#BookReview Too Many Magpies by Elizabeth Baines

About the book

Can we believe in magic and spells? Can we put our faith in science?

A young mother married to a scientist fears for her children’s safety as the natural world around her becomes ever more uncertain. Until, that is, she meets a charismatic stranger who seems to offer a different kind of power… But is he a saviour or a frightening danger? And, as her life is overturned, what is happening to her children whom she vowed to keep safe? Why is her son Danny now acting so strangely? 

In this haunting, urgent and timely novel, Elizabeth Baines brings her customary searing insight to the problems of sorting our rational from our irrational fears and of bringing children into a newly precarious world. In prose that spins its own spell she exposes our hidden desires and the scientific and magical modes of thinking which have got us to where we are now.

Published by Salt Publishing

Purchase Links

Salt Publishing


I found this to be a hypnotic and haunting little read that shines a light on the pressure of modern life and motherhood – can you really have it all? It seems not if the experiences of the mother in this book is anything to go by!

It’s a story of a mother with young children who has lived a very controlled ‘safe’ life with her scientist husband who sees life in very black and white terms, and is loathe to trust the world he lives in. They grow their own food, limit the sugar their children eat and he latches on to scientific reports as if they are gospel. 

when she meets a stranger in a park he’s the total opposite of her husband. Has lived his life doing things you’re told not to, and his attitude sparks a change in her and her outlook on the world. She begins to resent the homelife she has, sneaking around to meet up with this man and becomes even more anxious about all the decisions she has ever made, especially when it comes to the children.

I raced through this book as it just pulls you in to share the experiences of this woman as she struggles with the conflicts in her life. It also shows the impact of PND on this woman and how a simple decision can become so difficult and life becomes too intense. Questioning everything you’ve ever done and ever thought! There is no magic spell to achieving the perfect life and you just have to do what you can.

It is beautifully written, mixes reality with magical realism perfectly and has a big impact for a little story!