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The enthralling new novel from the bestselling author of The Winter Ghosts, Citadel and Labyrinth. Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway. Standing alone is the taxidermist's daughter. At 17, Consta The enthralling new novel from the bestselling author of The Winter Ghosts, Citadel and Labyrinth. Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway. Standing alone is the taxidermist's daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford's once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed animals that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man. The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead. While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible, but finds herself under suspicion. Is Constantia who she seems - is she the victim of circumstances or are more sinister forces at work? And what is the secret that lies at the heart of Gifford House, hidden among the bell jars of her father's workshop? Told over one summer, The Taxidermist's Daughter is the haunting new novel from the bestselling author of Labyrinth, Sepulchre, Citadel and The Winter Ghosts.


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The enthralling new novel from the bestselling author of The Winter Ghosts, Citadel and Labyrinth. Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway. Standing alone is the taxidermist's daughter. At 17, Consta The enthralling new novel from the bestselling author of The Winter Ghosts, Citadel and Labyrinth. Sussex, 1912. In a churchyard, villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year are thought to be seen. Here, where the estuary leads out to the sea, superstitions still hold sway. Standing alone is the taxidermist's daughter. At 17, Constantia Gifford lives with her father in a decaying house: it is all that is left of Gifford's once world-famous museum of taxidermy. The stuffed animals that used to grace every parlour are out of fashion, leaving Gifford a disgraced and bitter man. The bell begins to toll and all eyes are fixed on the church. No one sees the gloved hand pick up a flint. As the last notes fade into the dark, a woman lies dead. While the village braces itself against rising waters and the highest tide of the season, Connie struggles to discover who is responsible, but finds herself under suspicion. Is Constantia who she seems - is she the victim of circumstances or are more sinister forces at work? And what is the secret that lies at the heart of Gifford House, hidden among the bell jars of her father's workshop? Told over one summer, The Taxidermist's Daughter is the haunting new novel from the bestselling author of Labyrinth, Sepulchre, Citadel and The Winter Ghosts.

30 review for The Taxidermist's Daughter

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    ''The ghosts of all whom death shall doom within the coming year, in pale procession walk the gloom, amid the silence drear.'' James Montgomery, 'The Vigil of St.Mark', 1813 Our story starts in Sussex in 1912. It is the night before St.Mark's day, a night of spirits and shadows, when the living hide themselves to see the souls of the dead parading in the church yard. ''This is no place for the dead.'' But the souls are not dead yet. They are the images of those who will die during the com ''The ghosts of all whom death shall doom within the coming year, in pale procession walk the gloom, amid the silence drear.'' James Montgomery, 'The Vigil of St.Mark', 1813 Our story starts in Sussex in 1912. It is the night before St.Mark's day, a night of spirits and shadows, when the living hide themselves to see the souls of the dead parading in the church yard. ''This is no place for the dead.'' But the souls are not dead yet. They are the images of those who will die during the coming year. Or so the villagers believe, for in Kate Mosses' extraordinary tale, the living and the dead are separated by a misty thread. Who has died and who has not? Who caused the death of the girl during the Vigil of St.Mark? Who is responsible for the missing men? How bleak can lives become once the sins of the past return to ask for retribution? The centre of the story lies in Fishbourne, where Connie, a gifted young woman, tries to keep the work of her father alive, since he is in no position to do so. Harry, a young painter, finds his path meeting her own in an attempt to find the answer to secrets that go back in time, to a harrowing night, ten years ago. Who'll dig his grave? I, said the Owl, with my pick and my shovel, I'll dig his grave.'' Death is always present. The black clouds of the gathering storms, the dangerous ground of the Marshes, the black colour of the birds frozen in time by the art of taxidermy. The words Blood, Skin, Bone are haunting the narration and its themes. It is a story about death and revenge, about the actions of the past and its consequences. The Taxidermist's Daughter is one of the most atmospheric books I have ever read, a gothic, historical thriller that has leapt out of a nightmare. The way Mosse unfolds her tale is fascinating, her themes are depicted in an allegorical manner, full of images of the threatening nature of the Marshlands. The landscape is the jewel of the story, followed by the two protagonists. Connie and Harry are the young minds who struggle to escape the past and forge their own future. As for the rest of the characters? Well, to say anything about them would be a huge spoiler in itself. You'll have to read the book to understand. The hightest compliment I can give is this: I was able to guess most of the continuation of the story -though, the end is extraordinary- but I never felt that the plot was predictable. This is how writers show how gifted they are and how much they respect their readers. Kate Mosse provides us with all the hints, the clues, the thoughts and the motives, and we take on the role of the Inspector. We are called to solve the mystery hint by hint, building the wall brick by brick. As I was taking baby steps towards the end, I was afraid. It is a rare thing for me to feel frightened of the conclusion of a book, but here we share a shocking reading experience. I couldn't help being deeply influenced. It is the kind of story that you will look forward to read further, the kind of book that twists in your mind during the day. An exquisite creation, one of the best books I've ever read.And that's how simple it is. ''Old sins have long shadows.''

