Friday 26 April 2019

#BookReview — The Moss Maiden of Kinderhook by Mark C. King #HistoricalFiction #HistoricalMurderMystery @MarkCKingAuthor

The Moss Maiden of Kinderhook
By Mark C. King

Kinderhook, New York - 1826

If monsters are real, then anything is possible.

Like all his peers, seventeen-year-old William Sharp grew up hearing fairy tales about the Moss Maiden, a folklore creature that rewards the good and punishes the wicked. But those were just stories to scare children…weren’t they?

Then why are people dying? What is haunting the forests of Kinderhook Village?

Though frightened and overwhelmed, William will uncover secrets that will call on him to do more than he could imagine. He’ll have to contend with horrors beyond his most disturbing dreams. 

For the sake of his family, the girl he loves, and his very life, William will have to face the nightmare that is the Moss Maiden of Kinderhook!

“We are dealing with a deadly monster and only the truth — pleasant or not — will help you defeat it.”

Seamus MacGowan’s words may not be what the inhabitants of Kinderhook wanted to hear, but someone needs to speak plainly about what they are dealing with, and he is, after all, a monster hunter. Seamus knows that the Moss Maiden would never kill indiscriminately — she only targets the wicked.

Until a few days ago, William Sharp’s only concern was how to tell his parents that he had no intention of becoming a lawyer or a doctor. Instead, he felt a calling towards the land. And besides, how could he leave Marie, the young woman whom he had fallen in love with, to the wolves?

When a family falls from grace, nothing can stop the descent. They say that Marie Holland’s father was a criminal who, instead of facing up to his crimes, took his own life. The shame would be with them forever. Their place in society had been stripped from them 12 years ago, and they had never got it back. Marie and her mother were the outsiders. They were pitied, but not welcomed. Marie’s mother had turned to drink, which brought only more shame. And yet, Marie dared to imagine a life with the young man she has been in love with since she was a little girl.

The arrival of the Moss Maiden, and the fear that came with her, drives this young couple closer together. If life was so fleeting, then why should they not declare their love? However, as the villagers collectively come together to destroy the Moss Maiden, secrets are revealed that will change the lives of the young couple forever.

From a gruesome discovery in the forest to the harsh coldness of the truth, The Moss Maiden of Kinderhook by Mark C. King is one of the most compelling Historical Mystery / Mythological stories that I have ever read.

King’s enchanting narrative and his elegant turn of phrase captivated me from the opening sentence. The plot is tautly gripping, and the villagers’ fear of the supernatural made this story not only powerfully compulsive but utterly irresistible.

Kinderhook is a place where superstition and the mythological collide, and nothing is as it seems. King skillfully describes a village under siege from a threat they do not understand and cannot see. The villagers quickly realise that the ghost stories may not be stories after all. King is a master at writing suspense, and at times the tension in this book was almost unbearable. Who would be next to succumb to the monster? However, The Moss Maiden of Kinderhook is more than just a ghost story with a murderous twist, running alongside it is a tender, yet forbidden love story.

I adored the characterisation of William Sharp. He is compassionate and is not one to go along with the crowd. While others ridicule Marie, he defends her. He is incredibly empathetic and just so likeable! Marie’s character really pulled at my heartstrings. With the death of her father, her life was turned upside down. She cares for her alcoholic mother, and she has to put up with the vilest abuse from her peers. William is her only friend and the only person whom she can rely on, but even then, she thinks herself unworthy of his attention and love. King has approached Marie’s characterisation with scrupulous care. His insight into human frailty and indeed for the human condition has to be commended. He writes with diligence and care, which made all of his characters highly appealing.

Another character worthy of note is the monster hunter, Seamus MacGowan. Although Seamus is only a secondary character in this book, and a stranger to the village, he is no man’s fool. He sees what others don’t want to see. His character certainly gave me pause for thought as the story progressed.

I applaud King for his attention to the historical detailing in this book. He has skilfully depicted Kinderhook in the early 19th Century as well as the people who lived there. His understanding of the mythological and superstition is also worthy of mention.

Although there are several murders in this book, King writes with a keen sense of who his audience is. It would certainly appeal to young adults, as well as those who love a good murder mystery.

If you are looking for your next great Mythological / Historical Murder Mystery, or are looking for something new, then look no further than The Moss Maiden of Kinderhook. Fans of Washington Irving’s The Legends of Sleepy Hollow will love it too.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Pick up your copy of
The Moss Maiden of Kinderhook

Mark King
Mark King is an easy-going writer with a talent for finding enjoyment in most any situation. He’s a lifelong reader whose literary interests include historical fiction, science fiction, adventure, thriller, and mysteries.  He grew up in California, but now lives in upstate New York with his wife.  When not working or writing, he can be found watching movies, having fun with friends, eating ice cream, and of course reading.

Connect with Mark: Facebook • Twitter


  1. Congratulations on your award, Mark!

  2. Congratulations and well deserved Mark!


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx