After the wonderful, The Devils Music, I couldn’t wait to read ROOK, Jane Rusbridge’ second novel. I pre-ordered it from Amazon and cleared the decks for its arrival.
When it finally arrived I tore it from the parcel and found inside this beautiful book. The front cover has a picture of a girl, must be the main character Nora, standing amongst a building of rooks, on a grassy windswept landscape. Yes building, I looked it up. There are rooks in the air all around her.
The story begins with Nora, who has returned to Creek House, the family home, next to the village of Bosham, on the Sussex coast. Nora rescues an injured rook, which she finds and nurses back to heath, she names him Rook. Her mother Ada lives in the house and is a bitter old woman with a secret. Nora, who has been away from home, is a gifted cellist and while at collage, then onto performing. She has been having an affair with her older and charismatic teacher. Nora has secrets too.
There is so many wonderful layers to this book, from the opening scene of the Sussex coast and an eleventh century battlefield, to the same ground in the twenty first century. Then there is Jonny, an outsider who wants to make a documentary about King Cnut and an attempted archaeological dig in the little church of Bosham. The characters are all wonderfully written and the family story of Nora, her sister Flick, Felicity and their parents is revealed as the book reaches its end. This has been a hard review to write, no matter what I say about ROOK, I couldn’t with my limited skill, do it Justice. I think Jan Rusbridge is something special and we may look back in years to come and realise this. I hope she writes many more books and gets the acclaim she deserves.
Footnote. You can also have a parliament of rooks, I like building.