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Constantia (Connie) was twelve years old when she had a terrible accident, falling down the stairs and hitting her head on the marble tiles. She doesn't remember the accident nor anything in her life that happened before that, has just been told she almost died. Now 22 and unmarried she lives with her father, a once renowned Taxidermist in Fishbourne Marshes, in a dilapidated mansion called Blackthorn House. It is 1912, in Sussex and a young woman's body is found dead. This will set long thought Constantia (Connie) was twelve years old when she had a terrible accident, falling down the stairs and hitting her head on the marble tiles. She doesn't remember the accident nor anything in her life that happened before that, has just been told she almost died. Now 22 and unmarried she lives with her father, a once renowned Taxidermist in Fishbourne Marshes, in a dilapidated mansion called Blackthorn House. It is 1912, in Sussex and a young woman's body is found dead. This will set long thought buried events into motion, because what Connie saw, which caused her to fall has cast reverberations down through the years and now come to fruition. So incredibly atmospheric, the marshes, the birds, yes jackdaws, rooks, crows, magpies, which all have several meanings. Loved the character of Connie, the small glimpses into her forgotten memory that come to light. Loved the young boy, who tries to help. So many great characters which help lighten the pervasive darkness of the story. Who is the dead girl? And what do the returning memories of Connie, signify. How dangerous is her remembering? The details of the art of a taxidermist comes into play, both as quotes and the practice itself.This is the second book in as many weeks I have read featuring birds. I loved the plural of hummingbirds being called a charm, but my new favorite may just be the storytelling of rooks.

  3. 5 out of 5

    ♛Tash

    Dear book, I sorta liked you but didn't. You gave me gardening feels, like I enjoyed but won't do you again in the next five years or so. I don't know I'm a bit conflicted, perhaps I'll write a more coherent review soon, but for now let me give you an Dear book, I sorta liked you but didn't. You gave me gardening feels, like I enjoyed but won't do you again in the next five years or so. I don't know I'm a bit conflicted, perhaps I'll write a more coherent review soon, but for now let me give you an

  4. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    Review originally published at Learn This Phrase. I really don't like having to give negative reviews. They can be quite fun to write, but that doesn't make up for the time wasted reading a disappointing book, especially if, like me, you have a constantly expanding to-read list of several hundred potentially better others. Unfortunately, The Taxidermist's Daughter turned out to be another addition to 2014's growing batch of much-anticipated, but ultimately mediocre, new novels. (Funnily enough, T Review originally published at Learn This Phrase. I really don't like having to give negative reviews. They can be quite fun to write, but that doesn't make up for the time wasted reading a disappointing book, especially if, like me, you have a constantly expanding to-read list of several hundred potentially better others. Unfortunately, The Taxidermist's Daughter turned out to be another addition to 2014's growing batch of much-anticipated, but ultimately mediocre, new novels. (Funnily enough, The Independent's review of this book compares it to three other books from this year which I would categorise in exactly the same way.) Connie Gifford is the titular taxidermist's daughter, though it would be more accurate to say she is the taxidermist. Her father has long been an incapable drunk, and Connie, having learnt his trade, secretly keeps the family business going. Not that there's much call for it: in the early twentieth century, taxidermy has fallen out of fashion, and with her father's 'world famous' museum gone, Connie struggles to make ends meet. She also struggles with her own condition: an accident when she was twelve wiped her memory, and she is only now beginning to remember flashes of her 'vanished years'. There's also the mystery of a murdered woman, found in the river next to the Giffords' house, and the links this crime may have to Something Terrible a group of local men (including, possibly, Connie's father) did ten years ago. Connie is okay, but she is never truly established as a character who actually has any real personality, beyond a passion for taxidermy and, vaguely, a caring nature. The male characters, meanwhile, are so numerous and so utterly indistinct from one another that I couldn't tell them apart at all. Mosse has set the story in the West Sussex village of Fishbourne, apparently a place of personal significance to her, and it is evoked well, full of a Daphne du Maurier-esque stormy darkness despite the fact that the story takes place in spring. The most atmospheric scenes are set in a rain-lashed cottage; these sections, though very effective, are frustratingly few. The Taxidermist's Daughter is very like Diane Setterfield's Bellman & Black: the gothic gloom (it's 1912, but everything feels very Victorian), the use of bird motifs, but most of all, the dull, turgid story lumbering towards a largely uninteresting conclusion. And, like Bellman & Black, I'm giving the book a medium rating because it was simply okay: by no means terrible, simply underwhelming and forgettable. While it all started promisingly, and did start to pick up again after I was halfway through, too much of it was simply tedious. I didn't care what the men of Fishbourne had done ten years earlier - partly because the characters were uninteresting, partly because I knew from the start it would be something deliberately 'shocking' but also unbelievable as something these people would really take part in. (Spoiler: it was.) Interviews with the author suggest the theme of taxidermy stems from a childhood fascination with the art, but it often feels as if it has been chosen simply because it's suitably gruesome and archaic. I've read one book from Mosse's Languedoc trilogy (Sepulchre), found it average, and haven't bothered with any of the others in that series. However, I really enjoyed her ghost story The Winter Ghosts, and last year she published a collection, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales, which, while forgettable in terms of content, created a number of wonderfully atmospheric, wintery settings I can still remember quite vividly. I'd quite like to read it again for that reason alone. With all its gothic trappings, I hoped The Taxidermist's Daughter might be more of an ethereal ghost story than drab historical fiction, but sadly not. Competently written, with some intriguing scenes, it never quite gets off the ground, and in the end it is no more than the sum of its parts.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Harris

