By: Kate Mosse
Very rarely do all of the elements in one novel come together so beautifully that they form a perfectly times and orchestrated symphony for the mind. Kate Mosse has transformed herself from author to composer and conductor of a literary symphony with The Taxidermist’s daughter. This novel is a fabulous read. Each character a finely tuned instrument aiding in the delivery of a sinister plot set to the deliciously paced theme of secret motives of revenge. Constantia Gifford comes to life through the pages of Holmes-esque Whodunnit, as she searches for answers to present day mysteries in her heavily veiled past. At a young age, Constantia (Connie) suffered such a fright, that terrified, she went in search of her father. Tripping in the dark, Connie’s tiny body was thrown down the steps, causing a traumatic head wound and the loss of her memory. Lately Connie’s father has been acting more peculiar but when pushed will not reveal anything to his daughter. When the body of a young woman is found in the marshes behind their house and her father disappears, Connie becomes emboldened and determined to find both her father and answers to her many questions.
Out of all of Mosse’s talents, and there are many, my favorite might just be her use of language. Throughout The Taxidermist’s Daughter Mosse perfectly times these little high notes, words that are so rarely used today but in the setting of the early 1900’s find a perfect home. She sprinkles these morsels of language throughout rather than cramming the novel full of them. It is all things a reader would hope a novel to be: fun and easy to read, yet educational, provocative and captivating. Mosse gifts the readers with these little treats as she takes us on this dark and treacherous journey filled with greed, lust and murder. The Taxidermist’s Daughter reminded me of Bellman and Black or The Bookman’s Tale. It was so good, that I was loathed to put it down and actually finished it in just over two days. It might have been sooner if things like work and cleaning the house hadn’t gotten in the way. Mosse and her skill for storytelling makes for such a vivid experience, that you connect with Constantia, feel for her so much that you do not wish to abandon her in her search for her missing father and the answers to her past, and the present crimes. I would say that I recommend this novel highly but I think I’d rather implore you to go pick up a copy of the novel.