Skip to content

River Daughter – Jane Hardstaff. Reviewed by Banana Girl (9)

“A child born in water, you shall return to water. You belong to me.” Moss used to be the executioner’s daughter, trapped within the Tower of London’s walls. She was born in the water, just outside the Tower, after her father had been found guilty of a crime. Moss’s mother drowned in the river, pulled down by the Riverwitch, who had told her father that she would let Moss live till her twelfth birthday when she would then claim Moss as her own,as then they where dragged away to become the executioners. However, Moss managed to escape the grasp of the Riverwitch and, with her father and newly found friend Salter, move away to a small village in the countryside.

However, one day she sees the Riverwitch again in a small stream that leads onto the river Thames. The Riverwitch tells her that she must go to London because she has a mission for her – and if she fails, then mankind will suffer. An ancient creature has been woken from the deep, and is slowly turning everything that depends on water to survive die. So she begins to head off but Salter manages to find her, and insists on tagging along.

When they get to London,Salter’s boat is ruined by a strong wind and a current, so that they now have nowhere to stay, no blankets, no food, nothing. So they go to an inn called the Crow and Stump, where Salter sometimes went to, the innkeeper being a boy not much older than them, who lets them stay as a favour. Eel eye Jack. He is an extremely talented musician, who can play the violin fast and smoothly. Some say that someone talented at music has been taught by the devil in exchange for part of their soul.

Salter has always been suspicious of Eel eye Jack. And Moss can not work out the Riverwitch’s words, riddles to tell her who is feeding the ancient creature – ” all in the beast house fear him, he is the under- keeper, the whip master.”

Will Moss and Salter find the creature before the fish die and the Thames turns to mud, threatening Tudor London? Does Salter have a good reason to be suspicious of Eel eye Jack?

I think this is a great book of phenomenal ideas, awe and adventure. My favourite part is when Moss meets the polar bear in the beast house – it is so fraught but atmospheric as well, you almost feel as if you are Moss! This is an excellent sequel to the first book, the “Executioner’s Daughter”.

Thank you to Oscar and Sam who gave me a book token, allowing me to buy this book.

(Buy the book)

river daughter

River Daughter book

4 replies »

  1. Thank you Banana Girl – I’m thrilled you liked River Daughter. And it would be lovely to meet you one day. Are you in Hertfordshire? Perhaps I could let you know if I do any events or festivals in your area?

  2. Hello Banana Girl. Thank you so much for such a lovely review of RIVER DAUGHTER and your amazing drawing of Moss and Salter about to get in a tangle with Eel-Eye Jack! How perfectly you’ve captured the tricky relationship between the three of them. I’m thrilled you could almost ‘feel’ as though you were Moss – I always hope that readers will live the story with my characters. Keep reading and reviewing – your thoughts and words are wonderful. Best wishes, Jane

    • Thank you Jane for the lovely comment. i actually think that the second book is even better than the first, and that is saying something, because the first one was very good too.

      maybe we will meet someday…

      Banana Girl

Leave a Reply to mangobubblesboy Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow Mango Bubbles Books on

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.