    I've been waiting for Kate to write an out-and-out Gothic thriller for years. This is it; dark, clever but also immensely readable, giving the lie to the critics' belief that intelligent fiction can't also be fun. And it's a love letter to the Fens, described here with a sure and delicate touch, in sound, scent and colour...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    Spooky and chilling, The Taxidermist's Daughter is a terrific Gothic novel, just right for this Halloween.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Susan Johnson

    There are some books that are just magical and this is one of them. The author has done a magnificent job in creating a gothic novel with a strong sense of place and wonderful story telling. This book is so different from anything else I have read by this author and it is just spell binding. I was nervous about picking up a book that features taxidermy but it is done in such an interesting way that it posed no problems for me. I never came around to the concept that dead stuffed birds can be a There are some books that are just magical and this is one of them. The author has done a magnificent job in creating a gothic novel with a strong sense of place and wonderful story telling. This book is so different from anything else I have read by this author and it is just spell binding. I was nervous about picking up a book that features taxidermy but it is done in such an interesting way that it posed no problems for me. I never came around to the concept that dead stuffed birds can be a thing of beauty and a piece of art but I do appreciate the people who do. I did not know they had taxidermy museums and displayed them in decorative fashion in their houses but you learn something every day. The story is captivating and involves a horrible mystery that happened ten years. Connie, the taxidermist's daughter, was injured in a fall at the age of 12 and has no memory of times before that. As sinister men gather by her house and a dead body is found, it becomes imperative that she try to remember. As she struggles with her father to help her refresh her mind, he turns to alcohol to avoid the discussion. The story weaves and tangles and it becomes more clear that the mystery is so much worse than what Connie could ever managed. As the drenching rains come down, things move fast to a very startling conclusion that I could not see coming. Yet there is a light touch at the very end that makes me smile. It is so readable that I almost wept in despair when it was over. I just didn't want to let go and say good-bye to these characters. Now that's a sign of a good book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diana | Book of Secrets

    Jackdaws, magpies, crows, and more, I love birds from the Corvidae family, and they were the perfect Gothic inspiration for Kate Mosse's gruesome historical novel, THE TAXIDERMIST'S DAUGHTER. This dark mystery centers around Connie, the daughter of a taxidermist - she, too, is one - and her quest to solve the mystery of a young woman's murder. The story hooked me right away with its Poe-esque atmosphere. Chilling! The mystery itself was puzzling, twisty, and complex. Taxidermy give me the creeps Jackdaws, magpies, crows, and more, I love birds from the Corvidae family, and they were the perfect Gothic inspiration for Kate Mosse's gruesome historical novel, THE TAXIDERMIST'S DAUGHTER. This dark mystery centers around Connie, the daughter of a taxidermist - she, too, is one - and her quest to solve the mystery of a young woman's murder. The story hooked me right away with its Poe-esque atmosphere. Chilling! The mystery itself was puzzling, twisty, and complex. Taxidermy give me the creeps, as did this book, so really it was a fitting backdrop to the story. Nice blend of murder mystery and old fashioned Gothic. Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ria

    Blackthorns are everywhere. They are haunting me. ‘TAXIDERMY: OR, THE ART OF COLLECTING, PREPARING, AND MOURNING OBJECTS OF NATURAL HISTORY’ I liked the Taxidermy facts that were thrown in there. Lit shit. I bought this shit because it was cheap. I didn’t really know what it was about. Only knew it was a gothic thriller/mystery. Kinda hoped they would taxidermy humans and not animals *I blame the movie Taxidermia for this* but we can’t always get what we want. I think I love this. The thing is Blackthorns are everywhere. They are haunting me. ‘TAXIDERMY: OR, THE ART OF COLLECTING, PREPARING, AND MOURNING OBJECTS OF NATURAL HISTORY’ I liked the Taxidermy facts that were thrown in there. Lit shit. I bought this shit because it was cheap. I didn’t really know what it was about. Only knew it was a gothic thriller/mystery. Kinda hoped they would taxidermy humans and not animals *I blame the movie Taxidermia for this* but we can’t always get what we want. I think I love this. The thing is I forgot to keep notes and it took me a month to finish this because I’m hella busy and lazy.I kinda wanna give this 5stars but It took so long to finish this that I don’t remember if I love it or not. I suuuck.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Puck

