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219 Reviews
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel....
Linda Lafferty's first novel, "The Bloodletter's Daughter", is an excellent, if not slightly too long, book that takes the reader back to the early 17th century in Bohemia. I picked the book as a Vine choice last month because of the time and setting. Lafferty writes her story in a time where religion and politics played an equal part in people's lives. The Habsburg's...
Published on 10 Sept. 2012 by Jill Meyer

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather simplistic and two-dimensional
I tried to keep reading this after the first few chapters but feel that a) the writing is clichéd and unengaging, and b) the characters are not believable. The main character's purity of thought and action, and desire to escape her circumstances, are flagged up so often, and so unsubtly, that the writer might as well stand by with a mallet beating the reader over...
Published 17 months ago by 6363Sandra


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather simplistic and two-dimensional, 28 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
I tried to keep reading this after the first few chapters but feel that a) the writing is clichéd and unengaging, and b) the characters are not believable. The main character's purity of thought and action, and desire to escape her circumstances, are flagged up so often, and so unsubtly, that the writer might as well stand by with a mallet beating the reader over the head at regular intervals so that the point is not lost. It's easy to be critical when I'm not a writer myself, but still I failed to engage with this novel and have, most unusually, given up in the attempt.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice idea, shame about the writing., 4 Sept. 2013
By 
A (Et In Arcadia Ego) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
This is one of those books where you spend the whole time shouting at the author. The prose style was tantalizingly good for a page or two, then something went horribly wrong and a school prefect took hold of the pen and wrote what could have been a good story, in a style that lacked warmth, personality and charm. The way that the story was told was often implausible. I was left asking myself "So there's a bath house that is also a notorious brothel, but no one really treats it like a brothel, and they are between prostitutes at the moment because the protagonist won't allow herself to be prostituted out, but when they are back in part-time business as a brothel they will make themselves seem less brothel like by not trying to cover up their trade or servicing their clients in complete privacy. Why am I meant to believe that this is plausible?"

Personally I feel that Amazon have let their author down. A strong development editor could have helped her to develop a more compelling narrative voice (possibly) and could have been stricter with her about the internal logic of the world she was creating. They could also have got her to write down a list of her characters motivations, and then made her stick to them.
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91 of 97 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) Madness, medicine and murder, 23 Sept. 2012
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
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Set between 1606-1608 in Bohemia, this is an entertaining though rather uncomplicated story of madness, lust, obsession, and murder.

On the plus side, this is told in a clear and vivid fashion, and the history is smoothed out to be immediately accessible and understandable to readers who might know nothing about seventeenth century Europe.

On the not so positive side, however, there are various flaws in the book: it's too long, for one, and everything unrolls in a very slow fashion. Some of the writing is laughably clichéd: girls are `sweet and defenceless', men are `beasts'; men `roar' when they're angry, villains `snicker' quite a lot. Our heroine, in typical popular historical novel fashion, has modern career ambitions and wants to be a doctor.

My biggest irritation is the familiar use of contemporary Americanisms (`fall' for autumn, the ubiquitous `gotten') which destroy any historical atmosphere; and linguistic anachronisms which jarred me immediately out of the seventeenth century - particularly noticeable are a coarse slang word for semen which doesn't come into use in this sense until 1890, men who are described as `randy' (not in use till 1961), and - my favourite - `she pulled off his pants and folded them'... err, not in 1606 she didn't.

Not everyone will be bothered by things like this, I know, but they served to destroy the atmosphere and illusion of the seventeenth century that the narrative was at pains to build. So a mixed response from me: at heart, there is an entertaining read here, no literary masterpiece but a colourful and interesting story - 3.5 stars.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel...., 10 Sept. 2012
By 
Jill Meyer (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
Linda Lafferty's first novel, "The Bloodletter's Daughter", is an excellent, if not slightly too long, book that takes the reader back to the early 17th century in Bohemia. I picked the book as a Vine choice last month because of the time and setting. Lafferty writes her story in a time where religion and politics played an equal part in people's lives. The Habsburg's ruled Bohemia as part of their empire but possession of the land, and that of Hungary to the south, was contested by the oft-invading Ottoman Turks. Also, though the predominant religion was Catholic, the various Protestant faiths had made inroads in central Europe. The Thirty Years War would begin in 1618, a direct result of the religious contention within the Holy Roman Empire, and leave the area in ruins through warfare and disease.

