Wednesday, 19 August 2015

The Taxidermist's Daughter

Finished August 17
The Taxidermist's Daughter by Kate Mosse

This novel is set in the spring of 1912, in the village of Fishbourne and the nearby town of Chichester. The taxidermist, Gifford, and his daughter Connie, live in Blackthorn House, just outside the village. Ten years earlier Connie fell and hit her head badly and cannot remember anything that happened before that time. She is beginning to have flashes of memories that she thinks are from earlier, but her father doesn't wish to discuss it. Gifford drinks a lot and the taxidermy jobs are much fewer than they used to be, and Connie does most of them herself, although the clients don't know that.
As the book opens, Connie has followed her father to a churchyard nearby, worried about him wandering when drunk. She witnesses a strange gathering, and a surprising occurrence. Several days later, Harry Woolston, a young man in Chichester with artistic ambitions follows his father after he overhears a strange conversation between his father and another man. He loses sight of his father, but finds that his destination seemed to be Fishbourne.
When Connie's maid finds a dead body in the marshes near Blackthorn House, Harry comes to help. He finds himself drawn to her and returns the following day to check on her. When the two compare notes, they find that their stories are strangely linked and they resolve to work together to find out what is going on between their fathers.
Interspersed with the story are two other texts. One is excerpts from one of the earliest books on the methods of taxidermy and the other is the jottings of the person behind some of the odd things going on, revealing the backstory to the current events gradually.
This is a story of revenge for a past crime, a story of a cover-up and a deception, and the story of rebirth from destruction.
Not as strong as her other books, but still enjoyable and interesting.

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