Nora has come home to the Sussex coast where, every dawn, she runs along the creek path to the sea. In the half-light, fragments of cello music crash around in her mind, but she casts them out - it's more than a year since she performed in public. There are memories she must banish in order to survive: a charismatic teacher with gold-flecked eyes, a mistake she cannot unmake. At home her mother Ada is waiting: a fragile, bitter woman who distils for herself a glamorous past as she smokes French cigarettes in her unkempt garden. In the village of Bosham the future is invading. A charming young documentary maker has arrived to shoot a film about King Cnut and his cherished but illegitimate daughter, whose body is buried under the flagstones of the local church. As Jonny disturbs the fabric of the village, digging up tales of ancient battles and burials, the threads lead back to home, and Ada and Nora find themselves face to face with the shameful secrets they had so carefully buried. One day, Nora finds a half-dead fledgeling in a ditch. She brings him home and, over the hot summer months, cradles Rook back to life. A mesmerising story of family, legacy and turning back the tides, Rook beautifully evokes the shifting Sussex sands, and the rich seam of history lying just beneath them.
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Jane Rusbridge is the author of The Devil's Music. She lives near the coast in West Sussex with her husband, a farmer, and the youngest of their five children. She has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester, where she was the recipient of the Philip Lebrun Prize for Creative Writing and is Associate Lecturer in English. www.janerusbridge.co.uk @JaneRusbridge
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