Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Just Jennifer

The Taxidermist’s Daughter by Kate Mosse

Constantina, Connie, Gifford gathers with other members of the Fishboune community on a cold, rainy night in April of 1912, St. Mark's Eve, when it is said that the spirits of those who are to die in the coming year will walk through the graveyard.  Twenty-two year old Connie lives with her father Cowley, a taxidermist who has passed on the love of his trade to his daughter who has become obsessed with birds, alive, dead and stuffed.  Cowley is very secretive, a bit reclusive, and an alcoholic; Connie suffered a bout of amnesia over a decade ago and only has vague memories and recall of her life before then.  The body of a young woman who Connie saw in the graveyard that rainy night turns up dead near a stream on the Gifford’s estate and sets off a series of events that will finally reveal to Connie the events she has kept suppressed and will either drive her to madness or allow her to recall, heal and live a more traditional life than the one she has been leading.  The cover of this book is gorgeous, and though the details of the taxidermy are not for the faint of heart, there is a traditional gothic atmosphere that will draw readers in and keep their interest as Connie, and Crowly’s stories unfold with no easy solutions.

The Other Widow by Susan Crawford
Dorrie Keating has been sleeping with her married boss and makes a split second decision to walk away from a car accident on a snowy, icy night in Boston that kills Joe Lindsay, a decision that will haunt her and send Joe’s wife Karen, and an insurance adjuster Maggie, on the trail of the truth, putting lives in danger and revealing secrets and obsessions that might have otherwise stayed hidden.  Maggie is certain there was someone else in the car with Joe the night he died and becomes determined to track that person down.  Karen was just beginning to suspect Joe of an affair when he died and would like to put the entire thing to rest except there seem to be some irregularities in the business that Karen should now own half of, and she is beginning to get the feeling she is being stalked.  Dorrie, who is struggling with her marriage, the guilt from her affair and not owning up to being in the accident, is also worried because Joe’s last words to her were a warning that she was in danger.  Now she receives a call from the burner phone Joe used to communicate with Dorrie and she too feels as if she is being followed.  On edge and seeing danger around every turn, Dorrie relies on the memory of her mother to help her through difficult times, the memory of whom presents in a scene that is oddly out of character for the rest of this tightly written thriller.  As Maggie, Karen and Dorrie’s paths cross and lives begin to intersect, each is suspicious of the other, but together, a clear picture emerges, a picture that may be more dangerous than any one of the three realizes.  

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