I have intended writing this review for a couple of months now since finishing the book, but life got in the way as it so often does. But here I am now.
Annie Ireson very kindly sent this paperback copy to me from UK, because it was not available here in Australia. I was totally thrilled to receive it and when it arrived I was further thrilled on finding in the package the gift of a charm made beautifully by Annie’s husband. A gorgeous silver cuckoo and a birds’ nest on a keyring. My husband took it off the keyring and put it on my charm bracelet where it hangs nicely for all to see. I have had many comments and compliments on it from friends and work colleagues – they all want the details of the book the charm represents, of which I happily pass on.
“When twenty-seven year old Tamasyn Hargreaves travels to the heart of Northamptonshire to fulfill a deathbed promise to her mother, she soon begins to sense that something surreal and supernatural has drawn her there.
Who are the strange children she keeps bumping into? What secrets are concealed within the contents of the box of memorabilia she is given? Why does she look uncannily like a photograph of Jessie Smith, who gave birth prematurely in 1910 after being raped by a nobleman?
As Tammy uncovers shocking secrets about her own family, she soon realises she must resolve the mysteries of the past before she can keep her promise to her mother.
Only then can she finally allow herself to fall in love.”
Annie has written a superb story that is interwoven across two eras, unfolding layer by layer, page by page as Tammy discovers the secrets and mysteries of two families and the community of a small village.
The main character, Tammy is extremely hurt and confused when she finds out the secrets her mother and father kept from her while she was growing up in what she thought was the perfect family unit. Although finding out the truth is hurtful it is also exciting and offers her the chance to put the past where it belongs for all concerned. She has the opportunity to repair the damage caused by the deceit and lies over the past twenty odd years and help the healing of many broken hearts and lives.
Tammy meets the man of her dreams – the perfect partner for her, but sadly one who is caught up still with a previous lover whose infidelity created heartache and misunderstandings for his family – these issues must be resolved before Tammy can have any hopes of sharing a relationship with Paul. In spite of it being love at first sight, they are both wise enough to know the wrongs have to be put right if they are to have a life together at all. Tammy feels the impact of the risk of losing Paul when she insists he visit his home town to lay the ghosts to rest.
The secrets and circumstances surrounding the start of her parents’ relationship many years before, are astounding and it seems that with every page turned there is yet one more hurdle to get over before the heartbreak, confusion and the breaking apart of the family can be healed. Tammy is flabbergasted to find she has a half-sister that neither of her parents had given her any clue of.
I loved this story. It has depth. It is a story that keeps you wanting to stay with it and turn the next page, and the next. It is easy to relate to all the characters and to feel you know them as friends. There is an ‘hurrah’ moment also when the outcome of the rapist decades ago who set the path for this story, is finally discovered and confirmed.
Annie uses her excellent writing skills to describe vividly each scene, down to the most minute detail. There is nothing borrowed from others’ works or stories. It is far from being a run-of-the-mill romance chic lit story. The White Cuckoo is brilliant and I highly recommend it to those who appreciate a good yarn.
I am waiting impatiently for her next book, which I am convinced will be of the same high calibre.