Rated of 5
by Bette C. (Taunton, MA) The Bloodletter's Daughter
The Bloodletter's Daughter sets the stage with a mad prince and a (not so) simple maid. It has everything you could want in an historical fairy tale, the prince, the maid, a forbidding castle and a situation fraught with all sorts of dangers, both moral and physical. The first several chapters live up to the premise with the introduction of several interesting characters and the plot that moves forward at a brisk pace. Unfortunately somewhere around half-way the book looses its way. The characters behave, well, out of character, the smart one does stupid things, the slightly sinister one does benevolent things, strange scenes that appear to have no bearing on the plot show up and then are never mentioned again, and in general the story square dances around until its hard to keep track of what is going on and who is important to the plot. I find that I am always more disappointed with a book that starts out strong and really grabs my imagination and then fails to live up to its early promise I always feel the need to find that early promise again when I should just put it down.
Rated of 5
by Patricia L. (Seward, AK) Old World Chicanery
The title of Linda Lafferty's book Bloodletter's Daughter gives a clear picture of what will be found in its pages. Early 1600 in Bohemia, using leeches to suck the bloody bad humors from the human body, a barber doctor attempts to treat a "mad" prince. With his young daughter as an able assistant they naively seek to correct the royal's behavior. Don Julius, the violent prince; Marketa, the smart daughter and Annabella, the neighborhood witch along with priests, doctors and memorable characters from the old world community are woven into a tapestry as colorful, confounding and mysterious as the bewitching imagery in the Coded Book of Wonder, the source of the prince's "bad humors."
This book readily draws in the reader and keeps him/her turning the pages until the end. Recommended for a long winter weekend.
Rated of 5
by Dianne F. (Saint Helena, CA) A great read
This book had me hooked from start to finish. I really enjoyed reading about the Hapsburgs and the history of that time period. The way the author wove the characters into that historical time period was very believable and fascinating. I would highly recommend this book to our book club.
Rated of 5
by Linda M. (Lititz, PA) The Bloodletter's Daughter
Amazing historical fiction read. If you are a lover of historical fiction, which I am, this is the book for you. I learned so much from this book about the Ottman Time Frame in history (1600's). This was a time period that glanced over in my history classes in school so I was in for a real treat with the amount of research that this author has supplied for the book. It is based on a little known true story of the rulers of that time, part of the Hapsburg Monarchy. There were medical issues with the family that the Royal Doctor treated and when the patient was moved to a part of the empire far from the city of Prague he had to rely on the local barber/bloodletter to treat him. Bloodletting was one way of treating certain diseases if you were wealthy enough. The poorer folks relied on herbs and natural offerings they could easily gather from the earth. The Bloodletter's daughter tells the story of the local bloodletter's daughter, Marketa who was interested in the study of science like her father but could never be more than his assistant because in that time females were not allowed to study or learn. She was considered ahead of her time because she was taught to read and write which was something only the more wealthy and schooled males knew how to do. I had a hard time putting the book down, reading through most of the night sometimes. It is something I will remember and go back to again to read.
Rated of 5
by Kay D. (Strongsville, Ohio) Bohemian History and Legend All Together
I selected this book since my heritage is Bohemian and I was drawn to the potential of learning some history of my ancestors. Although a bit of a slow start, within the first 100 pages I was drawn into the story and the characters and found it hard to put the book down. I really enjoyed the short chapters, as I usually end up reading in bits. It was easy to pick the story back up each time. Loved the way the author took liberty and expanded the interest of the main character, Marketa to include her attraction to medicine and healing, even though that was beyond the reach of women of the time. A good book for those who like historical fiction. Don't be put off by the length - a fast read.
Rated of 5
by Gail L. (Cypress, TX) Interesting but mediocre read
I would categorize this book as historical fiction/folklore set in 1600 Bohemia. I did enjoy the story, especially the details about early medicine and science. The writing was bland and immature at times but the story and characters held my attention.The book is simply not very exciting!
I like the idea of it being based on a true story/myth, and I liked the ending although it was not a surprise. The author does provide a glimpse into religion and politics of the time.
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