts to think Jake and Kate are having an affair…

It’s difficult to explain the plot without having to yell ‘spoiler alert’ every couple of lines. What I will says is there’s a central twist that makes you question everything you think you know and just when you think you’ve got the hang of it, the plot draws you in a different direction.

This is a pacey book, easy to digest in one or two sittings, and I really enjoyed the ways the characters were drawn.

It deals with issues around infertility in detail and well and tackles mental health issues head on.

I enjoyed it, I’d read it again and I’d buy other books by Elizabeth Day, this being the first one I’ve read.

Would I have preferred a darker ending? Yes, probably – but then I do enjoy dark and sinister with psychological thrillers.

This is well written with good characterisation and some nice twists and turns. Give it a go and see what you think.

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