    "Who'll dig his grave? I, said the Owl, with my pick and my shovel, I'll dig his grave.'' It’s the night before St. Mark’s day, 1912: on this dark night the people of Fishbourne come together in the church-yard to watch the souls of the future dead. On this night they will see who will die during this upcoming year. On this night, a young woman is murdered. Is her death an accidental slip of a knife? Or a dark omen for what’s yet to come, to let the people of the town know that their days a "Who'll dig his grave? I, said the Owl, with my pick and my shovel, I'll dig his grave.'' It’s the night before St. Mark’s day, 1912: on this dark night the people of Fishbourne come together in the church-yard to watch the souls of the future dead. On this night they will see who will die during this upcoming year. On this night, a young woman is murdered. Is her death an accidental slip of a knife? Or a dark omen for what’s yet to come, to let the people of the town know that their days are numbered? Because in The Taxidermist’s Daughter, the line between the dead and the living is thin. Connie and her father are taxidermists: they preserve the bodies of birds by stuffing them and displaying them in a lifelike state. Once they were famous, but after disaster stuck and their name ruined - and Connie’s past literally erased - the Gifford family now practice their trade in silence and shame. However, with the discovery of the dead woman a haunting past is dug up that will not only shake the Gifford’s to their core, but many other families as well. ”This is not a story of revenge, though it will be seen as that. Dismissed as that. But no, not revenge. This is a story of justice.” Set amidst the misty Marshlands of Sussex, this gothic historical thriller is an atmospheric pearl. Kate Mosse’s descriptions of the landscape are vivid and true: the harsh winter storms, the rising water of the lake, the sense of doom slowly creeping under our characters’ skin…St. Mark’s night foretells that the lives of some people will come to an end, and this end comes with a vengeance. Although I had the mystery figured out halfway, that didn’t take away any of my reading-pleasure and feeling of fright (which shows how gifted this author is!). The story of the murder and its history is slowly revealed, but still the build-up to the macabre finale was so well done that I got literal chills. I did have some trouble with the many side-characters and the insta-love, but after reading only thrillers and creepy novels with dry writing and little scenery-descriptions, this book was like a breath of fresh ear. I loved following Connie and her friend Harry on their search for answers, and Kate Mosse’s dark mystery was twisty and complex until the end. I want to thank my dear friend Amalia for recommending this to me, and I will certainly recommend this book to others looking for a misty and creepy mystery to read during the cold winter-days.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    A gothic tale set in Sussex, England with dark and sinister settings and characters. It is a story of revenge for past wrongs by powerful men. Connie, the main character, had a severe head injury when she was twelve so she does not have many memories of her childhood. Her father is a man who drinks to forget things in his past who was once well known as a stuffer of birds. Connie is the one who does most of the work on running the household and the taxidermy business. As Connie pieces together h A gothic tale set in Sussex, England with dark and sinister settings and characters. It is a story of revenge for past wrongs by powerful men. Connie, the main character, had a severe head injury when she was twelve so she does not have many memories of her childhood. Her father is a man who drinks to forget things in his past who was once well known as a stuffer of birds. Connie is the one who does most of the work on running the household and the taxidermy business. As Connie pieces together her past, she begins to question what is going on around her more and more. She gains allies from the community who help her solve the mysteries of her past and the murders that are happening around her. This book is different from all of the previous books that I have read by this author. It is a departure from her previous style and showed how broad her writing ability is,

  12. 5 out of 5

    Hasham Rasool

    I love this book. Alhamdulillah! The first page of the book grabs my attention.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Fiona MacDonald

