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The Executioner's Daughter

(The Executioner's Daughter #1)

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  432 ratings  ·  90 reviews
A child that is born to the river shall return to the river.

All her life, Moss has lived in the Tower of London with her father, who serves as the executioner for King Henry VIII. Prisoners condemned to death must face Pa and his axe—and Moss, who holds the basket that will catch their severed heads.

Twelve years you shall have. To love her. To hold her.

With the king
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published April 1st 2016 by Lerner Publishing Group (first published January 30th 2014)
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Average rating 3.50  · 
Rating details
 ·  432 ratings  ·  90 reviews

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May 16, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, e-book, netgalley
Received from: Egmont USA
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Actual rating 2.5 stars

Why this book?

When I saw this took place during the Tudor period I had to read it

What I thought

The Executioner’s Daughter is a historical fiction with magical elements set in the Tudor period which appealed to me. Moss was a frustrating character; I couldn’t stand her to tell you the truth. Her father tells her he’s trying to protect her and what does she do? She runs away, little idiot! I love Salter though
Jun 19, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

If I learned anything from Jane Hardstaff's The Executioner's Daughter, it's that Egmont and I define 'thrilling adventure' very differently. I mean no offense, but I struggled with this piece, more so than I care to admit considering it is young adult lit. I'd considered abandoning it early on over its juvenile prose alone, but when push comes to shove I'm a bit of a stubborn mule and surrender doesn't come easy.

I suppose
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This middle grade novel starts like a historical novel. Moss lives with her father in the Tower of London. Anne Boleyn is still alive, but rumors hint that it won't be for long. Moss is frustrated by her life, circumscribed by the bounds of the tower. Even worse, she has to catch the heads (in a basket) of the people her father executes.

Then THE EXECUTIONER'S DAUGHTER takes a turn for the supernatural. The folkloric nature of that which lies in wait for Moss makes this seem like a natural
This was an exciting and action-packed read, with ages 9 to 12 in mind. It is historical fiction with magical elements, taking place during the Tudor period. At the centre of it all, is our young heroine, Moss, who is plucky, stubborn, and courageous. As daughter of the Tower of London’s Executioner, Moss is tasked with removing the heads of those beheaded, earning her the moniker of “basket girl.” Wanting to escape a life shrouded in death, Moss finds a way beyond the Tower walls, and goes in ...more
Elizabeth ♛Smart Girls Love Trashy Books♛

I was surprised when I saw all the hate for this book! While it's not the greatest book I've read, I don't think it deserved all the negative reviews. Most also categorized this as a YA novel, and I even found this in my library's YA section, but I don't think it belongs there, it's very obviously a childrens' book, and while there's nothing wrong with that, I don't know why people keep categorizing it wrong.

I'm also disappointed the sequel isn't available in America! While
Oct 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Somewhere between three and four stars. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. The story was enjoyable but predictable. The characters were a little flat but I did enjoy Moss' growth by the end of the book.

