I had the opportunity to get two new books on my kindle so of course I took it. Who can turn down new reading material? The books I received were The Hangman’s Daughter and it’s follow-up, The Dark Monk by German author Oliver Potzsch (imagine the o having an umlaut over it). The books are historical fiction based on the author’s executioner relatives.


I was definitely presently surprised at how quickly I read through The Hangman’s Daughter. It was one of those books that once I started, I didn’t want to put it down.

The story centers around the hangman Jakob, his daughter Magdalena and Simon, the town doctor. It is basically a murder mystery set in the 1600s. I am not sure how accurate the German history is in the book but it definitely felt like I was transported back in time.

Something I enjoyed in the book was the character contrasts. Jakob is a hangman and expected to be tough and standoff-ish but at his core he is intelligent, kind and fun-loving. His daughter is said to be unpure and lower class but she too is kind, intelligent and probably a few centuries ahead of her time. She was stubborn and head strong and I could see bits of myself in her.

The Hangman’s Daughter plot concerns witches and the hunts that occur after strange events. Children are murdered, a leper house destroyed, a fire set but who is doing such things? A witch? The devil? You will have to read the book to find out!

The Dark Monk started off much slower than The Hangman’s Daughter. About 1/3 to half way through it really started to pick up and I did not want to put it down. The Dark Monk centered around religion and the famed Templars. I am not a religious person but I really enjoyed how the author showed both sides. He showed not only how crazy religion can make some but also how it can heal others.

In The Dark Monk Simon, Magdalena and Jakob are on the trail of a Templar’s riddle in order to find the prized treasure. There are several forces trying to throw them off the trail. There was also a big twist near the end that I had not suspected at all but when I looked back I should have been able to put it together. Although, the author does not give the reader as much information as Jakob gets.

I would definitely recommend this book to people, especially if they like historical fiction, thriller type books. They are similar to the Dan Brown novels in that the author takes real people/events and creates a story. Although this author uses his relatives and sets the book back in their time. It makes the story seem more real even though he admits he doesn’t know much about their daily lives.

The end of The Dark Monk contained a preview for a third book in the series. I did not read it. I hate the previews because it just makes me want to finish the book and usually the book does not come out for a while after. LOL

Disclaimer: I am a BzzAgent and received these books free. The review and thoughts are my own and I would not endorse a product I didn’t like. I honestly enjoyed these books. Clicking the book images will take you to amazon. I am also an amazon associate.

Categories: Books


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.