In a remote village near the English coast, residents gather in a misty churchyard. More than a decade into the twentieth century, superstition still holds sway: It is St. Mark’s Eve, the night when the shimmering ghosts of those fated to die in the coming year are said to materialize and amble through the church doors.
Alone in the crowd is Constantia Gifford, the taxidermist’s daughter. Twenty-two and unmarried, she lives with her father on the fringes of town, in a decaying mansion cluttered with the remains of his once world-famous museum of taxidermy. No one speaks of why the museum was shuttered or how the Giffords fell so low. Connie herself has no recollection—a childhood accident has erased all memory of her earlier days. Even those who might have answers remain silent. The locals shun Blackthorn House, and the strange spinster who practices her father’s macabre art.
As the last peal of the midnight bell fades to silence, a woman is found dead—a stranger Connie noticed near the church. In the coming days, snippets of long lost memories will begin to tease through Connie’s mind, offering her glimpses of her vanished years. Who is the victim, and why has her death affected Connie so deeply? Why is she watched by a mysterious figure who has suddenly appeared on the marsh nearby? Is her father trying to protect her with his silence—or someone else? The answers are tied to a dark secret that lies at the heart of Blackthorn House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop—a mystery that draws Connie closer to danger . . . closer to madness . . . closer to the startling truth.
Big fan of Kate Mosse here! I loved her books LABYRINTH, SEPULCHRE and CITADEL. So I was chomping at the bit to read her latest release, THE TAXIDERMIST'S DAUGHTER, which I received as a birthday gift from the owner of Shelf Media Group, Margaret Brown.
The book did not disappoint. Deliciously creepy and macbre, it has all the elements of a gothic thriller: a remote seaside village, a large ominous house, an approaching storm, mysterious disappearances, a hint of romance, bizarre deaths. Mosse is a master at detail and drawing out the suspense. And while the story was a tad predictable at times, I never got bored or failed to feel that need to turn the page to see what happens next.
A thrilling and addictive read that lives up to Mosse's reputation.