Magpie by Elizabeth Day
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A young couple living the life in London takes in another woman out of necessity. Will the man’s fidelity be tested? After reading several chapters into the book, I was fully prepared to dismiss it as typical chick lit about a man taking advantage of his female partner, with the woman eventually screwing up her courage and dumping the cad, teaching him a lesson in the process. It had all the female author markings, like constant descriptions of what the women were wearing. I had to look up numerous fashion terms. I now know what a Breton top is (a white sweater with thin, black, horizontal stripes) and boyfriend-style jeans (baggy, oversized, worn looking ones). A male author would have just written, “she wore a striped sweater and baggy jeans.”
But along comes Part 2 and the first big plot twist gave me a jolt. Wow! This is not what it seemed. I realized it could turn dark quickly, and it did. I’m always a bit skeptical of the unreliable narrator trick since it’s so overdone, but this had an original edge to it. You never know whom to trust, all the way to the very end. The suspense builds deliciously. It’s a clever plot and the writing is quite good, too. If you get a little bored at the beginning, stick with it. I’m glad I did. I’d give it 4 1/2 stars if they allowed it in Goodreads.