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The Boatman's Daughter

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  1,605 ratings  ·  294 reviews
Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm.

But dark forces are at work in the bayou, And when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, it sets Miranda
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 11th 2020 by MCD X Fsg Originals
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Melise It is not fantasy at all. But, I also wouldn’t call this horror. This is more a thriller with supernatural elements. People do horrible things to each…moreIt is not fantasy at all. But, I also wouldn’t call this horror. This is more a thriller with supernatural elements. People do horrible things to each other, but there isn’t the overall sense of creepy, unexplainable evil that I expect from a true horror novel. I think a good comparison is the book (or movie) Deliverance. Scary and disturbing for sure, but not really horror. (less)

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Average rating 3.55  · 
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 ·  1,605 ratings  ·  294 reviews

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Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
I never would have read this book if it hadn't been on Netgalley. And that would have been a damned shame. This story is everything I dislike in a book. Too damned hot and swampy! Well, by the time I finished this book, I was thinking that living alone in this place would be great for me. Not near as great as someplace with icebergs, a huge picture window and a woodstove, but close!
This story had atmosphere. I took it into my dreams at night. I didn't want to, but I'd fall asleep to the light of
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the first harrowing scenes all the way until the bittersweet end, this book had me enthralled!

Set along the rivers and bayous of Arkansas, this tale is about Miranda, and how she manages to keep her life afloat. Running drugs for the bad guys to help her support the local "witch" and the special boy the witch hides and cares for. Discarded and left for dead, this boy is very special indeed-and so is Miranda. A bow-hunting woman of the bayou, she is not to be taken lightly.

The drug runners,
Jul 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I must say this is utterly compelling. I’ve not read anything like it. Strong voice. Strong characters. But the novel tries to balance dark fairy tale with realism and it doesn’t quite work. Parts are really hard to follow. Still I kind of loved this, too. I recommend it! Very Southern gothic.
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cemetery-dance
Originally published at Cemetery Dance Feb. 5th
Last year, if I talked about highly anticipated novels in 2020, The Boatman’s Daughter was at the top of my list. This is Bram Stoker Award finalist Andy Davidson’s second novel. His debut, In the Valley of the Sun (2017) was one of the best books I read last year.

Sometimes when I love a book so much, I worry about the follow-up novel not meeting that high standard set by the predecessor. In the case of David
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was ok
The overall concept was interesting, but I had to will myself to continue reading more than once. I think this might be the basis for a pretty good screenplay, one of the few times that the movie exceeds the book.
J.K. Grice
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dark-fantasy
Now when I was just a little boy
Standin' to my Daddy's knee
My Poppa said "Son don't let the man get ya, do what he done to me"
'Cause he'll get ya
'Cause he'll get ya now, now

And I can remember the fourth of July
Runnin' through the backwood bare
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin'
Chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there

Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou
Born on the Bayou


This book blew me right out of the bayou backwaters. Andy Davidson is a fasci
Edward Lorn
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'll be reading everything this author writes. Amazing control of language, character, and setting. A fascinating and stunning novel.
Jun 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. An interesting plot but the black magic/fantasy slant was peculiar. Miranda was a well rounded character but some of the storytelling left me hollow.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rounded up from 3.5

This was one of my most highly anticipated reads for 2020. I love the title, the cover, the description of the book. Sadly it did not live up to the hype that i built for it. I wanted there to be more supernatural and folkloric elements to the story. Most of the horror was very much real world horror. Miranda, our leading lady, was ok but i really wanted to know more about Iska and the things that lived in the swamp and her bath house! The story was ok but it wasn't what i exp
Tracy Robinson
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From my review in the March/April edition of Rue Morgue magazine.

Andy Davidson sped onto the horror scene in 2017 with his Stoker nominated debut novel, In the Valley of the Sun. This first book left readers clamoring for more, and three years later, the wait is over. The Boatman’s Daughter is sure to satisfy current fans and ensnare new ones as Davidson continues to explore themes of resilience and regionalism.

Davidson’s beautifully blunt prose is on full display as he crafts an intricate na
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Rating: 10/10

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Boatman’s Daughter for review consideration. Receiving this ARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel.

An utterly enthralling southern gothic. When it comes to gorgeous prose, not many hold a candle. This oily black piece of supernatural fiction is going to stay with me.

These are the words I tweeted out upon starting this novel and now hold even truer having finished it. Davidson’s sophomore novel
The compelling setting, original characters and gorgeous prose of The Boatman's Daughter portend its potential to be one of the great horror novels of the past few years, but on the whole it reads like an early draft that could use a hefty dollop of additional polish. I would like to support the bold risks taken in publishing a book like this, but it was more frustrating than enjoyable.

