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The Book Collector

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  689 ratings  ·  133 reviews
Alice Thompson's new novel is a gothic story of book collecting, mutilation and madness. Violet is obsessed with the books of fairy tales her husband acquires, but her growing delusions see her confined in an asylum. As she recovers and is released a terrifying series of events is unleashed.
Kindle Edition, 176 pages
Published November 5th 2015 by Salt
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Calli Johnson Emotionally mature teens that have had the birds/bees good/evil talk.
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3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  689 ratings  ·  133 reviews


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Lotte
4.25/5.
With echoes of books such as The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, this reads like a creepy fairytale-esque parable about madness and one's man obsession with collecting. Sometimes the writing style felt a little stilted, but other than that, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!
TheSkepticalReader
This book continuously makes me recall the experiences of The Yellow Wallpaper and Rebecca. I liked that while just telling a very entertaining story, the book also explores some of the darker sides of both sexes. It reaches beyond just the surface and digs into some very serious and deep fears.

I wouldn’t say Thompson has a particularly fantastic writing style but she has quite an imagination when it comes to vivid imagery. Some of the scenes are actually squirm-worthy, which made for an all the
...more
Zuky the BookBum
Mini-review:

This was one of those books that I didn’t do much research into before buying it. I had seen it described as a classic and creepy gothic novel and that’s the only convincing I needed to get it. Unfortunately, this didn’t live up to my expectations. In the end, the cover was what I liked most about it.

Personally, I found this novel was lacking something. There’s no doubt that it has beautiful gothic imagery and themes, and that’s all well and good, but when the story doesn’t flow and
...more
Blair
Review originally published at Nudge.

From the moment nineteen-year-old orphan Violet meets the urbane Lord Archie Murray outside a London café, she is swept up in a story straight out of a fairytale. The only problem is, as the narrative often reminds us, she doesn't know which fairytale it is...

The tale of The Book Collector is a familiar one, reminiscent of both the aforementioned fairytales and the classics of gothic romance. Violet quickly marries Archie, gives birth to his son Felix, and l
...more
Rachel
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017, horror, gothic
A delightfully creepy novella that's reminiscent of du Maurier's Rebecca, and which does a terrific job of exploring gender roles in fairy tales. The writing at times is a bit simplistic and the plot rather predictable, but for the gothic and sinister atmosphere I really enjoyed reading this.
Mandy
Loved this little book. Loved everything about it. So exquisitely written, so wonderfully well put together, so perfect.
The main character, Violet, whilst I didn't actually like her too much, I was able to sympathise, and at times, empathize with her.
Whilst now I think of Archie and Clara as being something akin to monstrous, throughout the reading of this novel, I felt that they were both rather bland characters, presumably deliberately written that way. I certainly think that was how the autho
...more
Britta Böhler
Although I am not a big reader of gothic/horror fiction I picked up this book because the story sounded interesting. I enjoyed reading it but the genre still isn't quite for me. However, for fans of (weird) fairy tales, or gothic thrillers this is certainly a good choice.

Re-read October 2018: I liked it more the second time around: 3,5*
Lotte
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z
I'm honestly surprised to see that no one on Goodreads has rated this book less than three stars, because I thought it was... not good. The writing felt almost amateuristic (surprisingly, because this is by no means Thompsons first novel), the characters were paper-thin and the plot was predictable from start to finish. I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere and the fairytale references, but I feel like it could have been so much more in the hands of a different author. I doubt I would have finished th ...more
Nancy Oakes
I'll be posting more about this book shortly, but for now, had this book been even slightly more fleshed out, it could have been really, really good in a Victorian/gothic sort of way. The combination of its short length with too many plot elements to cover made the book feel rushed and the story sort of squeezed together. I figured things out way too early and we all know that in my case, that is not a good thing.

On the other hand, I love the ideas behind it, especially the concept of reality a
...more
Karen Mace
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was book 5 on my list of #20booksofsummer

I have been intrigued by this book ever since I saw it on BookTube so I bought a copy online and as it was only a small book - 224 pages in paperback - it was a perfect read for me today sitting in the June sunshine!

I thought this was a fascinatingly creepy read! Violet was a 19 year old orphan when she is swept off her feet by Lord Archie Murray, and within a year they are married and have a son Felix. Archie has a very controlling personality and s
...more
Lynda
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: woman-writer, fiction
The Book Collector

This is a strange evocative novella with echoes of The Yellow Wallpaper. A tale of a series of fairytale inspired murders. As with Angela Carter however the heroine comes into her own power in a cataclysmic manner
Rachael
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
A gothic story about books, asylums, and fairy tales...I just had to read it.

It had a lovely creepy atmosphere, and I did really enjoy it, but I just wish the characters had been more developed. It is a short book so there was plenty of space to flesh it out, and I feel it would really have benefitted from that.

