"Go read Andy Davidson’s lush nightmare, The Boatman’s Daughter. It put an arrow through my head and heart.” —Paul Tremblay, author of Growing Things
"Ample bloodshed is offset by beautiful prose . . . A stunning supernatural Southern Gothic." —Kirkus (starred)
Ever since her father was killed when she was just a child, Miranda Crabtree has kept her head down and her eyes up, ferrying contraband for a mad preacher and his declining band of followers to make ends meet and to protect an old witch and a secret child from harm.
But dark forces are at work in the bayou, both human and supernatural, conspiring to disrupt the rhythms of Miranda’s peculiar and precarious life. And when the preacher makes an unthinkable demand, it sets Miranda on a desperate, dangerous path, forcing her to consider what she is willing to sacrifice to keep her loved ones safe.
With the heady mythmaking of Neil Gaiman and the heartrending pacing of Joe Hill, Andy Davidson spins a thrilling tale of love and duty, of loss and discovery. The Boatman's Daughter is a gorgeous, horrifying novel, a journey into the dark corners of human nature, drawing our worst fears and temptations out into the light.
Davidson (In the Valley of the Sun) immerses the reader in ethereal horror in this macabre contemporary thriller set in the swamps of the deep American South. Ever since Miranda Crabtree's father died when she was 14, she's managed to get by as a smuggler ferrying contraband through the Prosper River bayou for deranged preacher Billy Cotton. Now 21, Miranda learns that Cotton and his dwindling band of followers are planning to sacrifice his young daughter, Littlefish, who possesses the gift of "the sight," to the darkness of the swamp, testing Miranda's resolve to keep her head down and mind her own business. As otherworldly threats mount in the bayou, Miranda turns to an old witch named Iskra for help protecting Littlefish from her unhinged father. Miranda's anxiety and indecision are expertly rendered, as is her love for the people she cares about. With fluid prose and nimble worldbuilding Davidson brings his eerie swamps to life. Fans of the supernatural will savor the slow-burning tension of this heady, atmospheric Southern gothic.
Prose is strikingly gorgeous, but the plot is thin and the characters one dimensional. At first I was drawn in by how poetically the setting is described, but after a couple hundred pages I got bored waiting for something of actual substance to happen to move the plot along. The author tries to make things interesting by adding in the odd fight or shootout scene here or there, but it fails to keep the story alive or keep a reader from questioning what the point is to any of it is. And why it takes the author so long to tell their story.
Would’ve only given one star if not for brilliant prose.
An intoxicating story of love covered in muck blood and vines. An amazing female protagonist who resonates enough power and self sacrifice to do anything for those close to her. As an older sister myself, the story resonated with me. Thank you!
Wonderful read !!