In the early 1600s, Elizabeth Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess, ruled Čachtice Castle in the hinterlands of Slovakia....
Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has always harbored a deep love for horses....
It's 1803, and an adolescent Nadya is determined not to follow in her overbearing Ukrainian mother's footsteps. She's a horsewoman, not a housewife....
Each morning in the hour before dawn, a silent boat launches on the Bosphorous, moving swiftly into the deepest part of the waters halfway between Europe and Asia, where a man will die....
Push Not the River is the rich story of Poland in the late 1700's - a time of heartache and turmoil as the country's once peaceful people are torn apart by neighboring countries and divided loyalties....
In the village of Lauscha in Germany, things have been done the same way for centuries. The men blow the glass, and the women decorate and pack it....
With the hardships of war intensifying every day, the women band together to defeat formidable enemies and find remarkable strength within themselves to help one another....
Eve is about to take charge of her own destiny - and that of Henry's family. As both their worlds spin violently out of control, Henry must make an impossible choice....
Prudence Cotton has recently lost her husband and is desperate to find her daughter, captured by the Nipmuk tribe during King Philip's war....
Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries....
When a dying boy is pulled from the river with a mark crudely tattooed on his shoulder, hangman Jakob Kuisl is called upon to investigate whether witchcraft is at play in his small Bavarian town....
In the fourteenth century, opportunities for women are limited to the home. But spirited young Madlen finds her calling as assistant to the city's trusted midwife, Clara....
After the tragic death of her little brother, Josephine travels to the Black Forest to heal. There she discovers a feeling of freedom astride a brand-new invention....
When Althea Leary abandons her nine-year-old son, Jasper, he's left on his uncle's farm with nothing but a change of clothes and a Bible....
This deeply moving tale of unlikely love traces the journey of these very different women as each searches for freedom and dignity....
Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He's a normal Italian teenager - obsessed with music, food, and girls....
Two years after Emperor Augustus's bloody defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra, he triumphantly returns to Rome. To his only child, Julia, he brings an unlikely companion....
Facing challenges in an increasingly colonial world, Chye Hoon, a rebellious young girl, must learn to embrace her mixed Malayan-Chinese identity as a Nyonya - and her destiny as a cook....
In 1606, the grand city of Prague hides an ugly secret: the emperor’s bastard son, Don Julius, is afflicted with a madness that pushes the prince to unspeakable depravity. Banished to a remote corner of Bohemia, Don Julius comes under the care of a bloodletter who works to purge the vicious humors coursing through the young royal’s veins. When the prince meets the bloodletter’s daughter Marketa, his madness sparks a frenzied - and dangerous - obsession. He believes Marketa embodies the women from the Coded Book of Wonder, a priceless manuscript from the imperial library that was the young prince’s only link to sanity. As the prince descends further into the darkness of his mind, his acts become ever more desperate, and Marketa, both frightened and fascinated, can’t stay away.
Inspired by a true murder that rocked the Hapsburg dynasty, The Bloodletter’s Daughter is a dark and richly detailed saga of passion and revenge.
I have to say, as soon as I finished with this book, I went straight to Google to look up the actual history of Don Julius. It's all there too, the castle to tour, along with facts on Don Julius, Marketa, and the White Lady. Very interesting stuff, that I would never have ran across, if not for this book. Looking things up after reading is best, if you aren't familiar with these characters, cause knowing the outcome would ruin the ending.
The book tends to put everything in fairy tale proportions, but in this case maybe that's for the best.