    Okay, so I have extremely mixed views about this book. It started off SO well, so incredibly atmospheric and with a wonderfully gothic undertone that had me gripped. The writing was spellbinding, and the story itself was really something that appealed to me - then something happened. I'm not sure what, but the story seemed to go off on another tangent that veered away from the tightly compressed story of before and went on and on without much consistancy. I think the story could've been at least Okay, so I have extremely mixed views about this book. It started off SO well, so incredibly atmospheric and with a wonderfully gothic undertone that had me gripped. The writing was spellbinding, and the story itself was really something that appealed to me - then something happened. I'm not sure what, but the story seemed to go off on another tangent that veered away from the tightly compressed story of before and went on and on without much consistancy. I think the story could've been at least a 100 pages less and still been a bit too long; it just didn't seem to work anymore. When the final dramatic scene happened, I was more confused than anything else and was just hoping it would end. So a bit of a disappointment all round really. I have got 'the Mistletoe Bride' to read by Kate Mosse on my TBR pile however, so I will see if her short stories are any better.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I have been a fan of Kate Mosse for many years. Her novel Labyrinth sat unread on my shelf for a long time before I took the plunge and read it. I had avoided that huge tome for so long, it's historical fiction and I really didn't think that it would be my thing. I was completely hooked and everything else was left unattended whilst I feverishly read it. I was equally transfixed by the next two in the series; Sepulchre and Citadel. More recently, I read her collection of short stories; The Mistl I have been a fan of Kate Mosse for many years. Her novel Labyrinth sat unread on my shelf for a long time before I took the plunge and read it. I had avoided that huge tome for so long, it's historical fiction and I really didn't think that it would be my thing. I was completely hooked and everything else was left unattended whilst I feverishly read it. I was equally transfixed by the next two in the series; Sepulchre and Citadel. More recently, I read her collection of short stories; The Mistletoe Bride, and although very different to the Langeudoc trilogy, it is a fabulous collection of stories. The Taxidermist's Daughter opens on the Eve of St Mark, 1912 in a churchyard in the small village of Fishbourne in Sussex. It is the night when, according to local superstition, the ghosts of those who will die in the next year will walk. Connie is the Taxidermist's Daughter and has followed her father to the graveyard, she hides as she watches a group of men, some local, some strangers, gather as the church bell rings. Connie and her father lead a lonely life in Blackthorn House. Her father, the taxidermist is a strange man, prone to drink and difficult to live alongside. Connie has mastered his art and continues to stuff birds and animals whilst battling with half-memories from her 'lost time'. Connie had an accident when she was twelve-years-old, when her father ran the successful museum of taxidermy ‘Gifford’s World Famous House of Avian Curiosities’. Connie cannot recall anything of her life before the accident, and her father is loathe to speak about it. The museum is no more, except for the few items that they brought with them when they moved to Fishbourne. When the body of a woman is discovered in the river, Connie is convinced that she was murdered. However, the death certificate is signed, blamed on suicide and no more is spoken about the unfortunate woman. For Connie, this is just the beginning and as the tides rise, the wind blows and the rain falls, she becomes embroiled in a mystery that spans many years. As Kate Mosse made the region of Carcassonne one of the major characters of the Langeudoc trilogy, she has done the same with this bleak landscape of West Sussex. The author's knowledge and love for the area shines through in her outstanding and wonderfully crafted words. The tiny village of Fishbourne, with its varied and colourful characters is vividly portrayed. The art of taxidermy becomes a fascinating aspect of the story, detailed and quirky explanations of Connie's work, helped along by quotes from 'Taxidermy: Or, The Art of Collecting, Preparing, and Mounting Objects of Natural History' by Mrs R Lee. Whilst not as long as some of Kate Mosse's previous novels, The Taxidermist's Daughter is a complex and utterly compelling read. The pace of the story increases rapidly as the story unfolds and the character of Connie has been perfectly created. She is vibrant, intelligent and constantly curious. This is a gothic, psychological thriller that is just perfectly written. The mystery of Connie's accident, combined with the recent murder of a young woman are intricately interwoven, producing a story that is both stunning and surprising in turns.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lynne King

    I was seduced by the blurb and found it very appealing on purchase but upon reading, not for me! Too many other good books to read!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    I only picked this up for two reasons, both sentimental. Firstly, because Kate Mosse did a fantastic job as an advocate for the wonderful Emily Brontë in the Queens of English Literature Debate and secondly, because I recently found out she is a local author and the story itself is also set in my native Sussex. However, I can only describe this as a specimen of rather drab historical fiction full of Gothic gloom, tied together by a mildly interesting plot. The ambience is stunning and I appreciat I only picked this up for two reasons, both sentimental. Firstly, because Kate Mosse did a fantastic job as an advocate for the wonderful Emily Brontë in the Queens of English Literature Debate and secondly, because I recently found out she is a local author and the story itself is also set in my native Sussex. However, I can only describe this as a specimen of rather drab historical fiction full of Gothic gloom, tied together by a mildly interesting plot. The ambience is stunning and I appreciated all the witty references to Fishbourne Roman Palace, as yet undiscovered in 1912, but The Taxidermist’s Daughter felt otherwise aimless. The art of taxidermy seems to only have been picked as the central theme of the novel simply because it was a suitably archaic and gruesome occupation that would complement the overall tone. The characters themselves were also relatively dull and stale. Connie, the “unforgettable heroine” one critic raves, was never really established as a character. She doesn’t have any real personality or substance beyond a strong stomach and ability to skin birds… and a vaguely caring disposition, I suppose. The cast of male characters were numerous and utterly indistinguishable. Although the maid and the local rascal were prone to stereotype, I did like them much more than the lead characters. The central mystery was bloodless and less than compelling, despite revolving around one particularly harrowing event. Although I thought it was structured skillfully, it was ultimately rather predictable and anticlimactic. The cast were so indistinguishable, it was difficult to attach names and backstories to characters and their actions so I was left trying desperately to remember the role they had each played by the time the mystery was revealed. (view spoiler)[I’m still confused as to Joseph’s role - he defended a lady’s honour, but whose and when? What was the purpose of killing Vera, again? Was it because she looked like Cassie? If these details are fresh in your mind, please clarify it for me!! (hide spoiler)] Overall, this was underwhelming. The mystery was too fractured for my taste and the novel never seemed to achieve anything. For me, the happy-ending-epilogue just made it even weaker. Beautifully written, but my total lack of emotional investment killed it slightly.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    A really nicely paced and very well written gothic thriller from Kate Mosse. I have read the rest of Mosse's work and was suprised to find this book was very different. Both the story and style marks something quite new. The story , set in Edwardian England,centres around Connie and her gradual remembering of her life before a childhood accident while the past is catching up on quite nastily on most of the other characters around her. Taxidermy plays a big role in the plot without being boring, a A really nicely paced and very well written gothic thriller from Kate Mosse. I have read the rest of Mosse's work and was suprised to find this book was very different. Both the story and style marks something quite new. The story , set in Edwardian England,centres around Connie and her gradual remembering of her life before a childhood accident while the past is catching up on quite nastily on most of the other characters around her. Taxidermy plays a big role in the plot without being boring, and a cordivae bird theme runs from start to finish of the book. Despite the dark story and themes there is still a bit of fun to the book. Its a very enjoyable read , the characters are well drawn and I found myself really liking several of them. The ending is actually quite playful and finishes the whole package off nicely. Mosse has shown a nice bit of versatility here and this book is an easy recomendation . Well worth trying even for those who didn't love the Langue'doc books.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is a carefully and beautifully constructed murder mystery set in 1912 in England. I immersed myself in the atmosphere and pervading angst created by the landscape, the weather and the characters. The story is fairly straightforward with a little mystery but the beauty of the book is in the feel of it. You will need to suspend disbelief a little but it's easy to let that go if you let mood take you.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gail

