Hello everybody! As you may have seen if you follow me on social media, me and my lovely friends Rachael, Louise and Lily are going to be reading the Laura Marlin Mysteries series together over the next few months, and posting about our thoughts on our blogs during the same week.
So, today, I’m going to be chatting about Dead Man’s Cove, which I’ve loved since I was like 10, and thoroughly enjoyed rereading recently. Onto the post!
First off, I’m going to try not to make this spoilery, but also I’ve read it so many times my copy is falling apart and I’m not actually sure anymore what would count as a spoiler, so if you’ve never read this and you want to go in knowing nothing, I’d suggest coming back and reading this after you’ve read it. On a similarish note, it feels bizarre writing this like a normal review post because this is one of the books that made me truly fall in love with reading and remains a favourite to this day, so there’s a fair chance this will end up a bit chattier in tone than my normal review posts.
The book is the story of 11 year old Laura Marlin, who goes to live with her long lost uncle in Cornwall, after being raised in a children’s home. When she arrives in picturesque St Ives, mystery seems to be everywhere she turns, and it follows her trying to unravel them while also settling into her new home, and getting to know her uncle Calvin (lots of my mentions of this series on my blog have been me raving about how much I love Uncle Calvin, so you’ll be hearing lots about him!!) The opening chapter of this is basically imprinted in my memory at this point and it made me so emotional picking this book up again. Like, seriously, you don’t want to know how many times I cried. It wasn’t even at big things! I’m just a longtime Laura Marlin devotee who couldn’t cope with all the tiny milestones in the book.
I love all of the main characters so much my heart almost burst with love getting to see them and experience this story all over again. Laura is a fabulous heroine; compassionate and curious, clever and kind. I love her constant refrain of “why?” and her relationships with Calvin and Tariq are lovely. Skye also deserves a mention here because he was one of the things I loved best in this series the first time and I think I’m going to love him even more this time round. Tariq’s storyline is hard to talk about without giving the whole plot away, but needless to say, it broke my heart and I love him so, so much.
And Uncle Calvin, BE STILL MY BEATING HEART. It gave me a little bit of a fright realising that he must be almost 50 when I was rereading, because 10 year old me gave no thought to logistics and pictured him as in his late twenties/early thirties, but I’m in love with him nonetheless and no one is allowed to judge me. He’s just such a good man with a heart of gold, and he loves dogs, and he’s so lovely to Laura and doesn’t act like he knows best about everything. I can’t really tell you who the villains are because it gives away some of what happens, but they’re so shady and nasty and evil and I hate them with every fibre of my soul. The way this book shines a spotlight on very real human suffering is so powerful, and makes them incredibly impactful.
To finish off, I thought I’d share a standout moment from the book, and will do this for every Laura Marlin Mystery post. This time, it was very definitely the message in a bottle sequence, which was thrilling and made the book unputdownable, even though I knew what happened in the end.
Thank you so much for reading! Make sure to go and check out Rachael and Lily’s posts about this book too! Have you read this series? Are you considering picking them up? Have you ever participated in a buddy read? I’d love to hear in the comments!