I switched back and forth with kindle and listening, as I didn't care too much for the narrator. She wasn't bad, I just didn't like the way some of the voices sounded.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
As soon as I finished this, I had to look up the details of Don Julius, the mad son of King Rudolph II and his relationship with Marketa . . . best done AFTER listening to The Bloodletter's Daughter. The 1600's was a fascinating time in history, when a great debate between Christianity and Science began, as well as one between Catholics and Protestants. While some listeners think the book long and wandering with unneeded content, I found the discussions of astrology, medicine, potions, changing thoughts on bleeding patients, and the great battle between the priest and the physician to be critical to the story and time period . . . and a great foundation for modern medicine and science. Without wavering on faith in God. In the beginning, I was put off by the acts in the bath houses, and very much so by Marketa's mother . . . but now I have researched, and I find that the bath houses were common during this period in history. I'm saddened that children could have been used in this way. The book is fiction, written very much like an old Grimm's fairy tale, mixing historical facts with some "magic" and taking some liberties . . . the legend of the white lady exist and are expertly woven into the book . . . It was a long listen, expertly woven and the end was worth the wait.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This book is set in a period (early 17th century) and place (Bohemia) that is fascinating and has been little used for historical fiction. That combined with good ratings motivated me to give this book a try. The story is based on a true incident of the obsession of the violently insane Don Julius, illegitimate son of King Rudolf II, with a bathmaid, Marketa. In telling the tale, Lafferty also weaves the Renaissance push/pull of culture and folklore vs. science and psuedo-science into the plot and the setting to mostly good effect.
You can quickly tell in listening, that Linda Lafferty has done her homework - most scientists of record and major political figures of the time are all tossed into the book, but there is little or no connection with many of these figures and the actual plot of the story. In fact, Marketa's personal story that drives the plot has little to do with the great events of the time and what tenuous connection the author makes often seems contrived. Lafferty has a whole chapter on Keppler who plays NO ROLE in the plot at all. A man who was a great mathemetician and both an astromer and an atrologer (can you imagine??) is surely a character any author would love, but this was totally off track in the novel. The extraneous characters and world events simply slow the plot, bloat the novel, and break the tension the author wants to create.
However, my greatest aggravation with the book is the characters. They almost have a fairy tale stereotypic quality to them - the loving but passive and ineffectual father, the wicked stepmother (really a mother who acts like a wicked stepmother), the big bad wolf (Don Julius), the virginal and beautiful lower class maiden (Marketa - but think Cinderella), the fairy godmother/good witch Glenda (Anabella), and the dashing young prince (well in this case, he's a doctor). In addition, the dialog is wooden and unnatural. Without exception the characters are lacking complexity and I felt no empathy for any of them. This is a dark story, but when you simply do not care about the characters, any suspense in the novel just evaporates.
Carrington MacDuffie as the narrator was reasonably good. Her voice is a good match for the story and I really liked her delivery in the narrative passages of the book. She's also pretty good at being able to read male dialog without making me wince. Two complaints that would be more editorial and production related rather than a cut on the narrator. 1. Every bit of dialog in this book would have been spoken in a language other than English (mostly Czech or German) so I don't really understand the point in giving all the characters an accent. Especially when the accent used is basically the same for all the characters and lends no nuance to the reading. Just read the English with a normal voice and trust me to understand that these people are in Eastern Europe and don't speak English. 2. Several times within the recording a sentence is repeated - probably when the narrator has taken a break. Not a huge thing, but any time that happens, the listener is pulled out of the story briefly. For what audio books cost, I believe there's no excuse for sloppy production on them.
Sadly, although this book was clearly well researched and I did learn some interesting things about this historical period (both from the book and from having my curiosity picqued enough to look further), the book is just not well written. The prose is flat, the book is badly under edited, and the characters are dull and unmemorable. If you'd like a look at the late Renaissance period from a rather fresh perspective, you might find this book worthwhile, but if you are looking for real great historical fiction, look elsewhere.
15 of 18 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
A different narrator would have helped a lot. This one read like a robot - no emotion.
Would you recommend The Bloodletter's Daughter to your friends? Why or why not?
Not the Audible version.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
As I said above, it was so robotic I had to turn it off. It was like listening to a second grader.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Where does The Bloodletter's Daughter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Historical fiction is my favorite genre. This particular novel is more fiction than history but I would say it still belong in the genre. I have many favorite historical novels and would include this one among them.
