The Hangman's Daughter cover

Review: The Hangman’s Daughter & The Dark Monk

The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Hangman's Daughter cover
The Hangman’s Daughter is the first book, and I didn’t come to it unprepared. I’d read quite a few reviews and knew the basic premise. I was still excited by the story, and Potzsch’s power of description is quite amazing.
Although the story is quite depressing at times, I still enjoyed the historical aspects. The author has obviously done a lot of research on the time period, and the fact that the main characters are modeled from his own family history of executioners is interesting.
As for pacing, the book does tend to drag a bit in the middle. By that time, we’ve been introduced to the characters and the conflict, and it’s difficult to relate to the slower speed of the 17th-century world. We want to characters to HURRY, as we would! But the powers of deduction and speed of everyday living don’t work that way in novels, nor did they in real life.
The only other issue is the character names, sometimes difficult to keep straight simply because they are Bavarian.
The Dark Monk cover
The second book, The Dark Monk, had a more interesting mystery, in my opinion, and more humor. Simon has a much larger part in this novel and no one is whom they seem to be. The plot was quite unbelievable, however, which made it seem more of a fairy tale than a historical novel for me.
I stuck with it because I enjoy the characters and their relationships, and because the historical features hold my attention and the atmosphere is so well described.
I would recommend these for lovers of historical novels and mysteries who don’t mind some dark subject matter.

© Jan McClintock of We Need More Shelves

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