Book Collector

Review originally published at Nudge. The only problem is, as the narrative often reminds us, she doesn't know which fairytale it is The tale of The Book Collector is a familiar one, reminiscent of both the aforementioned fairytales and the classics of gothic romance. Violet quickly marries Archie, gives birth to his son Felix, and lives c Review originally published at Nudge. Violet quickly marries Archie, gives birth to his son Felix, and lives contentedly, if somewhat emptily, as a wife and mother.

But her life unravels when she experiences a terrifying hallucination, thinking she sees insects crawling under Felix's skin, and Archie swiftly dispatches her to the local asylum. When she returns, her baby is in the arms of a beautiful nanny named Clara, and her relationship with Archie seems irrevocably altered. That's not all, though: Slowly but surely, The Book Collector piles mystery on mystery. Who is the woman in the photograph Archie hides in amongst his papers?

Why does he keep a book of fairytales that theme again locked in his safe? Most of all, how are the fates of the butchered girls tied to Violet's situation? But The Book Collector is not to be mistaken for one of those controversial, twisted retellings; in fact, it's curious how little it does to subvert the traditional narrative. Violet questions her situation, but rarely thinks of breaking free, and is convinced of Archie's superior intellect and the legitimacy of his power over her. Equally, no reader is likely to be surprised by the identity of the killer.

Thompson's modifications are more subtle: These touches seem deliberately designed to disconcert the reader, making everything about Violet's world seem a little off-kilter.

This is a perfect book to inspire discussion and debate. It instantly calls to mind a plethora of influences and comparisons: Personally I found Violet too cold to inspire any sympathy, but Thompson's straightforward, no-frills style feels refreshing - a welcome contrast to the usual ornate lushness of gothic prose. The Book Collector is an elegant reworking of an overworked genre, handled with grace and restraint.

I received an advance review copy of The Book Collector from Nudge. I wasn't paid for this review and I was under no obligation to be anything other than honest about what I thought of the book.

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Book Collector


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