    I absolutely adored the Langeudoc trilogy but was bitterly disappointed with The Winter Ghosts so I pre-ordered this with a degree of trepidation hoping that Kate had returned to her brilliant best; I had no need to worry and she has. The book is, as all her others are, beautifully written and wonderfully descriptive and very atmospheric. It's a brilliant Gothic psychological thriller with Connie, a wonderful and strong character, at the heart of the story. Connie has no memory of events leading I absolutely adored the Langeudoc trilogy but was bitterly disappointed with The Winter Ghosts so I pre-ordered this with a degree of trepidation hoping that Kate had returned to her brilliant best; I had no need to worry and she has. The book is, as all her others are, beautifully written and wonderfully descriptive and very atmospheric. It's a brilliant Gothic psychological thriller with Connie, a wonderful and strong character, at the heart of the story. Connie has no memory of events leading up to before she was twelve years of age, having had a terrible fall which left her incapacitated for a year with serious head injuries. She lives with her alcoholic father, Gifford, a now failed taxidermist, who is haunted by events which took,place ten years previously. Connie has taken over her father's work and loves it and the birds she works with. Slowly her memory returns of the events leading up to her accident and she sets out to find out all she can about her late beloved Governess, Cassie. Along the way she meets the handsome Harry, son of the missing Dr Woolston and Harry starts searching for him. I just loved the wonderful feel to this book and couldn't put it down until I had turned the final page. The sense of menace is never far away and the pace just gets faster and faster until, during a terrible storm (where I could literally envisage the flooding of the marshes and feel the torrential rain) the final piece of the jigsaw is put in place and Connie's memories come back to her. All in all a brilliant read. I lost two days of my life engrossed in this so will now return to trying to catch up on some chores! Highly recommended.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Kate Mosse did a great job creating a chilling setting in The Taxidermist's Daughter. The nighttime gathering at the graveyard. The numerous hiding places in the marshes. The isolation caused by flooding during heavy rains. These all lent themselves to creating a spooky atmosphere just as well as any violins or string in a Hitchcock thriller. Mosse was gifted in her ability to paint a picture, especially with the details she used to describe the setting and the birds. I am squeamish when it come Kate Mosse did a great job creating a chilling setting in The Taxidermist's Daughter. The nighttime gathering at the graveyard. The numerous hiding places in the marshes. The isolation caused by flooding during heavy rains. These all lent themselves to creating a spooky atmosphere just as well as any violins or string in a Hitchcock thriller. Mosse was gifted in her ability to paint a picture, especially with the details she used to describe the setting and the birds. I am squeamish when it comes to her detailed descriptions of the minutiae of taxidermy and would just have soon as skipped over all of the uncomfortable descriptions. When it came to plot and characters, however, the predictability was somewhat of a letdown. Connie's love interest, the unknown member of the Cordivae Club, and the motive behind the disappearance of of the club members were ascertained well in advance of the finale reveal. My biggest disappointment with the book is that it involved a rape. I wish books had disclaimers about these types of events. Many readers have had traumatic events like this happen to them or people close to them. Using rape as a plot device is one that I'm really tired of stumbling upon in fiction books. I read fiction to be entertained, not to be reminded about the worst humanity has to offer. I would have avoided this book altogether if I had known this information beforehand. If it hadn't been for the rape and the foreseeability of the book, I probably would have rated this book higher.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    This dark gothic book, by Kate Mosse, is not for everyone especially the squeamish! Kate Mosse is the author of the Languedoc Trilogy which I loved. Her newest book was up to par and I was throughly entertained and even captivated by her storytelling. Set in England in 1912, the story features a strong and bright woman, who must take over her father's failing taxidermist business. If you get the chance, I also suggest reading her 2005 book "Labyrinth," an archaeological mystery novel, set both i This dark gothic book, by Kate Mosse, is not for everyone especially the squeamish! Kate Mosse is the author of the Languedoc Trilogy which I loved. Her newest book was up to par and I was throughly entertained and even captivated by her storytelling. Set in England in 1912, the story features a strong and bright woman, who must take over her father's failing taxidermist business. If you get the chance, I also suggest reading her 2005 book "Labyrinth," an archaeological mystery novel, set both in the Middle Ages and present-day France.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Blackthorn House was a place you didn't want to visit. Blackthorn House had the odd Gifford family living there. Blackthorn House had secrets. Connie Gifford and her father lived at Blackthorn House and were well known for their taxidermy, but no one ever came around any more for visits or taxidermy. What had happened to make them outcasts? Was it because of their business? Was it because Connie had had an accident many years ago and sort of became a recluse? Was it because her father was quite odd Blackthorn House was a place you didn't want to visit. Blackthorn House had the odd Gifford family living there. Blackthorn House had secrets. Connie Gifford and her father lived at Blackthorn House and were well known for their taxidermy, but no one ever came around any more for visits or taxidermy. What had happened to make them outcasts? Was it because of their business? Was it because Connie had had an accident many years ago and sort of became a recluse? Was it because her father was quite odd and always would disappear? Or was it that Gifford and a select few had a secret? There was something going on in the town that had people watching the Blackthorn House and holding secret meetings that resulted in the men of the town going missing, hiding, and worrying. ​As the book continues, we keep hearing about something that happened ten years ago that frightened the men in the town because of their involvement.​ THE TAXIDERMIST'S DAUGHTER had odd, mysterious characters and ​a ​dark undercurrent.​ Some parts of the book are not for the faint of heart...pretty gruesome.​ It took a while to get interested, but the story line was well crafted and became good after a woman's body was found and the secrets kept for ten years began to be revealed. The writing was very descriptive, and you could see the characters as they represented that time period no matter what their social class was. I can’t say it was a favorite, but it did keep me interested by keeping me wondering what the secrets were. 3.5/5 This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

