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The Unmaking of Ellie Rook Reader Reviews

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook

Jane Brown

Well written mystery and intrigue novel and an author with Scottish and Celtic background an interest in folklore highly recommended.

As it was the Easter break I was really keen to sit outside in the sunshine and read this intriguing novel.

Ellie, fed up with her life, leaves behind her mother, father and brother and goes off to Europe. a phone call brings her back. Various stories emerge regarding her mother's disappearance - has she drowned? What has happened?

Ellie has to confront the past and decide if folklore has something to do with her mother.

This was so intriguing mystery with folklore woven into the story - I could not put this book down I had to keep reading to the end.

Well written by an author with Scottish and Celtic background and an interest in folklore.

Altogether a great read, due for publication in July 2019 and in time for the summer holidays.

Catherine L Jenkins

In Finella (Ellie) Rook, Ireland has created a character as feisty as her Celtic namesake. Readers will take this ride through the rapids alongside her, seeing through her eyes the dark secrets that lie beneath family life.

Steeped in folklore and suspense, this intriguing novel is a one-sitting read. Like the waterfalls that form such a central part of its story, it flows along at a rapid pace, taking in memories, dysfunctional families and the claustrophobia of secret-keeping. A searing yet sensitive portrayal of domestic abuse.


Angie Rhodes

Once again Sandra Ireland has written a compelling and gripping novel, with a slight Gothic overtone, that will have her readers hungry for more.

Ellie Rook lives in a Scrapyard, where, as a child, she ran free, was often dirty, her clothes had seen better days, and she was always getting into fights. Fed with years of being known as "The Scrapyard kid" Ellie flies the nest, leaving behind her gentle mother, her brother River and her bully of a father.

Many happy years are spent away from the family home, backpacking in Vietnam, until the day of the phone call. That one phone call changed Ellie's life forever, her mother is missing, presumed drowned, but each witness story is different.

What is the connection between Finella, a figure from a Gaelic Myth? Does her father know more than he is telling? All Ellie knows is she feels separated from her family, and knowing how tight her father likes to keep the family, alone time to get to the bottom of her mother's disappearance is getting harder by the day.

Like her previous novels, Sandra Ireland has written a compelling novel, with Gothic overtones which will leave her readers hungry for more.

Lynn Johnson

An unhappy childhood intermingled with folklore, and two weeks of heartbreak, a compelling read you won't want to put down until the end.

Having read one of Sandra Ireland’s earlier novels, I was looking forward to receiving an advance copy of this book.

The story starts with a prologue introducing Ellie’s namesake, Fenella, set in Scottish folklore, and it trickles throughout the book. The novel then jumps straight into the action. Ellie’s mother is missing, presumed drowned and Ellie must return to her childhood home and her bullying father. The story moves back and forth in time taking the reader through the two weeks that follow, whilst conjuring up memories from Ellie’s past, giving us a clear insight into the family life of ‘The kid from the Scrapyard,’ both past and present.

The novel is well paced, relatively short, and easy to read. The first-person narration takes the reader into the heart of the novel and we live through each chapter as Ellie accounts for the days that follow the discovery that her mother is missing, and her own subsequent return to the family home. The short chapters and the content encourage you to continue reading long after you plan to stop.

Ellie involves the reader as a friend, we live the story through her eyes, and we feel her pain. The sense of time and place is strong, and I enjoyed the reading experience. I would highly recommend it.

Drena Irish

An amazing read...couldn't wait to get to the end to find out what would happen but, equally, I didn't want it to end. Sandra Ireland is a brilliant storyteller!

The Unmaking of Ellie Rook is Sandra Ireland's third thriller (really can't wait to read her first two now, as I enjoyed this one so much). It's gripping from the word go, the dark and sinister tale of the dysfunctional Rook family.

Finella (Ellie) Rook thinks she's made it, that she's left her claustrophobic family life behind her to go travelling until the phone call comes that brings her back, not only physically but emotionally and psychologically too. Her mother has gone missing, presumed drowned, at a local waterfall. The old family dynamic soon comes into play, stripping Ellie of her new found confidence and independence, 'unmaking' her.

This well-told, riveting novel twists and turns it's way to it's inevitable (we hope) conclusion but all the time there is nagging doubt. Can good really triumph over evil here, as it does in the integral legend of Finella, the warrior queen, Ellie's namesake?

Christine Scott

An Unusual storyline with an unexpected ending. A book you just have to keep reading.

I found this book intriguing. It is a book you have to keep reading to find out what the mystery is. A gripping storyline with a sting in the tail. Totally unexpected ending. Good author. Will be looking for more of her books.

Caroline Highy

A dakly atmospheric tale combining elements of mythical writing whilst covering themes of contemporary popular fiction.

It took me a while to get into this book but once I did it was hard to put down. As each chapter progressed I wanted to know what the outcome would be for the close-knit and fiercely independent Rook family. The author does a great job of using vivid and colourful descriptions for the main characters as well as the geographically isolated locations. It was hard not to have some sympathy with Ellie who in an instant was taken from her enjoyable gap year adventures in Vietnam back to the family home in rural Scotland. There are also some highly amusing sentences and the descriptive talent of the author really resonated with me.

The reason for Ellie's return is to help join the search when her mother goes missing from the family property. Her father figure looms large with his no-nonsense manner and his rigidity in his daily schedule. The rest of the scrapyard workforce are kinder in personality to outsiders but know they have to tow the line. Add to the mix a reunion with an old school friend, reconnecting with villagers and familiar faces from her childhood and mixing with new employees of her father's company we finally find out what happened to the family matriach.

An interesting tale of growing up, coming home, family woes and how things are not always as they seem.

Kathryn Eastman

What starts as one young woman’s summons home in the aftermath of her mother’s death at a local beauty spot, steeped in legend, quickly becomes something altogether darker and more troubling.

Sandra Ireland has made use of folkore before in her writing but nowhere is it more inextricably linked to her modern-day story than here in The Unmaking of Ellie Rook. Ellie was named for the Queen whose escape from those pursuing her became the stuff of legend.

It’s a story her mother, Imelda, told her time and time again, almost as if in doing so she was strengthening her for the trials to come and binding an enchantment around her. Yet the life Ellie left behind her and to which she now returns is far from enchanted or romantic, and she will need to channel all the courage of her namesake in order to deal with some very real demons.

This is the story of a family living on the edge in so many ways: they are the outsiders, living a secluded life on their own rural compound, and subject to the irrationality of controlling rules and behaviour. The forest and waterfall over which the Queen made her escape back on to their property and traces of that long-ago chase and more recent troubled memories still seem to stalk the land about them.

Sandra Ireland’s descriptions are poetic even when describing that which is stark and brutal. She conjures up this family and their forest dwelling incredibly well. I was willing Ellie on to stay strong, find a way to keep herself and her brother, River, safe, while also uncovering the truth behind Imelda’s disappearance before it too found its way into local lore and legend.

An immersive, evocative read where haunting folklore mirrors more contemporary brutality.

Book Information

ISBN: 9781846974823
Publication date: 11th July 2019
Author: Sandra Ireland
Publisher: Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 208 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, Crime / Mystery, Family Drama, Thriller / Suspense,
Categories: Thriller / suspense, Crime & mystery,