In today’s Shelf Control post, I am thrilled to share the details of a historical thriller novel originally published in German. There’s no particular reason for translated books making up only a small proportion of my TBR… I just don’t discover them all that often! That means when I do, I get really excited about them!
Before I share the details of that book, let’s recap what the Shelf Control regular feature is all about!
Shelf Control is a regular feature on my blog – a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a celebration of the unread books on our shelves! The idea is to pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!
If you want to read more about the Shelf Control feature, check out Lisa’s introductory post.
The Hangman’s Daughter – Oliver Pötzsch
Genre: Historical Fiction/Thriller
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 16 May 2011
Magdalena, the clever and headstrong daughter of Bavarian hangman Jakob Kuisl, lives with her father outside the village walls and is destined to be married off to another hangman’s son—except that the town physician’s son is hopelessly in love with her. And her father’s wisdom and empathy are as unusual as his despised profession. It is 1659, the Thirty Years’ War has finally ended, and there hasn’t been a witchcraft mania in decades. But now, a drowning and gruesomely injured boy, tattooed with the mark of a witch, is pulled from a river and the villagers suspect the local midwife, Martha Stechlin.
Jakob Kuisl is charged with extracting a confession from her and torturing her until he gets one. Convinced she is innocent, he, Magdalena, and her would-be suitor race against the clock to find the true killer. Approaching Walpurgisnacht, when witches are believed to dance in the forest and mate with the devil, another tattooed orphan is found dead and the town becomes frenzied. More than one person has spotted what looks like the devil—a man with a hand made only of bones. The hangman, his daughter, and the doctor’s son face a terrifying and very real enemy.
The Hangman’s Daughter, or Die Henkerstochter, appealed to me initially as it’s a work of historical fiction. However, I’m also intrigued by the thriller and mystery element that takes place within the story.
If you like reading books that feature witchcraft, or speculation of witchcraft, then this should appeal to you as well. I haven’t read very many books from this angle, but I have several on my TBR (both fiction and non-fiction!). Off the top of my head, the only witchy book I’ve read is To Snare a Witch, now titled Bell, Book and Candle.
The main protagonists in this book may be considered unsavoury, or at least unpleasant to deal with. Let’s face it, if you have business with a hangman it doesn’t look good for you! It’s a unique perspective to take in a book, and if done well, I think there is ample opportunity for character depth and exploration.
The Hangman’s Daughter is quite unlike anything I have read before. I’m looking forward to picking this up and exploring a new period of historical fiction and uncovering the mystery within.
That’s all for today’s Shelf Control post! Have you read The Hangman’s Daughter? Let me know what you make of this book either way in the comments!