THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER by Kate Mosse (Audiobook)

The Taxidermist's Daughter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jackdaws, magpies, crows, and more, I love birds from the Corvidae family, and they were the perfect Gothic inspiration for Kate Mosse’s gruesome historical novel, THE TAXIDERMIST’S DAUGHTER. This dark mystery centers around Connie, the daughter of a taxidermist – she, too, is one – and her quest to solve the mystery of a young woman’s murder. The story hooked me right away with its Poe-esque atmosphere. Chilling! The mystery itself was puzzling, twisty, and complex. Taxidermy give me the creeps, as did this book, so really it was a fitting backdrop to the story. Nice blend of murder mystery and old fashioned Gothic.

Audiobook • 10 hrs, 20 mins • Michelle Ford, Narrator

Parts of this book I listened to on audio, borrowed from the library. I enjoyed Michelle Ford’s performance. One thing that stood out was her ability to inflect a subtle feeling of dread into her voice, which was perfect for the subject matter of the book. She definitely enhanced the eerie Gothic feeling of the story!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

THE SINNER by Amanda Stevens

The Sinner (Graveyard Queen, #5)
THE SINNER by Amanda Stevens
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Really good! THE SINNER was creeptastic from the very beginning. This one takes place about a year after the previous book. Amelia has taken a job restoring Seven Gates Cemetery in Ascension, South Carolina. While taking a stroll through the surrounding woods, Amelia makes a shocking, gruesome discovery. Gave me chills. The mystery surrounding her discovery puts her paranormal abilities to the test. Suspenseful, very spooky, and ends with an intriguing tease of what’s to come.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

NAMED OF THE DRAGON by Susanna Kearsley (Audiobook)

Named of the Dragon
NAMED OF THE DRAGON by Susanna Kearsley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What grabbed my attention about this book was the Welsh setting and the Arthurian legend tie-ins. The writing was beautiful, especially the lovely descriptions of Angle, Pembrokeshire, however I never felt truly engaged in the story itself.

The main character, Lyn, is a literary agent spending Christmas holiday at Castle Farm in Wales with one of the authors she represents. Lyn’s baby boy died five years prior, and the grief still weighs heavily on her. In Angle, she meets a strange young woman with a baby boy of her own. The woman (Elen) believes her son is in danger, and soon Lyn has dreams of a mysterious woman in blue who tries to convince her to protect her own child. While all this is going on, Lyn has a slow-building romance with a curmudgeonly Welsh playwright named Gareth.

While I adore Arthurian legends and Celtic myths, their connection to the present-day story wasn’t that convincing. Lyn and Gareth were solid characters, but I thought the supporting cast fell flat. I was surprised by the outcome of the mystery (what/who was threatening Elen’s baby). While not my favorite book of Kearsley’s, I did enjoy experiencing a Christmas in Wales.

Audiobook • 9hrs, 48 mins • Katherine Kellgren, Narrator

Some of this book I listened to on audio from the library. Unfortunately, I didn’t think that Katherine Kellgren was a good fit for this story. The main character (Lyn) is in her twenties, and supposedly still struggling and unsure about her life since the death of her baby. Kellgren’s voice sounded too mature and too bold for that age and situation. (This happened with another of Kearsley’s audiobooks, though with a different narrator.) Also, there wasn’t a big difference in the characters’ voices (except for Gareth), so often times it was difficult to tell who was talking.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton (Audiobook)

The Lake House
THE LAKE HOUSE by Kate Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

THE LAKE HOUSE is a lovely story told in alternating time periods, and at its heart, the mystery of a boy who went missing in the 1930s. While on leave from her job, a police detective stumbles upon an abandoned estate in Cornwall, and discovers the 70-year old cold case of Theo Edevane’s disappearance from the house. The story shifts between the present and past, back to 1933 and Theo’s sister Alice’s account of what happened leading up to his disappearance. I enjoyed the book – very descriptive, with well-drawn characters, and a Gothic undertone. The story had some nice twists, though the ending did seem a bit too coincidental. Still, a good book. I had fun trying to figure out the Edevane family secrets.

Audiobook • 21 hrs, 24 mins • Caroline Lee, Narrator

Since this book was nearly 500 pages, I decided to spend an Audible credit so I could switch back and forth reading and listening to it. Fantastic narration by Caroline Lee! She added just the right amount of drama without going over the top. She gave each character a distinct and fitting voice. Very enjoyable!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.