Review: The White Cuckoo by Annie Ireson


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.


11 thoughts on “Review: The White Cuckoo by Annie Ireson

  1. Jane Risdon February 6, 2013 at 11:52 am Reply

    Your review is so helpful Jo and I am sure Anne will be thrilled with it. I have the book on TBR list but at the moment have 37 to wade through and most are by authors I (we) know, so look forward to reaching Anne’s soon. So glad she went ahead and published considering where it might have ended up. Congratulations to Anne on what is going to be a fantastic read and thanks Jo for a comprehensive and enthralling review.

    • joskehan February 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm Reply

      You will love the book Jane when you can read it eventually. Yes, she was indeed lucky things turned out ok in the end. xx

      • Jane Risdon February 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm

        I shall try and get to her asap. Sometimes of late I don’t feel like reading before I go to bed which is weird as I’ve always done it since being first able to read. A few other people tell me they are not reading at night either. Wonder what is going on, any ideas?

  2. joskehan February 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm Reply

    I think we are all so busy and tired that by the time we crash into our beds, our eyes won’t stay open long enough to allow us to read. I still try to read at night though as it relaxes me before drifting off and it’s the only reading time I have these days.

  3. annieye February 7, 2013 at 8:38 am Reply

    Jo, thank you so much for posting this review, which I’ve only just seen as I was working yesterday until late. All I wanted to achieve from self-publishing ‘The White Cuckoo’ was for people to enjoy reading it and to break even on the costs. I have done this and am making a profit, so everything has turned out well in the end.

    Jane – I can’t read if I am writing. I don’t know why. If I want to read a book, I have to not write for a few days until it is finished. I think it might be a sub-conscious thing. I’ve always been the same.

    • Jane Risdon February 7, 2013 at 8:58 am Reply

      Hi Anne, glad you liked the review by Jo, I think it was ace and well deserved. As for reading, I manage a few paragraphs of late and then just cannot go on….several avid readers tell me they have stopped or are like me, unable to read for long any more. We discussed reasons and they seemed to think they had become bored by the books they were picking. I know readers who enjoy books by the same author and wondered if that is because they’ve become formulated…I think of Patricia Cornwell and her books. I don’t read the books friends read but it seems they pick the same authors all the time and that may well be the issue. I try to vary authors a lot and genre too as I find it hard to read the genre I am attempting to write at the same time. You may well be right Anne, brain overload perhaps and too much going on with the book being written. I love reading so it is not a happy state to find oneself in. Good luck with Cuckoo and good luck Jo with your books (WIP), hope that 2013 is the year we all have success.

  4. joskehan February 7, 2013 at 8:47 am Reply

    So happy you like the review. I intend putting a similar review on Amazon for you also. Good luck Annie, and happy writing. xxx

  5. margueritequantaine February 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm Reply

    You certainly make reading this book a necessity!

    • joskehan February 9, 2013 at 10:47 am Reply

      You would love it Marguerite…it’s not the usual run of the mill romance rubbish. It’s a really good story. xxx

  6. dougie March 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm Reply

    White Cuckoo is a muli-layered story moving between past and present , life and death, love and hate. I agree with all of Jo’s review , especially when she recommends it to those who appreciate a good yarn. Looking forward to reading more from Annie.

    • joskehan March 20, 2013 at 5:28 am Reply

      Thanks for dropping in Mary….It was a good story and like you I’m looking forward to Annie’s next book. xx

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