Recommended Book – Drowning Rose by Marika Cobbold

  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (1 Aug 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon UK
  • Language English
  • Official websiteMarika Cobbold


It is winter in London. Eliza Cummings, a ceramics restorer at the V&A Museum, is leaving work when she receives an unexpected phone call. Standing in the haze of the Christmas lights she hears a voice which draws her back twenty-five years – to the night Rose died.

But why does Rose’s father want her to visit him? Why now? And why is he killing her with kindness when they both know that he blames her for what happened to his daughter?

Grief and guilt cast terrible shadows, but as this beautifully wrought story unfolds and the scene shifts from London to the fairy tale landscape of the Swedish countryside – and back in time to Eliza’s school days – we learn that generosity, humour and friendship can smooth over and restore even the most broken lives, and that some secrets just can’t be kept hidden…

My Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

My review

I don’t usually like reading books where we have two first-person narrators. In the past, I’ve stopped reading more than one book written this way. Confused my little brain!

Not this book.

Both first-person narrators are well-defined and there is even a heading telling you each time the narrator changes. (Always helpful)

The main protagonist is Eliza Cummings. Her story’s set in the present as she struggles to live her life 25-years after the death of Rose, her best friend from school.

Eliza’s story also brings us a family reunion with her uncle and godfather, Ian (who is also Rose’s father) and some other interactions that I won’t spoil in this review.

There are some nice distractions with the ceramics references and I feel I know a lot more about this subject than I did before reading this book!

The other narrator is Sandra/Cassandra. Her narrative takes place in the past around the time of Rose’s death. Sandra/Cassandra is a new pupil at the school and she’s forced upon a group of three princesses (including Rose and Eliza), who really don’t want her in their group.

We experience the events at the school through her eyes, which is a great touch.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters are well written and believable. I could visualise the three main settings: Eliza’s house, Uncle Ian in Sweden and the old school very well. The injection of humour throughout the book is a welcome distraction from the darker main story.

I highly recommend Drowning Rose and I’m looking forward to reading more of Marika’s books.



This is the first review I am writing for the Eclectic Reading Challenge 2012.

I have classified this book in the favourite genres category. It is general/contemporary  fiction. This is the first book I’ve read in 2012 and I have Amazon’s 12 Days of Christmas promotion to thank. I probably wouldn’t have come across this book otherwise and I am very grateful.

About Pete Denton

I'm a writer working my way through the redrafts of a British crime novel. I also write short stories, flash fiction and some screen writing. Check out my blog for more.
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13 Responses to Recommended Book – Drowning Rose by Marika Cobbold

  1. miq says:

    This book sounds fabulous! I need to read it.

  2. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    Five stars is a great rating, Ill have to keep my eye out for this book!

    Thanks for making it part of The Eclectic Reader challenge

    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out

  3. vincitore117 says:

    Drowning rose..Will add that to my list for 2012.:)

  4. frasersherman says:

    With multiple first-person narrators, identifying them at the start should be mandatory. I read one last year where the writer went whole pages without identifying the POV character. One of several reasons I hated it.

  5. Pingback: January 2012 – Update « Pete Denton – Writer

  6. jenniferneri says:

    This book sounds like one I’d really like! Seems like the book challenge is off to a good start already 🙂

  7. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Intriguing review! You make me want to read the book. I play with POV and love discovering other authors and seeing how they execute it. I’ll add it to me to-read list. 🙂

  8. Pingback: Eclectic Reading in 2012 « Pete Denton – Writer

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