Fiction

Of Magpies and Men by Ode Ray

I was contacted by the author Ode Ray with an offer to read an advance copy of this book. It’s an amazing debut novel, with a very twisty plot. So thank you Ode, it was my pleasure to read and review.

About the book

Can any good come of longings that a person can never satisfy? If so, good for whom?

Two corpses wash ashore in a picturesque Italian village, the violence that put them there is bound to a long-held secret and two strangers living worlds apart with seemingly nothing in common.

Benedict Grant a wealthy Londoner, leading a lonely life.

Marie Boulanger a nurse and single mum, struggling to make ends meet in Marseille.
However, a mother’s illicit revelation will set in motion a chain of events that will reshape their identities, stir poignant family affairs and delve into the by-products of lawless decisions.

With this domestic thriller, discover a captivating and moving story of impossible yearnings, weaving mystery and drama peppered with humour. A tale that will stay with you long after its final page and a twist you won’t see coming.

What I thought

This is an unusual and compelling story which I thoroughly enjoyed. There are so many different themes running through it and told with a wonderful dry humour which really appeals to me.

There’s intrigue. It opens in Italy where a boat containing two dead bodies has crashed into a harbour. A seemingly insignificant detective is investigating how they met their death.

It then moves back seven years and in alternating chapters we meet Benedict and Marie. Benedict an apparently rich 30 year old financial city type living in London with his mother. He seems a very edgy, unhappy person, despite his affluence. His mother has terminal cancer and so disappears from the book quite early on, but whilst his mother may have gone, the legacy she leaves behind has life changing consequences for Benedict.

In the next chapter we meet Marie and her 7 year old son Romain. They live in Marseille in a trailer on a travellers site, which from what I could garner from the story is made up of Albanian immigrants. Marie works as a nurse and struggles financially bringing up her son as a single parent after her partner and Romain’s father died in a crash before Romain was born. Marie desperately wants to save up enough money to buy herself a proper house away from the pollution of the area as her son is asthmatic.

As a result of Benedict’s mothers post death revelations, Benedict and Marie become connected in the story and it alternates between London and Marseille. As the plot advances it becomes ever more gripping. There is just so much going on in this book. There’s Benedicts conflicting feelings over his sexuality, outwardly he has always tried to keep the fact that he is gay to himself, partly because of his upbringing and the unspoken messages he’s received within his family but also because he so desperately wants a child and to be part of a family.

Marie has her own set of problems, she has her mother living with her, her father is in prison and she also wants a better life for her son. In the meantime the book will now and then flit forward in time again to the investigation going on in Italy with the two men in the boat. Who are they?

It’s difficult to say more. The main issue within the story I can’t reveal because that would spoil it for the reader. You just have to read it. It’s emotional, it’s funny in places, it’s heartfelt, there’s mystery and intrigue and there’s tension all culminating in a thrilling ending.

This really is a fantastic debut, I would highly recommend it and can’t wait to see what this author might write next. Definitely worthy of five stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

♥ Happy Reading ♥


The book is published today 2 February ’21 and is available on Amazon Kindle

Author Bio

Ode Ray is a debut author.

After spending most of her working life as a Marketer, educating consumers about the wonders of anything from laundry detergents to honey, Ode finally decided to put pen to paper to write “stories” of a different kind. Between school pick-ups and whilst also looking after her adorable toddler (who has yet to find a bookshelf he wouldn’t climb), she eventually finished her first book, Of Magpies and Men.

Ode was born just outside of Marseille, France. She also lived in Paris, New-York and Brussels before basing herself with her family in leafy Oxfordshire, UK.

She loves to hear from readers, bloggers, book clubs or writers, so if you would like to connect please drop her a line on:
https://linktr.ee/OdeRay

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