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Cuckoo Song

by  Frances Hardinge


A fairy story set in the aftermath of WW1, full of dark, gothic elements. This is not a fairy story with kind and beautiful figures. The creatures that inhabit this tale are frightening, cunning and definitely not friendly.

Triss is the middle child in a family that is coming to terms with the loss of an elder son in the war and a difficult younger daughter, Pen; Triss herself suffers with her nerves. The story begins when Triss wakes after an accident to find that things are not quite the same; she cannot satisfy her hunger and her dolls scream at her.

Frances Hardinge has written a complex story of the effects of the loss of a beloved son and how the family trying to cure their grief stricken lives by making “deals with the devil”. Nevertheless, for all the horrifying creatures and the frightening scenarios, this is a tale about trust and strength of character as Triss battles to save her family.

It’s a difficult book to review because I don’t want to give away spoilers, all I can say is that, at times, it is heartbreaking. The writing is beautiful and atmospheric. I loved it.