Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Hangman's Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch

Jakob Kuisl is the hangman of Schongau in 17th century Bavaria. His daughter Magdalena is attracted to Simon, the son of the local doctor, even though such a relationship is forbidden in the culture. When orphans are found dead bearing a mark that is widely thought to be a sign of a witch, the local midwife is imprisoned. Jakob and other are convinced that she is not a witch, although it would be much easier if she were to just confess to the crime. It is up to Jakob, Simon, and Magdalena to find the truth behind the murders before Jakob has to kill the woman who brought his children into the world. I really enjoyed this tale based on the author's own family history. He, of course, has taken liberties with the story and plot, but it has brought to light the witch scares in Germany that preceded the one in Salem here in the United States. A great piece of historical fiction! 4 stars.

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