When I was a kid, I loved simple horror stories. Just enough to raise the goosebumps on your arm, maybe a bit more to keep you awake at night. And I still love those kinds of stories today. The problem is, especially for me as a teacher, most scary stories don’t fall within the acceptable range for younger readers. This one by Jane Hardstaff is an exception to that rule.
Meet Moss, a young girl who lives alone with her dad. Dear old Dad just happens to be the executioner of the Tower of London. And Moss is responsible for collecting the heads after each beheading, catching them as they drop and putting them in a basket. It’s the only life she’s every known, and her dad is the only parent she’s ever had since her mom died during childbirth.
But there’s more to that story than Moss has ever been told, and it’s the reason they can’t leave the Tower of London. When Moss finds a way out, she’s inexplicably drawn to the river. The river is slow and steady some days, fast and unpredictable on others. And there’s something lurking just under the surface, something that’s taking young children. Moss discovers that she’s tied to the river in a way she never dreamed possible, going all the way back to her mom’s death.
This book was a pleasant surprise. Not that I was expecting bad things, but you just never know. It’s historical, most definitely, but it has a healthy dose of paranormal/thriller thrown in. And I have to say, this is the first book I’ve read that’s set in Tudor times. This is a story that I’ll definitely be recommending to some young readers who I know. And the sequel, River Daughter, is high at the top of my TBR list.
Buy It Now: The Executioner’s Daughter