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The Taxidermist's Daughter

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  9,200 ratings  ·  1,083 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 409 pages
Published September 11th 2014 by Orion
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  9,200 ratings  ·  1,083 reviews


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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
...more
Diane S ☔
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
♛Tash
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads, arc
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
...more
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
...more
Joanne Harris
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
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...
Beverly
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spooky and chilling, The Taxidermist's Daughter is a terrific Gothic novel, just right for this Halloween.
Susan Johnson
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Book of Secrets
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Puck
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Puck by: Amalia Gavea
"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
...more
Ria
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4stars
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
...more
Nancy
Dec 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Hasham Rasool
I love this book. Alhamdulillah!

The first page of the book grabs my attention.
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 ...more
Anne
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Lynne King
Nov 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
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!
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
...more
Paul
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Lisa
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio
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.
Gail
Sep 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
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
...more
Amanda
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it
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
...more
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 ...more
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
...more
H.A. Leuschel
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A perfect page-turner with engaging characters and atmospheric settings. Very enjoyable!
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
...more
Margo
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Louise
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, a dark atmospheric story. I loved it.
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 ...more
Jae
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jennifer Rayment
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
...more
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 ...more
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Kate Mosse is an international bestselling author with sales of more than five million copies in 42 languages. Her fiction includes the novels Labyrinth (2005), Sepulchre (2007), The Winter Ghosts (2009), and Citadel (2012), as well as an acclaimed collection of short stories, The Mistletoe Bride & Other Haunting Tales (2013). Kate’s new novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter is out now.
Kate is the Co-
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