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Vixen

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  438 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Rosie Garland’s extraordinary tale is a story of superstition and devotion in the time of the Black Death and will bewitch both new readers and fans of her much-loved debut, The Palace of Curiosities.

Devon, 1349. In Brauntone, where seagulls screech across the fields and the wind has a mind to change, Father Thomas arrives as the new priest. Determined to impress his congr
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Unknown Binding, 400 pages
Published June 19th 2014 by The Borough Press
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  438 ratings  ·  91 reviews


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thea rosemary
I'll be honest in saying it was the gorgeous cover enveloping this story that grabbed my attention. I read the synopsis before purchasing it, and though it didn't jump out at me, I still thought I would give it a go. As a writer, it's important to read any and all kinds of stories. But I'm afraid Vixen just wasn't for me.

Writing
Garland has a very flowery writing style, words that make you squint instead of nod with understanding. I appreciate poetic writing, and it is fitting for a story like
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Phee
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2018
2.5 Stars.

This was okay but I lost interest towards the end.
Olga Kowalska (WielkiBuk)
Apr 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Beautiful, very feminine story about the feeling of otherness within a small village community in the Middle Ages. A girl can be a miracle, can be a witch, can be a curse or salvation... In the darkness there can be also some place for love and light...
Story
4.5 stars. What a gorgeous, moving and atmospheric story to start the year with! Highly recommended for those who love lush prose and medieval settings.
T.E. Shepherd
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
The old adage goes that you should never judge a book by its cover. It's true that I adore the cover of this book, and it's also true that I decided to read this book because of the cover, which I guess in part means that my friend, the cover designer, did a really good job!

It wasn't until I had this book in front of me that I realised that it's author, Rosie Garland, was also the singer in Goth Band, the March Violets, who featured on the soundtrack to one of my favourite 80's movies, Some Kin
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Kirsti
Sep 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
First off, if you spotten this gorgeous book on the shelf you will probably be instantly attracted to the cover. It's quietly beautiful in a sea of brightly colored books; somehow the splash of orange attracted my eye like none around it. Plus, well, it's a fox. I love foxes, and the title 'Vixen' helped as well.

This wasn't really like any other book I've ever read. At times crude, and others beautiful, I initially couldn't even read it. I had no idea what was happening with any of the story lin
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Carmilla Voiez
This is the second book by Rosie Garland that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed both. They would be best described as dark fairy tales.

Vixen is set in South West England in the time of the plague. Frightened people are looking for miracles and their priest, Thomas, is determined to provide them. It looks with an unflinching and critical gaze at the corruption of Catholicism and the rampant misogyny that accompanies the religious doctrine.

When a child is found close to death the priest decla
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Robin
Apr 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars might be closer, but then, historical fiction isn't really my thing so I feel like it should get bonus points for keeping my interest until the end.

As it happens, I got my hands on an Advance Copy and -- might as well be honest -- read it as much for the wonderful cover as anything else. I haven't read The Palace of Curiosities so I don't know how they compare.

I can say this about Garland: she uses language with an almost reckless calculation sometimes, or maybe I mean a calculated r
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Jennifer G
Feb 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
This has got to be one of the strangest books that I have ever read. But it kept me captivated until the end.

If you decide to read it, hang in there through the first few "vixen" chapters. It gets better!
Gillian Burles
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Really liked this book. The blend of superstition/religion with the power of the church is evocative then with the horror of the plague results in a powerful tale. Beautiful writing and worth your time
Marie
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Loved it. Her original style of writing and her form of grim fairy tale seperate this book from any other I've read. I won't forget it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Will definitely try one of her other books.
Emily
Aug 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The characters were engaging enough that I was picking this book up throughout the day more often than I ‘needed’ to (to reach my TBR goal for the week) and it has one of the most beautiful book covers I’ve seen in ages, however I didn’t think the book overall was particularly amazing.
Cate Gardner
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is circa 2013/2014. I wish I'd read this book before.

Isn't the cover beautiful? Oh, and the words inside are a delight.

In 1347, as the Black Death sweeps England, we find a god-fearing populace, those who look for redemption in saints and relics. A new priest gains the attention of Anne, who is looking to make a match similar to that of her friend Margret (who is the 'wife' of the priest in the neighbouring parish). Life proves harsher than expected and joy is found in unexpected places. Vi
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Jenny
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in fourteenth century Devon, 'Vixen' tells the story of Father Thomas and his young housekeeper Anne, whose lives are thrown into turmoil by two new arrivals to the community: a young, mute girl and a deadly plague. Anne, who had hoped for rather more than to be merely Father Thomas's housekeeper, discovers a passionate friendship with the 'Maid' as the priest spirals further and further down a dark path in a desperation to restore his parish's faith.

This is a story as much about what it mea
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Rebecca
My library labels this book as historical fiction, but to do so is to simplify it. It's much richer and more interesting than that. Equally, I don't want to give spoilers.

Set during the mid-14th century when everyone is terrified of the Black Death, this novel explores how our lead characters try to cope with this climate of fear. Amongst this turmoil, there is room to explore gender roles and the role of religion as priests realise prayers are useless against the Plague.

