Monday, February 24, 2014

House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty

Release Date: January 14, 2014
Publisher: Amazon Publishing

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Dr. Betsy Path has her hands full with her latest patient, sullen teen and Goth extraordinaire, Daisy Hart. Despite her best efforts, Dr. Path was unable to have any type of breakthrough until she was in the midst of her own personal crisis. The two lives became entwined as a series of unexpected events led them halfway around the world and explored the ramifications of history 400 years earlier.

Secrets from the pasts of both Dr. Path and Daisy played a crucial role in the continuing legacy of Elizabeth Bathory, one of the most prolific killers in history. While in Slovakia at the very castle in which a majority of evil deeds were committed, Betsy learned the truth behind her father's cryptic messages and found that sometimes it pays for life to be a bit logical.

I was able to read a copy through NetGalley and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. This was my first time reading anything by Linda Lafferty, something that I will look into rectifying as soon as I'm able. The author did a great job weaving together events that happen 400 years apart. Though it did get a little confusing at times (especially when I forgot to read the small bit of information at the start of each chapter), I was able to find my way in the story with little difficulty.

The author had a great many layers to her novel. From the legends surrounding an actual figure in history to incorporating Carl Jung's writings and methods of psychoanalysis, they all became as threads woven in a tapestry and revealed how interconnected human life can really be - even in the modern day. I loved that the author took the time to write what life might have been like living under Countess Elizabeth Bathory's rule. It was a departure from simply taking the historical information available and interjecting it throughout the modern side of the story. Instead, the world of Bathory came alive and shared the richness of the colors, the sharpness of its smells and the lingering tang of fear in air.

After a slow start, the pacing of the story picked up and continued steadily until the end. In fact, I'd say there were a few places where it seemed a little rushed but with the events unfolding, it was plausible to be moving at a faster rate. When it came to the characters, I felt more of a connection with those in the 1600s than with the main character and others from modern times. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the other characters. The cast as a whole were well-rounded and seemed to have enough personality differences to keep them from running together.

The only drawbacks I found with the book were small ones. As I mentioned previously, I felt like some of the moments were rushed and that left some explanations for things by the wayside. For example, there is a Bathory cousin who devotes himself entirely to Elizabeth's memory and yet there's no reason to explain why other than he's mentally ill. There was an attempted explanation within a letter left by Betsy's father, but it never conclusively mentioned a source of the obsession. Some decisions made by a few characters seemed off somehow such as Daisy and Kyle's meeting and his character not adding much to the story other than to fill a plot hole.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. It was a fairly good mixture of past and present that kept me turning pages to find out what was going to happen. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction and this novel genuinely reflected that notion within its pages. If you're looking for a great way to spend a few night's wrapped in legend and family struggles, this is the book for you.

House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty is currently available at many retailers. It can be purchase in paperback, Kindle and audio-book formats at Amazon by clicking the link below.
House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty

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