Posted October 5, 2017 by Allie Burke in Books

REVIEW: The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse

The Taxidermist’s Daughter
Kate Mosse
Orion, 11th September 2014
432 pages

A beautiful, unsettling book set at the very start of the twentieth century, The Taxidermist’s Daughter is a wonderful – if a little predictable – read. Concerning the story of Connie Gifford and the peculiar events that surround her childhood, which was lost to her in an accident at the age of twelve. Connie is – as her father before her – a talented taxidermist, and consequently a little of an outcast for her family’s peculiar, gradually more dated occupation.

She and aspiring artist Harry Woolston soon find themselves thrust together by the disappearances of Harry’s father and his various colleagues. The plot is very well tied up, and fits together seamlessly, though I must admit I found the mystery rather easy to unravel. But, I am one of those terrible people who figure out the murderer in films and accidentally tell everyone. Sorry.

I liked the relationships between the characters, and the realistic quality of each of their concerns, which made for a believable read. I didn’t quite enjoy the sections of seemingly random, rather melodramatic, first person passages which punctuated some chapters. I found them a little unreadable, and, even when their purpose was explained, a little less polished than the rest of the book.

But largely Kate Mosse’s style is pleasing to read, and her characters likeable. The horror aspects were clever and chilling, though perhaps treated with a little too much hyperbole. I think the most unsettling thing about the book is that it takes place just before the First World War and thus its ending is somewhat tainted by the looming conflict. Exploration of this would perhaps have lead to a more chilling piece.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable yarn, if a little predictable, The Taxidermist’s Daughter gave a new freshness to the Gothic novel.

Scorna’s TBR

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Allison “Allie” Burke is a published novelist and editor who enjoys Weird Things like reading six YA novels in a day, drinking coffee at all the wrong times, and rambling on about Things No One Has Ever Heard Of to people who are not really listening. She loves vampires – but only on TV, not in books (except that one time) – and expresses herself using the F-word more in a day than is acceptable in any human being’s lifetime. She often Capitalizes Things That Are Not Technically Supposed To Be Capitalized, like that one girl from that one book. Her favorite book is The Fault In Our Stars, and she is terrified of Good Books Being Turned Into Movies That Suck.