House of Bathory

House of Bathory

by Linda Lafferty

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781477808641
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 01/07/2014
Pages: 461
Sales rank: 562,796
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 5.50(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

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 also the author of The Bloodletter's Daughter. She lives in Colorado.

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House of Bathory 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
eternalised More than 1 year ago
House of Bathory was a mixed read for me. There were parts of the book that I absolutely loved, and other parts that I disliked. To recap the plot, part of the novel happens in 1610, the age when Elizabeth Bathory lived, who also happens to be one of the main cast of characters for this book. I’m sure the Countess needs no introduction (and if she does, you should really google her, if you’re a history fan, or love scary stories, or bloody legends). Anyway, the other part happens in 2010, and talks about Betsy, a psychiatrist, and her patient, Daisy. Betsy inherited her love for psychology from her Dad, who was quite famous in the field. He passed away several years ago, and she’s still very shaken up about it, since he was her best friend and always looked out for her. From Eastern European descent, Betsy’s parents have always had a strange bond with that part of Europe. Her Mom even teaches history classes on the subject, and, at the start of the book, is working on a new book about Countess Bathory, when she goes missing. Betsy’s patient, Daisy, is a Goth girl who has several issues she can barely talks about, and who connects instantly with Jung and his philosophy, the moment Betsy shows her one of his books. Daisy believes in shared dreaming and intuition, and when she gets the feeling something bad will happen to Betsy while she tries to find her mother in Eastern Europe, she instantly books a ticket as well. Now, let’s start with the good. There’s plenty of history, geography and pscyhology thrown in, which I always enjoy. The writing is okay, even though it drags here and there. The book could’ve done with about fifty pages cut – it’s pretty big, at 537 pages, andI don’t think it needs all of those. Often there’s wordiness, or passages are dragged on, while other times it seems to rush without reason. Betsy makes a likeable character. She’s a scholar, she’s still obsessed over her father’s passing, apart from her patients, she has little else going on in her life. While likeable, this did make her quite boring. She ended her marriage to a guy named John several years ago, but calls upon him now, when her Mom goes missing. There’s zero passion between both characters. There may be love, but otherwise, they kind of act like family more than two potential partners. Betsy isn’t adventurous at all, she has no hobbies we’re aware of, no strange quirks, nada. Apart from being a psychologist, there’s little else to her. Daisy is more interesting. She’s Goth, looking for a deeper meaning in life, and severely traumatized after something that happened in her past. She instantly feels a connection to Betsy, and isn’t afraid to act on instinct, so she’s got that going for her. However, her sister Morgan, was more intriguing, and she got a lot less space time. Morgan was mysterious – an enigma, which I sensed the moment she walked into Betsy’s office. If the book had evolved around her more, I probably would’ve liked it better. The secondary cast is basically just meh. They have no personality – they’re there to fill pages and add extra storylines. Like, Daisy meets some kid while hanging out in the snow, and he only makes one other appearance in the book, while at first it looks like he may be important for the plot. John tagging along with Betsy seems important too, at first, but then proves to be almost useless (until maybe at the end, but then again, not sure there). Her mother, Grace, has no distinctive personality traits, and rates only slightly more interesting than her daughter, simply because she had a prophetic dream once, and is obsessed with Eastern Europe and history. The plot was decent, and if some questions hadn’t left unanswered, it could’ve even been great. But there were so many unanswered questions, or stupid responses to some of them, at the end of the book that I almost wanted to stop reading. I don’t want to spoil this for anyone, so don’t read past her if you don’t want any spoilers. The spoiler is in brackets. (By the end, I’d expected there’d be some weird connection between Daisy and Betsy. Like, maybe Daisy was the reincarnation of Elizabeth Bathory, or maybe her sister was, and that’s how they were connected, since Betsy was a descendant from the Bathory’s. Unfortunately, nothing like that happened, and there’s still no explanation why Daisy dreamed about Bathory’s castle, the walls bathing in blood, or why she connected to Betsy like that. On top of that, Daisy’s sister looks almost exactly like Elizabeth Bathory, so it would make sense if she was her reincarnation, then. But no. Again, no real link – then how or why are they involved?) People also seem to turn up at the most random places for the most random reasons. The villain’s plan is predictable, and it would’ve been a lot more intriguing if some supernatural elements were actually involved. From the synopsis, I kind of gathered there would be, but reading it again, I’m not sure why I thought that. Either way, if you’re looking for something supernatural, you won’t find it here. Some other things annoyed me. Why talk about Elizabeth Bathory if you’re not going to let the Countess herself do the talking? We meet Zuzuna, a servant girl, and Janos, the horse master, but neither of them is awfully interesting. I would’ve much preferred to see the countess’ view point. At least every now and then, especially if we’re going to headhop from one character to another anyway. Then comes how literally they’ve held on to the Bathory legend here. I don’t mind this interpretation at all, but I doubt Elizabeth Bathory was truly the bloodthirsty countess the world has deemed her to be. There are interesting discussions on the top all over the academic world (and all over the internet, too) and I’ve always firlmy believed that, while the legend may be the most interesting brought to literature or movies, the more down-to-earth logic of a possible conspiracy against her, since she was the wealthiest woman of Europea, and the king of Hungary had a giant debt to be paid to her, had a lot more chances of being true.
