ARC Review: The Executioner’s Daughter

The Executioner's Daughter
The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff

Release date: July 14, 2015

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Moss is a young girl who hates her life. She’s a prisoner in the Tower of London, her father is the executioner, and it’s Moss who has to catch the heads in her basket… But when she discovers a hidden tunnel that takes her to freedom she also unearths a terrifying secret, and discovers that her life isn’t what she believes it to be. It’s only when she runs away from the Tower and meets the mouthy rascal called Salter that she learns the true value of freedom and choice.

The Executioner’s Daughter was quite a thrilling read. It has mystery, magic, ghosts, a touch of historical, but also an innocence. Set it Henry VII’s London, right about the time Anne Boleyn was to meet her fate, the story revolves around Moss, the daughter of the Executioner at the Tower. She has been imprisoned all her life in the Tower, never allowed to go out, never allowed to mingle with others. Her main job is to collect the severed heads from the executioner’s block, a task that earned her the moniker ‘basket girl’. Life at the Tower is brutal for her, with her being bullied and her father always on her case to never go out. When she finally finds a way to freedom and adventure, she goes in search of her past. Without giving much away, I would like to say her path takes her from the slums to the palaces, and also a meeting with a spirit who has been chasing her for life. But the book doesn’t mainly rely on the ghost angle, but rather the intrigue and mystery of the Tower, its quiet hallways where one could hear secret conversations. The writing is beautiful, and paints a realistic picture of the London then, but the pace of the story did make me want to skim faster through the plot. Overall, I would give it 3.5 stars.

Received a free galley from Egmont USA via Netgalley; this does not influence my opinions or review.

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