House of Bathory: Book summary and reviews of House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty

House of Bathory

By Linda Lafferty

House of Bathory
  • Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jan 2014,
    486 pages.

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Book Summary

In the early 1600s, Elizabeth Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess, ruled Cachtice Castle in the hinterlands of Slovakia. During bizarre nightly rites, she tortured and killed the young women she had taken on as servants. A devil, a demon, the terror of Royal Hungary - she bathed in their blood to preserve her own youth.

400 years later, echoes of the Countess's legendary brutality reach Aspen, Colorado. Betsy Path, a psychoanalyst of uncommon intuition, has a breakthrough with sullen teenager Daisy Hart. Together, they are haunted by the past, as they struggle to understand its imprint upon the present. Betsy and her troubled but perceptive patient learn the truth: the curse of the House of Bathory lives still and has the power to do evil even now.

The story, brimming with palace intrigue, memorable characters intimately realized, and a wealth of evocative detail, travels back and forth between the familiar, modern world and a seventeenth-century Eastern Europe brought startlingly to life.

Inspired by the actual crimes of Elizabeth Báthory, The House of Bathory is another thrilling historical fiction from Linda Lafferty (The Bloodletter's Daughter and The Drowning Guard). The novel carries readers along with suspense and the sweep of historical events both repellent and fascinating.

Inspired by the actual crimes of Elizabeth Báthory, The House of Bathory is another thrilling historical fiction from Linda Lafferty (The Bloodletter's Daughter and The Drowning Guard). The novel carries readers along with suspense and the sweep of historical events both repellent and fascinating.

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Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Julia A. (New York, NY)
A good premise gone slightly awry
I was excited at the thought of "House of Bathory." The idea of weaving two story lines that happened 400 years apart, and adding in Jungian analysis and historical research appealed to my reading tastes. For the most part, Lafferty succeeds, but at times the shifting back and forth between plot lines gets a bit confusing. This did detract from my overall enjoyment. I liked the Betsy-Daisy (and its closely associated Grace line, that helps unify the other two story lines) better than the gruesome Countess of Bathory history.

I commend Lafferty for her research, and for the creation of Daisy, my favorite among the characters. It was also personally exciting for me to read the scene set in my beloved Rubin Museum here in New York City. To find that in novel mainly set in Colorado and Slovakia was a surprise. The novel is long, perhaps overly so, but fans of psychological drama and of historical fiction will find that their interest is held. I certainly did, in spite of my distaste for the Countess.

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Sherri A. (Westbrook, CT)
Stick to historical fiction Linda, please
This novel had such promise in the beginning-I was intrigued by the 17th century setting, a mention of a baby as a taltos...promises to come. And then the present day intruded. I found the 21st century characters flat and unbelievable, and wondered why the author felt the need to describe Daisy's "long canine" at least ten times, without ever developing that line...oh well. Perhaps that storyline went into the recycle bin along with the taltos. Yes, she did allude to it, but never developed it in any way.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Annie P. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
House of Bathory
A brutal 17th century countess in the 21st century? Linda Lafferty has captured how evil can transcend time in the House of Bathory. A fact-based historical novel that takes us from 1600 Slovakia to present-day Colorado to meet Betty Path and Daisy Hart. A novel of suspense, intrigue and a curse.

I liked especially the historical side, although I thought Lafferty did a very good job of alternating between the times. Her characters were well-developed and she made the plot a real burner! It's difficult to believe that a human being could be so cruel to others, but history has proven it time and again. This would make a heck of a movie!

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Annie P
House of Bathory
A brutal 17th century countess in the 21st century? Linda Lafferty has captured how evil can transcend time in the House of Bathory. A fact-based historical novel that takes us from 1600 Slovakia to present-day Colorado to meet Betty Path and Daisy Hart. A novel of suspense, intrigue and a curse.

I liked especially the historical side, although I thought Lafferty did a very good job of alternating between the times. Her characters were well-developed and she made the plot a real burner! It’s difficult to believe that a human being could be so cruel to others, but history has proven it time and again. This would make a heck of a movie!

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Elizabeth M. (Syracuse, NY)
Vampire Mystery
Prior to reading this book I had not heard of Countess Erzsebete Bathory, but when I mentioned the name to other people they had heard of this evil historical woman. This story alternates chapters between a modern and historical story. The historical story tells of how Countess Bathory, who lived in the 1600s in an area that is now Slovakia, tortured women she lured to the castle in order to bathe in their blood and the political factors that led to her not being publicly tried for those crimes. The modern story is a mystery that concerns a young woman named Daisy who becomes enmeshed in a mystery with her therapist, after her therapist's mother is kidnapped.
The shorty chapters and quick pace of the story made this book, which is around 500 pages move very quickly. I enjoyed the insights that the character of the therapist brings to the story, with her examination of the world through a Jungian lens. I learned some things I did not know about Jung.
On the negative side, the author's characterization of Daisy as a "Goth" felt like it was written by someone who didn't really know what the term meant and every time there was a tangent to explore Daisy's Gothness the story lagged.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in historical fiction as well as anyone who wants a Vampire story that involves evil vampires, not sparkly sexy ones.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Martha D. (Poway, CA)
An entertaining read
If I could have given 4 1/2 stars I would. Taking half a star away for what seemed like a rushed ending.

I have actually heard of Bathory before and found her story very interesting (boy, be a woman with power way back when and did they talk smack about you-wait, not much different than today).

I loved the historical fiction take on Bathory story and I'm a fan of cliffhanger ending chapters so this book just moved right along for me. I'm not a real vampire/zombie fan but this kept me intrigued the whole way through.

I'll be looking for more by Linda Lafferty very soon.

...19 more reader reviews

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Author Information

Linda Lafferty Author Biography

The daughter of a naval commander, Linda Lafferty attended fourteen different schools growing up, ultimately graduating from the University of Colorado with a master's degree and a PhD in education. Her peripatetic childhood nourished a lifelong love of travel, and she studied abroad in England, France, Mexico, and Spain. Her uncle introduced her to the sport of polo when she was just ten years old, and she enjoys playing to this day. She also competed on the Lancaster University Riding Team in England in stadium jumping, cross country, and dressage. A veteran school educator, she is the author of The Bloodletter's Daughter and The Drowning Guard. She lives in Colorado.

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