I like the structure:
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Rose
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy
Mar 22, 2018 rated it did not like it
I read like 40% and I don't know what's the point of the book. Where I'm at in the book, I figure out that Vixen is a shapeshifter?? Or putting some kind of illusion? Anyways, i don't know what the hell is going on. But I'll try to to add it to my #bnf because the cover is so beautiful. Let's see what happens.
Lari
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was drawn into the beginning of the story with the Vixen’s views on religion and humanity. With the introduction of Anne and Thomas, I was enveloped in their characters and the way they each told their story from differing points of view. It didn’t end how I’d hoped, but I enjoyed reading this book and waiting for what came next.
Elizabeth Judd Taylor
A strange little gem of a book. It took me a little while to really warm to it, but once I did the characters really grabbed me, especially Anne and the Vixen. It is a fairytale for grownups, about the evils of men and the goodness of love. Highly recommended.
Hope
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vixen is a novel about religion/superstition in mid 1300's England.
I love Rosie Garland's earthy writing style, the characters were interesting
and well developed. I felt that I was immersed amongst the village and nature
scenes. Loved it!
Callum McLaughlin
There was much to like about this book. Garland's prose is largely excellent, and I thought she evoked the atmosphere of the rural 1300s setting very well. The backdrop of the impending Black Death was great; lots of interesting characters and ideas were brought into play throughout the story; and for a long book that isn't exactly heavy on action, I flew through it, which must say something.

However, I can't help but feel like it could have delivered so much more than it did. Fantastic themes ar
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Gabrielle
I suppose my lucky streak of awesome books had to end sooner or later... With "Vixen", I am afraid I succumbed to the book's gorgeous cover-art and my own blind optimism.

Thomas is the new priest of the small Devon village of Brauntone. He is a man of rigid principles and punitive morals. Anne is a young girl who finds a way to become Thomas' housekeeper, expecting that he will then take her as his mistress. Vixen is a strange creature who, not unlike Scheherazade, seduces and amuses Death in ord
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Lola Et La Vie
I am struggling to put my thoughts on this book into words. This is an oddball book and kind of quaint, but in the end I think I kind of liked it.

Initially I was pulled in by the beautiful cover. Yes, I admit that this was a cover buy. Look at it!

It certainly took me a bit of bewilderment to get into the book, but once I got to know our main characters I was invested in the Maid and Anne especially. The three perspectives (one male, two female) contrast each other very well. Their views of the w
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Cynthia
Sep 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: qr
I was a little unsure how to rate this.

On the one hand, it took me forever to get into it (more than half the book and than a month). And I found the whole obession with holiness and saints simplistic and neurotic and insulting to the villagers. I also think the priest's POV was useless and was part of the problem of simplisticness (maybe knowing less of his simplistic misogynistic egotistic thought process would have allowed the reader to imagine something more nuanced).

On the other hand, somet
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India Roper-Moyes
This book follows three characters, Father Thomas, Anne, and ‘Vixen’, and the incoming Black Death in England.

Overall, I felt ungrounded while reading this book. The beginning felt like I was picking up a book half way through. The dialogue and description occurs as if we already know the main characters, what motivates them, and what they care about when the set up of those things didn’t really happen. I found it difficult to be invested in the characters, their relationships, and their action
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The Idle Woman
Aug 11, 2017 rated it liked it
This was on my library wishlist even before I read Rosie Garland’s Night Brother, and without knowing a thing about it. I was just intrigued by the title and tantalised by the cover: I thought it might be a bit like Emma Geen’s Many Selves of Katherine North, but of course I was thinking too literally. Set in the Devon village of Braunton in the plague year of 1349, it in fact tells the story of Thomas, the village priest; Anne, his housekeeper and would-be wife; and the strange, mute girl who i ...more
Esmé Boom
May 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a classic tale of "don't judge a book by its cover." 50 pages in, I was in doubt whether I should read on or just quit. I don't like quitting, but this goes to show that I should have. Events and emotions and character development all felt very unrealistic in this novel, I could not feel much sympathy for any of the characters although they all had their struggles. There was a lot of drama going on, violence, death, love, but none of it felt like it was actually happening, mainly becaus ...more
Natalie
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a quick read. An alright book. A wine which smells nicer than it tastes. A shrug.

I am kicking myself for literally judging a book by its cover. I picked it up because it looked mysterious and ethereal.

On the one hand hand, it is a good basis and background: how people in a 14th century English village deal with the impending plague. On the other hand, there are plot holes, inconsistency and things left unexplained; the stilted, two-dimensional characters with wooden, predictable develo
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Carol
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Set in Medieval times, my favourite period of English history, against a background of an all-powerful church, superstition and the constant threat of plague, I so wanted to like this novel.And I really did enjoy some of Garland's prose style. She has an eye for detail, did her research thoroughly and writes almost poetically to create a scene, a smell, an atmosphere. She deals with major themes too, of faith, love and what women endure in a patriarchal society. But; character development is alm ...more
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Born in London to a runaway teenager, Rosie has always been a cuckoo in the nest. She's an eclectic writer and performer, ranging from singing in post-punk gothic band The March Violets, through touring with the Subversive Stitch exhibition in the 90s to her alter-ego Rosie Lugosi the Vampire Queen, cabaret chanteuse and mistress of ceremonies.

She has published five solo collections of poetry and
...more

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