  23. 4 out of 5

    H.A. Leuschel

    A perfect page-turner with engaging characters and atmospheric settings. Very enjoyable!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eva

    Tis now, replied the village belle, St Mark's mysterious eve, And all that old traditions tell I tremblingly believe; How, when the midnight signal tolls, Along the churchyard green, A mournful train of sentenced souls In winding sheets are seen. The ghosts of all whom death shall doom Within the coming year, In pale procession walk the gloom, And the silence drear. Haunting, grim and dreary. This book has the atmosphere of a ghost story. In 1912 Fishburn on the soutcoast of England a young woman, Connie Gi Tis now, replied the village belle, St Mark's mysterious eve, And all that old traditions tell I tremblingly believe; How, when the midnight signal tolls, Along the churchyard green, A mournful train of sentenced souls In winding sheets are seen. The ghosts of all whom death shall doom Within the coming year, In pale procession walk the gloom, And the silence drear. Haunting, grim and dreary. This book has the atmosphere of a ghost story. In 1912 Fishburn on the soutcoast of England a young woman, Connie Gifford, struggles with something terrible from her past. One by one some notable men disappear and there seems to be a connection to an event many years ago when Conny lost her memory. Kate Mosse is a talented writer, you want to keep reading. The wild, unforgiving nature is almost a character. And Connie is a very interesting person. However, that can not be said about the other characters in the story, the remain a little flat. I especially liked the start of the story, the mysterie that slowly unravels. But near the end it goes over the top and becomes very unlikely. I believe she should not have written the epilogue, of makes the story weaker. Still, a very entertaining and interesting read. 3,5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margo