Criticism aside, it was still a lovely little gothic tale.
Alexandra
Nov 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
i want to read all of alice thompson's books now. this one was so different from everything i've been reading lately & i don't even know if i can explain exactly why. but it was very ethereal, fever dream-like, creepy but like not horror movie creepy. just an overall impending sense of doom. the setting was a beautiful english estate with flower gardens and green grass fields and old asylums down dirt roads. 🙌🏼💐🌺☠

the writing wasn't great in the sense of sentence structure and i did notice a
...more
Acacia Ives
I sat down and read this in one sitting. The positives it described the feeling of feeling mad almost perfect as far as fiction goes. I did like the main character and feel for her. The end I saw coming and was disappointed to be right. 3.5 - 4 rating
Barbara
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unusual book. Written in a poetic way with a really interesting plot.
Beth (bibliobeth)
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
I had never heard of The Book Collector before until the wonderful booksellers at Mr B's Emporium Of Reading Delights recommended it when my sister and I went there for one of their glorious reading spas. Apart from it having the most gorgeous, eye-popping cover art, I knew I had to have it as soon as I heard the words fairy-tale, dark, disturbing and gothic. The Book Collector was all of these things and so much more besides and managed to pack in so much drama, intrigue and delicious murkiness ...more
Liz
Feb 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
I really wanted to like this book. Unfortunately though, the writing ruined it for me. To be blunt, the writing is cringingly bad.

On top of this I found the characters to be two dimensional and the plot predictable and over simplistic.

My favourite thing about this novel is the cover art.

*Adds it to the growing pile of disappointing Booktube recommendations :/
Kylie Behnke
Jan 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
[3.5 stars]
Sam Law
Read More Book Reviews on my blog It's Good To Read
Summary:

A gothic horror story, set in Edwardian times, with a sub-plot of real life echoing fairytales.

Main Characters:

Violet: The protagonist, she is the second wife of Lord Archie Murray. Much younger than her husband, we are with her as she changes, and becomes less innocent as the book progresses.

Archie: Lord Murray, outwardly the perfect gentleman, but possessed of a dark secret.

Clara: The nanny, brought in to help Violet with her one c
...more
Megan (ReadingRover)
This book has been on my TBR forever. It’s a slow burning gothic tale of suspense about a woman who’s grip on reality is as tenuous as her knowledge of her husband. Is Violet suffering so badly from delusions or does her husband just want her institutionalized? When the book starts it all seems muddled but then things start to sort themselves out. Archie only wants Violet to be well and to protect their son but why does he keep a book dedicated to his first wife in a safe long after she died? Wh ...more
Marivi Sanz
This was a deliciously creepy gothic story.

We follow the life of Violet, a 19-year-old orphan that meets Archie Murray, a book collector. Soon, they decide to marry, and everything felt like a fairy tale until their son Felix is born. Since then, Violet starts experiencing strange visions, and the fairy tale turned into a nightmare.

Beautifully written, in short chapters that made me fly over the pages, unable to put it down until I knew what happened in the end. It's full of fairy tale reference
...more
Kelly
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Creepy and delightful.
Catie
Nov 19, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommendation from chboskyy Book Tube Channel - 10/22/2017
Maria
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant gothic nightmare.
Rebekah May
I was really looking forward to reading this little book but it turned out to be pretty disappointing. I don't really have many feelings about it because it didn't make any sort of impact on me at all. This book is less than 200 pages long and, honestly, that's the only reason I finished it. Had it been any longer I probably would have just put it down.

The writing was very simplistic. At times I could see how it reflected the style of storytelling that fairytales use, which I liked and thought w
...more
Marianne
3 stars!

The best way i can describe The Book Collector would be: a mixed bag. This implies to almost every aspect of the book: setting, characters, language etc. I liked this book but I can't help but feel that it could have been so much more. There were certainly elements of a great Gothic horror novel in here but I felt it was all rushed and the content was just cut in half. I certainly got chills up my spine while reading this, particularly towards the end, but I never reached that peak "sca
...more
Lauren Castle
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
While the overall premise of this book is quite intriguing, I found it to be poorly written. Although I don't consider myself a 'literary snob', I just couldn't bring myself to overlook awkward phrasings and redundant descriptions (i.e. "As a bookshop owner, Archie was a bibliophile. He collected books..."). The first rule of effective fiction-writing is 'show, don't tell', and this was more or less disregarded. "The Book Collector" is perhaps an enjoyable read for people who are partial to a go ...more
Bec
Jun 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
"Violet looked around the room. Women were eating or staring into space, or looking into the fire or wandering aimlessly...And for an insane moment she thought, this is no different from normality, just women existing and surviving, this is what happens to women who don't fit into a world created by men."
Christina
A good story, only three stars because it felt rushed at parts - would've liked more!
Vanessa
Oct 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I accidentally deleted my review which I'm really annoyed about, and I'm not re-writing it. Suffice it to say that this was great, and well worth a read.
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Alice Thompson is a Scottish novelist.

Thompson was educated at St George's School, Edinburgh then read English at Oxford and wrote her Ph.D. thesis on Henry James. In the 1980s she played keyboard with rock band The Woodentops.

She has a son and lives in Edinburgh. Her novel Justine was the joint winner of the 1996 James Tait Black Memorial Prize. She has also won a Creative Scotland Award in 2000
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“And for an insane moment she thought, this is no different from normality, just women existing and surviving, this is what happens to women who don't fit into a world created by men.” 2 likes
“Don't become the object of affection. It's dangerous. Certain men want to possess you entirely. Men will do anything to satisfy their desires and this can lead men down paths they are powerless to resist.” 2 likes
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