My review of Cuckoo in the Nest by Fran Hill
I adored this book from the very first sentence right through to the warm and satisfying ending.
Cuckoo in the Nest is told from the viewpoint of Jackie Chadwick, a highly-intelligent and perceptive fourteen-year-old who has been taken into care and is being looked after by the Wall family – who are new to fostering and all that it entails.
As Jackie’s life goes into meltdown, so does the weather. Against a backdrop of sweltering temperatures, Jackie tries hard to adapt to her changed circumstances, but the resentful and unwelcoming Amanda (the Wall’s own teenage daughter) is determined to make her life difficult.
Jackie is an utterly delightful and beautifully rendered character. Despite her difficult childhood, she maintains a positive and pragmatic outlook on life. She deals with her situation with a calmness and maturity that often renders her wiser than the adults who are supposed to be looking after her. Deep-thinking, creative and caring, Jackie continues to love her alcoholic father, despite his neglect. She worries about him, and remains hopeful that he will sort himself out so that things can go back to normal.
Meanwhile, as her stay in the Wall household unfolds, Jackie learns about a different way of life. On the face of it, the Walls appear to be the perfect family – but not everything is as it seems. As the summer heat intensifies, so do the tensions at 17 Hollybush Close.
In Cuckoo in the Nest, Fran Hill has perfectly captured that long, hot and unforgettable summer of 1976. Her descriptive details transported me right back to heat of that time, and stirred up long forgotten details and memories.
This is a poignant and uplifting novel, full of warmth, humour and nostalgia. The courage and resilience of Jackie Chadwick makes her totally unforgettable.
Cuckoo in the Nest by Fran Hill will be published on 26 April by Legend Press, and is available for pre order from Amazon or your local bookshop.
With thanks to Legend Press for providing an advanced reading copy in exchange for an unbiased review.