The investigation at the heart of Lucy Atkins's clever thriller is 'what makes a family unhappy?' The suspense builds inexorably until Magpie Lane has you by your throat
As nuanced a study of loneliness and longing as you could hope to meet in contemporary fiction
I couldn't have loved this book more. Creepy, dark, compelling so clever. Every time you scratch off one layer to get to the truth, there is another one underneath. Lucy Atkins is a quiet genius
Wow. I put my life on hold whilst I read this novel. An eerie and compelling story, beautifully crafted and darkly atmospheric with characters who infiltrate your every thought. I couldn't put it down and I'm buying it for everyone I know
Tender, creepy and gripping
With graceful writing, sharply observed characters including the city itself, and a withering look at the hidebound ways of dusty-gowned academia, this wonderfully atmospheric tale is, at its core, about the true meaning of family
A sinewy, supple and gorgeously satisfying triumph
It is a long time since I have enjoyed a book as thoroughly as I enjoyed Magpie Lane, which reminded me variously of Iris Murdoch, Ruth Rendell, Donna Tartt and Daphne du Maurier. I adored the narrator, and it was an utter joy to relish Atkins's wonderfully skilled and unobtrusive writing and lose myself in the mystery
Magpie Lane is deliciously dark and keeps flipping your certainties on their head from start to finish
It's taken many false starts to find a book to properly carry me away during this lockdown and this was it. Gripping as well as beautifully written. Thank you, Lucy Atkins, it was such a relief to be lost in your pages
One of the most intriguing narrators since Notes on a Scandal - I loved it!
The word-of-mouth success of lockdown, this riveting exploration of emotional damage is set against the dysfunctional world of Oxford academia . . . It is twisty, page-turning stuff, but Atkins also excels at characterisation: the deliciously horrid master and his new wife, the eccentric scholar writing a history of their creepy house, the closed-off nanny with her own secrets and the girl at the centre of it all.
The page turner you've been looking for. Sly, witty and gripping . . . I loved it
A creepy, suspenseful thriller set against the dreaming spires of Oxford
Lucy Atkins brilliantly ratchets up the tension, leaving a few red herrings in her wake
Clever, tense and as twisty as an Oxford backstreet
Darkly atmospheric, Magpie Lane will grip you from the first page and refuse to let you go
This chilling and twisty tale will have you hooked
It's been a while since I've been as sucked in by a thriller as I was with this one
'Dark, twisted, and gloriously rich, and I loved every word'
'Full of hidden chambers, and some of them are haunted . . . part thriller, part love story, wholly beguiling. I was glued to every page'
'Lucy Atkins excels at creating highly intelligent, slightly eccentric outsiders. I was completely immersed . . . and preoccupied, and appalled, by such credible characters. I loved it!'
'So clever and different. I raced through for the reveal but also the spookiness, the characters and the wonderful love story'
'A brilliant feat - a creepy, chilling, page-turning tale that also made me laugh out loud. I can think of no other writer who pulls that off'
'Intricate, intelligent, and immensely satisfying, and with a deliciously spooky edge. It really is first-class Oxford intrigue'
'That rare thing: a thriller that warms your heart even as it chills your spine. I adored it on so many levels - the page-turning tension, the emotional depth of the central relationship. Simply brilliant!'
'The most sublime book I've read since Apple Tree Yard . . . masterful writing from an experienced hand. I'll be gushing about this for a while'
'The most deliciously unreliable narrator, dysfunctional relationships, spooky goings-on, and a missing child - all set against the rarefied world of Oxford academia. So clever and compelling'
Clever and creepy, twisty yet tender: Magpie Lane will have you hearing footsteps overhead in an empty house. I loved it
Beguiling, brilliantly creepy, and an utterly compelling read. Lucy Atkins has created such a complex character in Dee: I rooted for her, and yet was suspicious of her; swept along by her love story, but worried for her. A wonderful story
Spellbindingly brilliant. I was engrossed from start to finish, and fell in love with the wonderful cast. Lucy Atkins is an extraordinary writer, who draws us into her world and keeps us there; I shall be thinking about this story for a long time. A contender for my Book of the Year
Magpie Lane is stunning, with an unforgettable narrative voice, brilliant evocation of the setting and a chilling, totally gripping story. It is everything I love in a novel and utterly compelling - you will not want to put it down
Immersive, unsettling and hugely addictive. I loved all the Oxford detail. Superb
I fell hard for the beautiful writing and ghostly mood of Magpie Lane. Dee, a riveting Russian doll of a character, had me in her thrall from start to finish. Highly recommended