Lori L. (La Porte, IN)
Bohemian Bodice Ripper
For lovers of historical fiction, The Bloodletter's Daughter provides a fascinating glimpse into life in the late 16th early 17th century Bohemia during the reign of the Hapsburg family. Alternating between the melancholy Emperor Rudolf, his mad eldest son Don Julius, and the ambitious brother of the Emperor, soldier Matthias, the author sets the stage for the story of Marketa Pichlerova, the intelligent daughter of the village barber surgeon. Due to her gender and beauty, it is assumed that Marketa will join her mother in business at their bathhouse, providing a good soak and "little something extra" to the local businessmen and travelers. Marketa rebels against this future, yearning to become a physician. I found that her ambition and insight somewhat stretched the bounds of credibility, for example, as she explains to her mother that someday science will explain the mysteries of illness, etc. It is unlikely that girls in her remote village, without the benefit of formal education, and under the sway of the Catholic Church would have much to say about science, let alone expressing views that would challenge the status quo in such a way. A little too much of a "bodice ripper" at times, this book did hold my attention and I wanted to see what happened next. I would give it 3.5 stars.