Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge,from Onion Publishing, via Edelweiss, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.
A chilling and spooky Gothic historical thriller reminiscent of Rebecca and The Turn of the Screw, dripping with the dark twists and eerie surprises that are the hallmarks of Edgar Allan Poe, from the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Citadel.
In a remote village near the English coast, residents gather in a misty churchyard. More than a decade into the twentieth century, superstition still holds sway: It is St. Mark’s Eve, the night when the shimmering ghosts of those fated to die in the coming year are said to materialize and amble through the church doors.
Alone in the crowd is Constantia Gifford, the taxidermist’s daughter. Twenty-two and unmarried, she lives with her father on the fringes of town, in a decaying mansion cluttered with the remains of his once world-famous museum of taxidermy. No one speaks of why the museum was shuttered or how the Giffords fell so low. Connie herself has no recollection—a childhood accident has erased all memory of her earlier days. Even those who might have answers remain silent. The locals shun Blackthorn House, and the strange spinster who practices her father’s macabre art.
As the last peal of the midnight bell fades to silence, a woman is found dead—a stranger Connie noticed near the church. In the coming days, snippets of long lost memories will begin to tease through Connie’s mind, offering her glimpses of her vanished years. Who is the victim, and why has her death affected Connie so deeply? Why is she watched by a mysterious figure who has suddenly appeared on the marsh nearby? Is her father trying to protect her with his silence—or someone else? The answers are tied to a dark secret that lies at the heart of Blackthorn House, hidden among the bell jars of her father’s workshop—a mystery that draws Connie closer to danger . . . closer to madness . . . closer to the startling truth.
VERY much a gothic mystery, this book is perfect for reading over a dreary weekend. It is slow to start, but once it grabs hold of you, you'll be turning the pages rapidly, to see where the story is going, and how all the characters are involved in the web of deceit, that is apparent. You do need to have a strong stomach, as some scenes extend to gruesome, but fit the story, so they are needed to help set the mood. Each chapter begins with an 'excerpt' from a Taxidermy Manual as well as from the suspect's diary. Both help to not only set the mood, but to let the reader know what might be coming up. I found myself skipping the suspect's diary and then at the end of the book going back and reading them in sequence. To me, they made more sense that way and gave me a better ideas of the suspect's mind while doing their deeds. It is an interesting read and it s well worth the read!
About the Author:
Kate Mosse is the author of the # 1 International bestseller LABYRINTH, and a presenter for BBC television and radio in London. Born in 1961, she grew up in West Sussex, England, she read English at Oxford and holds honorary MAs from Oxford and Chichester Universities. A publisher for seven years, she is the Co-Founder & Honorary Director of the Orange Prize for Fiction and the Orange Award for New Writers, the prestigious annual literary awards celebrating international writing in English by women. She is also a television and radio presenter for the BBC in London, fronting such series as 'The Readers & Writers Roadshow' and 'Open Book.'
A former Executive Director of Chichester Festival Theatre, Kate is a member of the Royal Society of Arts, a Board member of the international sponsorship organisation Arts & Business, Kate was named International Woman of Achievement in 2000 for her contribution to the Arts. Kate lives with her husband and two teenage children in Sussex, England, and Carcassonne, southwest France.