When several children in the town of Schongau (Bavaria) are found murdered, the symbols on their bodies point to witchcraft. The townspeople are out for blood, but the town leaders remember the horror of past witch hunts, and how many more innocent than guilty were killed.
What they need is a scapegoat, one person on whom they can blame the murders, torture, send to trial, and execute before things get out of hand. The fact that the murdered children have been spending quite a bit of time with the town midwife does not go unnoticed, and soon she is arrested and jailed. The town council believes that executing her will solve their problem.
But hangman Jakob Kuisl is not so certain. It is his job to interrogate prisoners and force them to confess, and he has a nagging feeling that the midwife is not the one responsible for the murders. He and Simon, the physician’s son, must quickly work together to solve the mystery. And it turns out that the life of more than one woman is at stake.
A perfect story
Oh novel, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!
Murder mystery, check. Creepy bad guys who may or may not be human, check. Kick-ass main character, check. Plucky/brave female character, check. A touch of romance, check. The only thing this book is missing is a complimentary hangman’s axe with purchase.
And that prologue? Terrifying.
I wrote a couple weeks ago, when I was halfway through The Hangman’s Daughter, about how much I like Jakob; and after finishing the story I like him just as much, if not more.
The one complaint I have is that some of the language felt awfully modern for the 17th century; at one point Simon responds to some comment his father makes with, “Whatever,” and several characters get the attention of a group by saying something like, “Hey guys!” I’m not an etymologist, and have no idea if these words/uses were around during this time period.
The Hangman’s Daughter is a translation (German to English) so perhaps its the fault of the language change. All the same, it was jarring.
That small pet peeve aside, I loved Pötzsch’s novel. It’s gruesome and nightmare-inducing, but very smartly written (and translated) and had me biting my nails through every turn of the page. If you haven’t read it, you should — turn on every single light in your house and prepare to be more than a little scared, and totally hooked.
Win a copy of The Hangman’s Daughter
I loved this book so much that I’ve decided to give away a copy (paperback, mint condition) to one lucky reader!
Winning’s easy. You must:
- Be a follower of this blog
- Live in the United States (I cannot ship internationally, I’m sorry)
- Fill out the form below (one entry per person, please)
A roll of the die will determine the winner.
[This contest is now closed. Come back for more reviews and giveaways!]
This giveaway ends March 26. You only have two weeks, so get to entering!
8 thoughts on “Review: The Hangman’s Daughter [Giveaway!]”
Oh man . . . this looks good! But yeah, the language. I read a book that took place in ancient Greece and someone said something like ‘Have a nice day’ – um, I don’t think they were saying things like THAT in Aristotle’s time lol. Anywhoo, if it’s not overdone then it’s easily overlooked.
It’s fabulous! Did you enter to win your own copy? 🙂
While having a whole book full of anachronistic speech is distracting, having just one or two occurrences is potentially just as distracting; those few moments stand out more in contrast, you know?
The book is a translation, though, so maybe the author used words that don’t translate well.
I enjoyed this book, too. But for the lapses in language, it felt like a very realistic portrayal of the time. I had one pet peeve about it, too, though. I got so tired of reading the phrase “the Stecklin woman” like we didn’t quite know who she was or she didn’t have a first name or the author couldn’t be bothered to mix it up a little and simply call her “the witch” sometimes. Maybe it’s ridiculous of me, but by two thirds through I’d begun to roll my eyes a little every time it was used. 😉
Sometimes it felt a little tooauthentic; couldn’t read it at night. 🙁
Now that you mention it, there was a lot of “the Stecklin woman” going on. I’d have to go back and check, but it seems like the people saying that the most were the town leader, and Jakob himself; maybe that’s the way they spoke about women in general?
I’m sure if I ever work up the courage to re-read the book, “the Stecklin woman” is all I’ll see. 🙂
Oooo! A creepy book? Sign me up!
Way creepy. Especially the prologue. I wasn’t expecting it to be so violent, and I had horrific dreams that night (I picked up the book late in the evening).
Fortunately it’s not that gruesome all the way through, just here and there. Mostly it’s well-written, full of tension, and generally badass.
Oooo! Oooooo! This looks so good and I am off to Germany in a few weeks. I hope I can find it somewhere before I go – sounds like great travel reading.
Also I’m glad I scrolled through my toolbar and saw your ‘I am not here!’ post or whatever it was. Yes, still subscribed at the old spot. Thanks for reaching out through my laptop and telling me where to go.
Perfect timing, then! It’s been available for awhile, you should be able to find it just about anywhere — maybe even at the airport on your way there. 🙂
Glad you made it over! I love talking through the comments, and it’s hard to do without fabulous readers. 😉
Have a safe flight, and enjoy Germany! Are you going for vacation?