Constantia, Connie, Gifford is a young girl living with her father in a decaying house at the swamps of Sussex. She has took over her father’s art, that of a taxidermist, without most people knowing so. She had to, if she wanted to make some money to support the two of them. Her father had turned to alcohol after the business declined and him losing his museum to a competitor. He has many regrets and many secrets, most of them Connie cannot share, as she has no memory of the first twelve years of her life. All she knows is that she had an accident, one Gifford is not font of discussing.
The story opens on the Eve of St Mark, 1912 in a churchyard in the small village of Fishbourne. It is the night when, according to local superstition, the ghosts of those who will die in the next year will walk. Connie, who has followed her father to the graveyard, hides as she watches a group of men, some local, some strangers, gather as the church bell rings. This is the beginning of an adventure, Connie never saw coming. It is also the trigger for her memory to come back and hunt her.
When the body of a woman is discovered in the river, Connie is convinced that she was murdered. All the evidence tend to point to her father, who has gone missing that day along with a few other things. Connie struggles to reveal the truth so to her unknown past as to this woman’s murder. She has to hurry, as sinister figures gather around her property as the days go by.
The pace of the story increases rapidly as the story unfolds. The mystery develops, leading to different ways than what the heroine believes and from some point onward, the author has almost reveals all the hidden cards. It is done though in such a way, that makes the reader cry for more.
Mosse has done a great job building the characters of this book. Connie’s character is magnificent. She is very intelligent, strong and emotional at the same time. She feels responsible for herself, her father, and the actions that may affect other people. The mystery person character, the one behind the dreadful actions, is revealing themselves through writing in first person, reasoning the actions.
A great page turner by a great author!