Review: The Nesting by C.J. Cooke

☆☆➹⁀☆ 2.5 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

It was like something out of a fairytale… 

The grieving widower.
The motherless daughters.
A beautiful house in the woods.
And a nanny come to save the day.

So what if Lexi isn’t telling the truth about who she is? Escaping to the remote snows of Norway was her lifeline. And all she wanted was to be a part of their lives.

But soon, isolated in that cold, creaking house in the middle of ancient, whispering woods, Lexi’s fairytale starts to turn into a nightmare.

With darkness creeping in from the outside, Lexi’s fears are deepening. Lexi knows she needs to protect the children in her care.

But protect them from what?

Goodreads: https://tinyurl.com/y5thl94j

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-nesting-by-c-j-cooke

My Thoughts:

I expected to love The Nesting by C.J. Cooke. The marketing sound bites. the cover, and the book synopsis really grabbed me.  I love gothic mysteries, folklore, and suspenseful thrillers, so I had high expectations for this book.  I wish I could say that all my expectations were met.

I loved the Norse folklore that was sprinkled throughout the book.  Those stories definitely had a dark edge to them and presented the deepest feeling of foreboding for me.  The remote forest location in Norway was the perfect setting for a creepy tale.  The imagery was vivid. Ms. Cooke’s addition of the local superstitions set the perfect stage for a chilling novel.  However, for me that is where the chills ended.

I liked the story enough to finish it, but I had too many issues with the characters and the plot for me to become enthralled with the book.  The characters could use more development and backstory.  None of the primary {adult} characters seemed to have a moral compass.  I presume that some characters’ stories weren’t revealed as a way to make them more suspicious, but I’m not sure the author got the desired effect.  I struggled with Lexi going from suicidal, gaunt, unbathed and homeless to successfully convincing someone that she is an experienced and highly thought of nanny.  Lexi’s questionable mental health is supposed to make her an unreliable narrator, but I don’t think that was achieved.

There were plot points that went nowhere or didn’t sync with later plot points.   The pace of the story was fairly slow through much of the book, and then the end felt rushed and somewhat convenient. Actions against nature had huge consequences while actions against humans had almost none.  The author’s messages (veganism and conservation) could have been more subtly crafted into the story.  I think the questionable characters, the folklore, the apparitions, and the copious number of problems and set backs were supposed to add to the suspense, but for me, it made the story seem unfocused and over ambitious.

Overall, the premise is great and there are some good themes and symbolism, but between the loose threads and the genre identity crisis, I felt that I was reading an early draft, not a honed final edition.

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