"The Bloodletter's Daughter" is set in the real village of Cesky Krumlov in 1606. The mad, illegitimate son of the Habsburg emperor Rudolf II - himself considered extremely eccentric - was imprisoned by his father in the castle overlooking the village. Don Julius was considered insane - today maybe he'd be seen as bi-polar - and his manic phases constituted a danger to himself and those around him. Locked away in the castle, he was being treated by his father's doctors and priests, primarily through "bleeding" Julius with leeches. Relieving the humours, they thought, would relieve his manic actions. The bloodletter's daughter, Marketa, was a local beauty who also wanted to learn medicine and was her father's assistant in his practice. Since she was also her her mother's assistant at the family's village bathhouse, she was also quite conversant with anatomy.

Linda Lafferty is quite knowledgeable about the politics of the time. The on-going familial strife between Rudolf and his younger brother, Matthias, who aspired to the crown of the (legitimate) childless Rudolf. Rudolf had hidden himself away in his Prague castle, content to immerse himself in the study of the occult and the collecting of strange and wondrous "things".

Lafferty's book was a hard one to rate with stars. I don't know if the book would appeal to a wide range of readers because of it's subject. But that's not a reason to knock off a star from a 5 star rating. I would just advise the reader looking at all the book's reviews to think hard about sitting down for 500 pages of Bohemia, the practice of medicine and of the dark arts, and Habsburg politics. I certainly enjoyed it, but I merely caution others.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars dunidoit, 29 April 2013
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This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
Storyline ok, American grammar and spelling sometimes out of place and incorrect use of words. Would not read again, sorry.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Total rubbish read, 9 Sept. 2013
By 
P. Elkins (spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
It was such rubbish I just had to keep reading to see if it got any better. It didn't! It was like a gushing schoolgirl fantasy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seemed abit slow, 2 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
Love the history aspect and all the descriptions of the monastery but felt the plot dragged a little bit for me
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read, 11 Aug. 2013
By 
M. Parker "M Parker" (Cambridge England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
Maybe it's me, but I got tired of this story about halfway through. I have kept it to read again at some time in the future.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Historical research 5* entertainment value 3*, 22 Oct. 2012
By 
JK "J. K." (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a novel of two parts. The historical research and scene setting are great. Linda Lafferty has a real talent and has bought 17th century Bohemia to life. Her scenes in the bathhouse are steamy, in more ways than one, as the heat of filthy male bodies mingles with the smell of sweet herbs and ale. There's such a strong sense of reality surrounding the place, the people, the era but; the characterisations are weak and, in places, the plot breaks away from it's origins and becomes more of a bodice ripper than a fiction based on fact. I had the feeling all of the history had been carefully, meticulously, gathered together then, for some unknown reason, thrown into the most convenient plot possible. The difference between the historical research and the raunchy, shallow plot are massively at odds with one another and, unfortunately, it shows. Maybe that's because it goes on for too long. At 512 pages this is something of an epic and possibly padded out too much, for example:- the subject of Marketa's virginity recurs over and over, then over and over, then over and over.....it's so repetitive, I found myself flipping the pages and thinking "not again!!!". I wanted to enjoy The Bloodletter's Daughter and, in parts, it's a great read but I'm 50/50.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A nice read, 3 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: The Bloodletter's Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia) (Kindle Edition)
Some interesting twists in tale towards end but nothing too sensational. Story based upon a folktale with embellishment from author.
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