    I listened to the audio book which was narrated by Claire Corbett. It was a very enjoyable story but more than I ever wanted to know about taxidermy! The narration added to the eerie atmosphere of the book but for some reason, I found it didn't hold my attention all that well - probably a reflection of my mood rather the audiobook.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    Amazing, a dark atmospheric story. I loved it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I needed a reading break from more serious fare, and I decided to read this throwback gothic written in 2014 but set in 1912. The heroine, Connie, is a single woman living with her father, a too often inebriated but once successful taxidermist. Connie suffers some severe memory loss that dates from her twelfth year and an accident that injured her head and was barely survived. Of course, the plot is strung around her recovery of that memory and the events that occurred at that time but are influ I needed a reading break from more serious fare, and I decided to read this throwback gothic written in 2014 but set in 1912. The heroine, Connie, is a single woman living with her father, a too often inebriated but once successful taxidermist. Connie suffers some severe memory loss that dates from her twelfth year and an accident that injured her head and was barely survived. Of course, the plot is strung around her recovery of that memory and the events that occurred at that time but are influencing a present day mystery that involves a murder and several disappearances. Mosse does a good job of capturing the more macabre elements of the gothic, but there is little in the way of surprise here. I certainly could have drawn a straight line from the beginning to the end of the novel and never have strayed off course for a second. I picked the love interests outcomes, the major bad guy and the motive long before the reveals. Still, it was a bit of fun and served its purpose.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jae

    This was a much darker tale than I was expecting. Not that that's a bad thing, it is a gothic novel after all. But it just didn't quite do it for me. Certainly there is beauty in the writing, particularly in the descriptions of the village of Fishbourne, and I did enjoy the read, but the beginning was rather slow and didn't pick up until about half way through the story. Also, I found the ending something of a cliche. But, like I said, I did enjoy it overall and I do like Kate Mosse's work gener This was a much darker tale than I was expecting. Not that that's a bad thing, it is a gothic novel after all. But it just didn't quite do it for me. Certainly there is beauty in the writing, particularly in the descriptions of the village of Fishbourne, and I did enjoy the read, but the beginning was rather slow and didn't pick up until about half way through the story. Also, I found the ending something of a cliche. But, like I said, I did enjoy it overall and I do like Kate Mosse's work generally. I feel sure that this will not be to everyone's taste - even fans of Kate - but it's worth a try. 3 1/2 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Rayment

    Rapid Fire Review So I am totally behind in reviews, so behind and unorganized I cannot even find the notes on who sent me this one for review. I know. I know, bad little reviewer. This was an intriguing story that hooked me from the opening chapter. I'm not going to lie, I was a little grossed out by the descriptions of the Taxidermy, but I personally just don't get the appeal of taxidermy. Nothing against the practice, its just something I don't get. That being said the writing was gorgeous and Rapid Fire Review So I am totally behind in reviews, so behind and unorganized I cannot even find the notes on who sent me this one for review. I know. I know, bad little reviewer. This was an intriguing story that hooked me from the opening chapter. I'm not going to lie, I was a little grossed out by the descriptions of the Taxidermy, but I personally just don't get the appeal of taxidermy. Nothing against the practice, its just something I don't get. That being said the writing was gorgeous and the characters intriguing. Its been months since I read this one, but I still remember everything about it, so that says something about the story and the writing, as well quite frankly I cannot even tell you what I had for breakfast this morning. The author has obviously done extensive research and you can really tell she was fascinated about the subject matter. The mood of the story was haunting and made me shiver. Had a wonderful gothic feel, that reminded me of some of the Victoria Holt books I read as a young adult. I felt immersed in the story and disjointed from reality when I had to get back to real life. This is a perfect one for a cold winters night Favorite Quotes/Passages "Taxidermy is a craft. More than anything, it is about beauty. Preserving beauty, representing beauty, about finding a way to capture the essence of a bird or a an animal." "In his short life, he learned how to be knocked down and get back on his feet again. He'd also discovered that sometimes it was better to keep out of the way. Live to fight another day."

  30. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Atmospheric, Gothic psychological thriller that allured me into it's dark pages from the get go. My first introduction to a Kate Mosse book has enticed me to read her other works. I really enjoyed the writing style. It flowed very comfortably with an almost warming feel. The imagery and descriptive text were totally captivating. A strong introduction,opening at midnight on 24th April 1912 in the graveyard of the local church, where people believe that the ghosts of those who will die in the comi Atmospheric, Gothic psychological thriller that allured me into it's dark pages from the get go. My first introduction to a Kate Mosse book has enticed me to read her other works. I really enjoyed the writing style. It flowed very comfortably with an almost warming feel. The imagery and descriptive text were totally captivating. A strong introduction,opening at midnight on 24th April 1912 in the graveyard of the local church, where people believe that the ghosts of those who will die in the coming year will walk into the church. Commencing the first chapter with a scene in the graveyard was exciting, a fabulous angle to enthral any reader. I disliked having to put it down. The taxidermy procedures and techniques were described in depth showing the research that must have gone into putting the chapters together. Some of the characters are quite complex and I found I had feelings towards them al,l including a fondness to the alcoholic Gifford. Gifford and his daughter Connie live in a remote building known as Blackthorn house that appears to be watched. Ten years before, criminal activity took place which involved the main character Connie (now 22 years old), then 12, having an accident and ending up with amnesia, but is dimly aware through flashbacks that something consequential happened. I was surprised throughout this book. It kept time with me and unfolded as I read. I personally think this would make a really good film.

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