Moss is the executioner's daughter. She catches heads after they've been removed from their bodies, but longs for freedom. The story takes a paranormal twist that I did not expect, with the introduction of a 'witch' and a curse. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed the deviation from the usual historical
Aug 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, this was not the best book. Although the end was heartwarming, the majority of the book was boring and hard to get through. I read this in bookclub, and no one really liked it. Everyone said the end changed it. But I can't get past the beginning of the book. I feel as though there was maybe to much detail, and maybe not enough action. Also this book had a different cover when I read it. Not a fan of this cover. If you read it, prepare to cry. Also don't quit, it is all worth it in the ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
DNF - I did not finish the novel as I could not get into the story or the characters. It may be due to the fact it is written for children and not one that is for all ages. Based on other reviews I stopped reading as I don't think I will enjoy it. Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this book.
Rachel McMillan
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting, interesting fable-like patch of folklore this is. Woven with magic and set against the tumultuous life of London’s ominous tower, Moss and her blacksmith father ( not to mention Salter, the sly river rat) pepper an unforgettable children’s tale. Lush, sparse and so vivid, this reminded me why I love Children’s Literature as much as I do. title provided by Netgalley
K Gover
Moss is an easy to relate to, fierce character. Her role as the basket girl in catching the heads the executioner/Pa chops off is morbidly interesting. There are several passages that are so well written that you can't help but want to share them. Passages of suspense and "hooks" that intrigue the reader are prevalent throughout the story.
The descriptions of the variety of settings is extensive and producers many opportunities to visualize. In addition, the historic elements of the Tudor
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book a while ago ~ but im new to this app i decided to write this now. I recently just finished reading Jane Hardstaff's second book 'River Daughter' for the second time, - both books in the series never get boring. I was sitting in class reading my book when i suddenly finished it right before my teacher asked me to read to her - i jumped to the book shelf and didnt look at the title or anything and just started reading it to my teacher - from then on i was hooked, i couldn't even ...more
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-read
I liked the book overall. It was very inventive and the mystery/adventure featured in it kept me hooked. It's hard for me to find a book and not want to put it down, especially if it's not one I chose. I chose this book when I was browsing the library and had to find a book, any book, that I'd enjoy reading and want to write annotations for. At first, I wasn't so sure about this book, but after reading it, it's safe to say I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Can't wait to read the second book!
(Also, I gave
Bridgette Griffith
Two and a half stars. Not horrible but not exactly GOOD either. The bit with Moss and Anne Boleyn is frankly embarrassing. Even in middle grade fiction the way the author has Anne speaking is ridiculous. Also for a supposedly bad winter it seems odd that the main character is running around with no cloak, shawl, or any outerwear of any kind it shoes at one section and is also often set from the river and somehow isn't sick or frostbitten. People literally froze to death or died suddenly after ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-and-kidlit
This book has some interesting aspects, including a great premise and a spectacular setting, but suffers from not quite knowing what it wants to be. The plot meanders; themes change as the novel progresses; the magical elements appear and disappear; too many characters make only cameo appearances; and while its grittiness and grisliness seem more suited for young adults, the writing and the plot (such as it is) are clearly aimed at middle grade readers.
Lagged at parts but Im happy with Moss realizing how much her father truly did care... it's easy to see her as ungrateful and impulsive but as an 11 year old her notions and behavior are more forgivable opposed to if she'd been older. And I loved Salter in this, and was glad nothing took a romantic turn, with how young they were.
Jessica Martin
The book starts off well setting the scene, however through the book there are numerous dramatic events with little explanation, so overall the book was quite confusing. Additionally little emotion is shown throughout despite how dramatic some of the events were so I found it quite unrealistic, especially with the inevitable happy ending.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a YA read, this novel had a little bit of everything - history, fantasy, family dynamics & teenage friendship. It was well written & carried you along at a rapid rate. You really had a sense of being a part of Tudor England. Would definitely recommend to readers around 13+
The main issue with this book is Moss, the heroine. Although she is believable as a frustrated pre-teen, she's also obnoxious, and comes off as ungrateful. While it makes sense for her age, it doesn't make her a character I want to read about.
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book was good, the fantasy with the Riverwitch didn't really get me spooked. I didn't really get sucked into this book, and so it's just a 3 stars from me. :)
Christy Rawson
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent!! Very interesting! I enjoyed the scary parts and I loved the historical parts! Fun easy read!
Heather Jo
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay book. Wasn't really my favorite.
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I this book! ...more
Luican  Gray
It was a nice little story. For the family.
Brittany Wouters
Apr 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It had very childish prose, awkward and ill-formed, and tbqh, I didn't actually care that she didn't want to enter into the family business?
Made it to like page 5 and gave up. Ugh.
Emma Filtness
Interesting characters and great setting with lots of potential, but no where near as tense and gripping as it needed to be.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plucky heroine and colorful sidekick, fascinating information about executing people, time period comes alive, Anne Boelyn - happy to see that there may be a series!
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good easy read
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Jane Hardstaff grew up in Wiltshire with her brothers, hunting mayfly-nymphs with her father and reading fairytales with her mother. Now she lives in London’s East End, near the great, wild River Thames – inspiration for THE EXECUTIONER’S DAUGHTER and RIVER DAUGHTER.

When she's not writing, Jane is a television producer. All her work involves drinking tea and eating a lot of toast.

Her ideal

Other books in the series

The Executioner's Daughter (2 books)
  • River Daughter (The Executioner's Daughter, #2)