A note about The Cuddlywumps Chronicles

This blog is written and maintained by Miss Cuddlywumps, a fluffy-tailed calico cat who is both classically educated and familiar with mysteries. She receives creative input from the Real Cats and clerical assistance from She of Little Talent (old SoLT, a.k.a. Roby Sweet). Comments or complaints should be addressed to Miss C rather than to old SoLt (Ms. Sweet). Ms. Sweet accepts no responsibility for Miss C's opinions.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Book Review: Clowders

Mysterious Monday

On this Mysterious Monday, we are pleased to bring you our review of Vanessa Morgan’s Clowders, the dark tale of what happens to an American family after they move to a small, cat-centric town in Luxembourg. This is not the sort of light read we often review here, so prepare yourselves.

The plot

Clowders, by Vanessa Morgan
Aiden and Jess arrive in the village of Clervaux with their daughter, Eleonore. Aiden is a veterinarian who has taken a position at the local clinic, but he soon finds that the village’s inhabitants have a strange attachment to their cats. Killing a cat—even euthanasia of a desperately sick or injured cat—is the worst thing you could do. Aiden has no idea why, but then he doesn’t know about the town’s dark secret.

Neither does Jess, but as she spends days alone, trying to find a job in a country where she doesn’t speak the language, she begins to sense that something is not right with this place. For one thing, there’s the sound of claws on the floor, and for another, there’s that odd sense of always being watched. Then there’s the fact that her husband seems to be forming an attraction to a local cat rescuer named Lorenza.

Things get worse when Aiden and Jess go out with Lorenza and some others for a night of fun at a club. When it’s time to go home, everyone determines that Jess is the most sober, so she is stuck driving. A cat darts in front of the car, and she hits it, killing it. Everyone except Jess and Aiden freaks out, but the newcomers don’t understand why. Sure, it’s sad that the cat died, but they had tried to save it, in the end it’s just a cat, right?

Wrong. A cat in Clervaux is never “just a cat,” because a mysterious, terrifying creature known as the Tengu protects all cats there. And if a human harms a cat, that human—and any other humans who were involved—will pay. So it isn’t long before the people who were in the car that night begin disappearing, and Jess is becoming more and more afraid as she keeps hearing and seeing unexplainable things. Is she just caught up in the local folklore, or are they all in danger?

Our verdict

We mostly enjoyed this book. The overall story is intriguing, and the climax had us turning pages at a furious pace. We read so many cozies, it was a nice change of pace to read something dark and unsettling, which Clowders certainly is. That said, we were a little disappointed that we didn’t get a stronger sense of foreboding and creepiness. The pace slowed for us in the sections focused mostly on Jess and Aiden’s faltering relationship, but it definitely picks up toward the end. All in all, a good read!

One Paw Up! A Good Read

A note on the "Paws Up" system: Miss C gives either one or two paws up. One paw is for a good read; two paws is for a great read. She never gives three or four paws because that would require her to lie on her back...and Miss C does not do that!
The link below is an Amazon Associates link. If you purchase the book through this link, old SoLT and I could get some coin for our kibble account. Thank you!


  1. In Ulthar...


  2. I have this book on order as an audiobook through my library! It seems very popular; I've been waiting over a month for it! Thanks for the review

  3. It sounded kind of intense and a bit scary in your description! I don't like it when a book gets bogged down in boring stuff, but you can't put it down waiting for the good stuff to come back; this sounded a little like that. I think I'd still give it a try though!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

  4. I enjoyed this book so much. I'm pretty sure it's even going to make my top 10 of the year!

  5. OOOoOoOoOOoo Mom LOVES Dark Books!
    This is on the list