Monday, January 23, 2012

Review--The Hangman's Daughter

    Historical fiction is a particular favorite genre of mine, so I was looking forward to this one, though I was a bit dubious as to just how much "history" there was actually going to be. With The Hangman's Daughter, Oliver Pötzsch spins a yarn that has one foot well into a period of history that has always fascinated me. Extreme themes by today's standards, such a witchcraft, leprosy, the Plague, were common fare during the 17th Century, and Pötzsch employs them all to flesh out his tale, which was enjoyably old-fashioned.
    The title implies that the hangman's daughter is the main character, but she was only one of several, all of whom are outcasts because of their positions in society--the hangman, feared and despised, his daughter, shunned by proxy, and the young physician, who dares to think that there is more to medicine than blood-letting and leeches.
    The misplaced fear of witchcraft drives the story, which was fairly well-paced, though occasionally I felt it was a bit contrived and predictable. That said, it was refreshing to read a story about witches that didn't involve some soppy teen drama.

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