What was one of the most memorable moments of The Bloodletter's Daughter?
The final chapters are memorable. The plot picks up and you cannot put the book down.
What about Carrington MacDuffie’s performance did you like?
The narrator stayed out of the way of the story. The narration added dimension to the characters but did not distract.
If you could rename The Bloodletter's Daughter, what would you call it?
I would not change the name. The blood letter and his daughter were my favorite characters. Character development was excellent .... The characters' flaws made them very believable.
Any additional comments?
The book is set in Eastern Europe at a time and in a location that have not been exploited by writers of the genre. It is obviously very well researched. The author brings the physical setting to life and incorporates a local legend into the novel. I understand this is the first book for this writer. I hope she keeps on writing.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I just finished the Bloodletter's Daughter and I have to admit I quite enjoyed the historically based story of the mad prince's obsession with a bath maid. I would have enjoyed this book regardless, but it was made all the better because it was based on a true story. I felt a mixture of pity and hate towards the mad bastard prince Don Julius and my heart broke for Marketa, who was the focus of his obsession. Mental illness is never pretty but I can't imagine what it must have been like back in the 1600's without proper understanding and medication. The fear and frustration that must have been felt towards the spoiled, dangerous and crazy prince that was allowed to roam free without any consequences from his father the king.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Seems like it is written to titillate and appeal to the basest appetites. I was disgusted with almost every character. I finally decided I'd had enough. This one is for the trash bin.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Is there anything you would change about this book?
Yes, some of the characters seem to have psychic abilities and there is a hint of a supernatural story line. I would expand on these areas more.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
I thought it ended as it should. I made the mistake of getting curious about the real life events in the story and read about them half way through the book. It totally ruined the second half of the book for me. Read the story and then if you are curious read the history afterwards-it's not exactly the same anyway.
How could the performance have been better?
There are some editing problems with the narration and some of the voices seem off. Having said that, these items do not significantly impair the story.
If this book were a movie would you go see it?
Any additional comments?
If you are looking for a brooding romance where a misunderstood prince is rescued by the love of a coy maiden this is not your story. The historical backdrop is fascinating but there are some very sad and shocking parts to this story.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
reading also had repeats of a sentence regularly. story was interesting and had some basis in history.
I tried, I really, really tried to get through this book (including reading after the horrible narration in case that was turning me off), but this is a total wall-banger in my opinion. I have no idea if this was meant to be a cheesy formulaic romance with Wikipedia level historical research of the time period thrown in ("here, have another fact about person/place/event that has nothing to do with the plot so you know I the Author did my research!"), or an attempt at historical fiction with an absolutely awful attempt of romance. Either way, the whole thing made me want to barf it was so bad. I only kept going for as long as I did because it was one of those train-wrecks you have to see if it can get worse, and there is so much to mock. But even then, you have your fill. Utter crap of a story with the most stilted, one-dimensional stereotype characters ever, and some of the worst dialogue I've read since the stint of having to go through slush-pile unsolicited submissions. I'm at a loss as to how this book got published, or how the supposed editor got away with it.
As for the audio recording, I have no idea whose idea it was, author, production director, or editor -- who thought, "Hey, maybe we can save this story by having the narration of the dialogue be performed in really lame Eastern European accent!" Idiot, whoever it was who decided that. It adds NOTHING to the feel of the book, in fact detracts from it (which is why I tried to slog through the print version), as yes, I know where the book is set, but now one be speaking English with a thick, almost comical accent. I feel bad for the voice artist having to perform the book this way, and her lack of passion for this book was clear from her painful performance.
Please, just avoid this book. The description made it sounds so promising, but it is nothing more than the worst hack-kneed attempt at history-meets-romance done by an eleven year old. I've never wanted a credit back from Audible so much. As well as bleach to erase the whole experience of this from my brain.