archetype67 More than 1 year ago
Lafferty's novel was a pleasant surprise. I listened / read somewhat unsure if the plot — a dual time period piece — was going to be good, as my experience with such plots has not always been great. I found myself as equally engaged with both storylines, and I found both to be equally well researched. The historical plot is the story of the Countess Erzebet Bathory, an infamous female serial killer 1600's Slovakia. While not the most known story, I found it as chilling as any of the more well know stories of horrible individuals. Bathory was found guilty of murdering serving girls (some estimates as high as 650) and bathing in blood (she said it help to retain her beauty and youth.) The history is stranger than fiction, and is the origin of some vampire stories, yet Lafferty does a good job at showing her insanity, the fear of those around her, and the political complexities of bringing her to justice.  Additional to that story is the contemporary story of an Jungian Psychoanalyst who has followed in her famous fathers' footsteps but seems discontent with her practice. Her father had died some years before and her relationship with her mother is strained. Betsy Pathe takes on a new client, Daisy, a teenage goth girl who is having unexplained choking episodes. Daisy opens up, mostly because she gets fascinated by Jung's theories, but Betsy's mother disappears in Slovakia while researching Erzabeth Bathory, forcing Betsy to suspend Daisy's sessions. Betsy and her ex-husband go look for her mother and in the US, Daisy sees someone break into Betsy's office, and eventually sees someone digging up Betsy's father's grave. Daisy discovers a ledger of names and is worried about Betsy, based on dreams and feelings. In what seems like a patient over-identifying with their therapist, she ends up running off to Slovakia, where a descendant of the countess, whom we learn, was treated by Betsy's father may be responsible for the disappearance and murder of local girls from Goth clubs, has kidnapped Betsy's mother in hopes of regaining the ledger. As the connections and parallels between the historical and contemporary story build, and the connections between the characters themselves become clear, the tension and pace increase. The contemporary story does a good job explaining some of Jung's theories and gives us not one, but two psychotic characters. There are two characters who are struggling with repressed memories and a strained relationship, and two characters who feel they have nothing in common and don't understand each other, and all of them have a host of hurt that no one talks about. The historical story does a decent job of painting a detailed world of the time and setting, and the characters are well done. (I listened to the audiobook for a significant portion of the book and I found it helped with the unfamiliar names, and the narrator did well with the accents to convey a sense of the rhythm and sounds of the language.) The contemporary characters were sympathetic and well rounded.  While the coincidences were contextualized by placing them in light of Jung's theory of Synchronicity (the idea that there are meaningful coincidences that are indicative of the collective unconscious or subconscious connections to others or places or dreams etc. and are not coincidental at all) but I did find it straining credibility in a few places.  Overall, it was a good read... and the Bathory antagonists were suitably frightening in their psychosis.
LinkzillaMom More than 1 year ago
An amazing historical fiction horror novel An amazing, horrifying story about the notorious Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Having just finished the book, I am still in shock over how evil a person can be, and how much horror they can inflict on other people. I recommend this book for readers 18+ who enjoy historical fiction, but it could also very much be seen as a horror novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm only about 180 pages in, but I love this book. It's creepy. I love creepy!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Linda Lafferty's descriptions are clever, vivid and well-written, which coupled with an array of rich characters, make this story the page-turner that it is. Apparently, she put a great deal of time and energy into research, which makes the setting to snug with the time and place, making the story even more believable. The pacing is good too, which reminds me of Triple Agent Double Cross, and Water for Elephants. Basically, House of Bathory seduced me.
ABookishGirlBlog More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, with a mix of the modern and the historical, the House of Bathory, had me on the edge of my seat (well it was my bed but you know what I mean)!  The parallels between Zuzana and Betsy's are wide in respect to their situations in life but the ending shows the similarities between their fates, luckily Betsy survives hers but Zuzana gives the ultimate sacrifice against evil.  Zuzana by far was my favorite character not only did she struggle through her disfigurement but she worked and lived amongst pure evil as best as she could.  The relationship between Betsy (therapist) and Daisy (her patient) is extremely well written, I felt the tension and strangeness that would be present in any therapist/patient relationship that goes beyond the office, it is a true writer who can make the reader feel the same emotions as the characters. Add this all together with an evil Countess that soaks in the blood of her victims and you got an amazing read!