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The Boatman's Daughter

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  3,804 ratings  ·  624 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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Claudine I actually would say this is more fantasy leaning like a dark fairy tale. The last 15% is horror leaning.

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Average rating 3.52  · 
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 ·  3,804 ratings  ·  624 reviews

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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.
LIsa Noell "Rocking the Chutzpah!"
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 o ...more
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.
Sadie Hartmann
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
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. ...more
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.
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
The Boatman’s Daughter was another recommendation for the library’s . . . .

And was actually a book I had seen out and about on the interwebs before so when there was zero wait list I happily snagged a copy without bothering even getting familiar with the plot.

Despite this being a story where you simply get plunked right into the action without bothering with much (if any) character development/backstory, when said action is drug smuggling – and possibly other forms of trafficking – by a you
Johann (jobis89)
Jul 13, 2021 rated it it was ok
Just glad it’s over to be honest.
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
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
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
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 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
I’m not rating this because I’m a quitter. I managed 35% and it’s been a struggle the entire time so I’m calling it quits and marking it read because at 400+ pages, 35% read of this book is more than most novellas.

I think this story about a young woman moving drugs and dealing with wacked out gross men is just not for me and I have too many others here to force myself to finish something that isn’t grabbing me. Lots of people love it so don’t listen to me. If it sounds like your thing give it a
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
Nov 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book is….umm….strange, intriguing, interesting, odd, maybe a bit like a crazy peyote-induced dream. It held my interest and I enjoyed the weirdness of it but honestly it’s a bit hard to distinguish what actually happened. And maybe it doesn’t matter at all. I am sure many would not enjoy this at all but if you would like to go on a long strange trip, this might be the book for you!!
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.
Nov 08, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Boatman's Daughter definitely ranks as this year's weirdest story I've read. Andy Davidson must've been smoking the same shit John Avery was growing 😁

But hell, it was quite a ride.

For a good portion of the book, I wasn't quite sure what it was about. What was the story? But even as I was thinking about that, I was enjoying it -- I was loving the characters (and hating Charlie Riddle), and the sensory experience in the wet, murky, mysterious bayou.

Eventually I understood. It was about fam
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.

Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Review to follow...
Ellen Gail
Who am I kidding, I’m never going to finish this.

DNF at 15%.
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
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
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. ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
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
May 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I seem to be on a horror feast this month and this one certainly fits right in. It’s a noir thriller dipped in the dark mud of the bayou, packed with witches, demons, and gods I have never heard of...nor wish to hear of. I’ve never before read anything by this author but I know that he knows how to write my darkest dreams...or give me some shiny new nightmares. I love to read. That should not be news to all that know me and I try hard to not be judgmental of an author’s work. After all I have no ...more
Bianca (Belladonnabooks)
If you’re looking for a Southern gothic horror novel that will make you feel like you are living and breathing in the Deep South then this is for you.

Hints of magic, mythology and dark fantasy are woven throughout with sensual imagery and prose. Andy Davidson created such a lush setting which had all of my most desired elements in a Southern gothic horror novel.

This is a strange novel and I found myself a bit lost in parts but at the same time completely immersed thanks to Davidson’s writing s
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.
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Andy Davidson is the Bram Stoker Award nominated author of In the Valley of the Sun and The Boatman's Daughter. The Boatman’s Daughter was listed among NPR's Best Books of 2020, the New York Public Library's Best Adult Books of the Year, and Library Journal's Best Horror of 2020. Born and raised in Arkansas, Andy makes his home in Georgia with his wife and a bunch of cats. ...more

Articles featuring this book

In literature, the term “Gothic” is a notoriously slippery designation. Ask a dozen English professors what it means, and you’ll get a dozen...
297 likes · 16 comments
“The girl sang with the voice of a child, but it was not hers. It was a rough voice, harsh with grief, and the words she sang were in Baba’s deep, guttural tongue, and the song she sang was long and terrible in its warp and weft, as if torn out of the peat-smelling earth itself.” 3 likes
“A born witch carries power in her blood. Secrets, old and eternal. Nothing like a man’s secrets, which are petty. Fleeting. My father’s secrets were not even secrets at all. The men, they knew he was cruel. That his fists fell against Hana Krupin when he drank. They knew. But men, Myshka, look after men.” 3 likes
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