A dark, swamp-water take on magical realism and Russian fairy tales clashes with rural drug dealers and pimps i
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: horror
The novel begins from the perspective of Miranda Crabtree, the eponymous boatman’s daughter, on the night that will alter the course of her life forever. She is only eleven when she accompanies her father and an old witch to the preacher’s house for the birth of his child. What was to be a routine delivery turns unspeakably dark, and her confusion and alarm throughout the rest of the night’s events are palpable. The introduction was appropriately gripping for a novel described as, “a supernatura ...more
Leslie Ray
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Flowing and beautiful writing. I was swept along on this supernatural tale of Miranda, the extra-special boy she loves like a brother and the witch who took her in when she was young. She continued with the drug running setup that her father was doing,that took place on the Arkansas bayou. Don't underestimate her and the inherit strength she possesses.
As you are swept along you encounter violent, beautiful and vicious characters that set you on edge, leave you in awe. The background and atmosph
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Review to follow...
Stephanie (That's What She Read)

I'm conflicted because I love Andy Davidson's writing style. The book had such an evocative setting and a gritty Southern gothic feel to it, but it lost me with all the fantasy elements. I know readers that enjoy fantasy and folklorish elements are going to connect to this one more than I did. I found the story a bit disorienting toward the end. I will definitely read his next book
Jen (LOHF/Book Den)
I mentioned in my review of Where the Crawdads Sing earlier this year that five star reviews can be so hard for me to write sometimes. I don't always have the words to capture the "feeling" of what I'm reading. And that feeling is what I seek when I lose myself in a book. When I tagged The Boatman's Daughter as read on Goodreads, I posted in my review space "Eeek. This feels impossible to review right now." It still feels that way.

After loving In the Valley of Sun so much, I was really looking f
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
In the publisher synopsis it likens this work of Andy Davidson’s to Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill.

Usually when synopsis throws about names all willy-nilly, that is a big red flag of bullshit.

It never even occurred to me that would be even close to accurate. And yet…it kind of was. Maybe. Doesn’t matter, though, because it was pretty darn good all on its own.

It however came dangerously close to getting too fantasy for me here and there and then it would come around and I could settle back in.

Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Pain....will show you...the way

Loved this book

This was one of those books where story, characters, setting and writing all came together to create a mesmerizing narrative. Folklore/horror, weird, grit-lit with a splash of crime thrown in for that added bit of flavoring. Talk about hitting all my sweet spots.

All that could have been a disaster but the writing was just fantastic, several notches above the standard fare.

Another scream: the wail of something deep and true torn loose, lost to the d
Jan 16, 2020 marked it as dnf
I'm setting this one aside. I'm just in a weird reading place right now and I'm struggling to get into this one. I feel like not much has happened, and I haven't had it click for me yet.
Jackie Cowgill (LanternsJourney)
Andy Davidson knows how to write my darkest dreams! This is a story about Miranda, who is raised by a witch and makes runs through a swamp for a mad and dying Preacher to support a castaway child. It's got everything I ever want in a book. Archery, a misfit family, mad and outlandishly creepy villains, the occult, ancient demons, and is set in an untamed swamp overrun by kudzu. Yes yes yes. Not to mention the lush writing I was looking forward to after reading In the Valley of the Sun. I felt as ...more
Kim McGee
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Miranda runs drugs in and out of the bayou, deals with wicked preachers and a corrupt sheriff in the only way she knows because since her father died she has only herself to depend on. She also takes care of a special boy who lives hidden away with a witch deep in the swamp. Soon another will need to be rescued and it will take every magic trick and survival skill Miranda knows to control this strange world and take care of those who are defenseless. The book feels very mysterious like a horror ...more
Alyson Larrabee
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating, intricate characters. The hero, Miranda, the boatman's daughter, lives a solitary life in the Arkansas bayou. She's a young woman, skilled at skimming through the water in her skiff, and adept with a bow and arrow. Like the best heroes, she comes alive and attacks her enemies to protect someone she loves, my favorite character, Littlefish, who was murdered by his father (the evil, rapist, drug-dealing preacher), as soon as he was born. A Russian witch, Ishka, brings him back to life ...more
Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)
This book pulled me in slowly and before I knew it I was halfway through and fully invested in this swamp of outcasts.

The writing is lush and utterly descriptive; you hear the water sloshing and feel the heat from the Bayou. The characters are real and fascinating...a group of broken people just trying to get by as they plot their next move and end up caught in drug trade that turns sinister.

I fell in love with one character in particular and was worried beyond belief on what would happen to the
Shane Sullivan
Feb 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had really high hopes for this book but was very disappointed. The writing is overly descriptive and every other sentence is a metaphor. It’s extremely slow moving (I had to listen to it at double speed, occasionally even triple speed). For me this book had an excellent premise with so much promise but was ultimately a complete bore.
Meg Bleep
Apr 06, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf

Wordy descriptions don't make writing good. Very little action, little characterization, and lack of tension left me disinterested. Decided not to force myself to continue.
Ellen Gail
Who am I kidding, I’m never going to finish this.

DNF at 15%.
I just could not get into this one but did finish.
Claire- Louise
Oct 05, 2020 rated it liked it
I was looking for a similar experience to The House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt. This had all the right elements and the descriptive quality was intense, it really took you away into the swamp land from the first page. But the same descriptive quality made it difficult to wade through and build the actual story. For me, it require too much concentration to stay with and too little reward for doing so.
Naomi V
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
"I've sent devils to hell. I've dug graves for the bodies never buried and called things that crawled right out of the ground. I took the poison of a moccasin. I took the worst of the river and the worst of men. I took it all and I'm still alive."

I was surprised by this one. I started reading expecting a story packed with horror and mythology. I mean, we get snippets of it, but I feel this is more of a crime/thriller novel with supernatural elements (not necessarily a bad thing, it's just not wh
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Born and raised in Arkansas, Andy Davidson is the Bram Stoker Award-Nominated author of In the Valley of the Sun. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of Mississippi. His work has appeared in print and online journals. He lives in Georgia with his wife and a bunch of unruly cats.

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