Published: 3rd September 2015 (Orion
Synopsis: The clock strikes twelve. Beneath the wind and the remorseless tolling of the bell, no one can hear the scream …1912. A Sussex churchyard. Villagers gather on the night when the ghosts of those who will not survive the coming year are thought to walk. And in the shadows, a woman lies dead. As the flood waters rise, Connie Gifford is marooned in a decaying house with her increasingly tormented father. He drinks to escape the past, but an accident has robbed her of her most significant childhood memories. Until the disturbance at the church awakens fragments of those vanished years…
The Taxidermist’s Daughter is an amazing book from start to finish.
This is the first Kate Mosse book I have read but definitely won’t be the last. I thoroughly enjoyed the dynamics between the main characters, Connie Gifford who lives with her father Gifford and Harry Woolston, son of Dr Woolston. We soon discover the Connie is quite isolated, both by her location and my her lack of childhood memories following a tragic accident when she was younger. Her father used to be a thriving taxidermist but lost it all and spiralled into depression and alcoholism. Connie now is the bread-winner, practicing taxidermy under her father’s name as it was a job sector which was not allowed to be performed by women. I particularly liked the gothic undertones of the scenery and turbulent weather.
The story is told from different perspectives, which gave further depth to the narrative and the undercurrent of suspense, bringing it all together along with the inclement weather, which was a much of a character as Connie, Gifford and Harry.
I liked the main characters, even the drunken Gifford(!), through the wonderful descriptive narrative I learnt about the beauty and science of taxidermy mixed in with the limitations that women faced in the early 1900’s and their social position.
The Taxidermist’s Daughter is an amazing book that I couldn’t put down but, at the same time, didn’t want to finish! Definitely one I will recommend to others.