[simpleazon-image align=”left” asin=”1612184650″ locale=”us” height=”500″ src=”http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZAB22iXwL.jpg” width=”334″][simpleazon-link asin=”1612184650″ locale=”us”]The Bloodletter’s Daughter (A Novel of Old Bohemia)[/simpleazon-link] by Linda Lafferty
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I stopped at page 170 because I simply couldn’t read anymore of this book. At first glance, it was interesting, even captivating, so I kept reading. It was too salacious for my tastes, but that isn’t why I gave it one star and stopped reading. The characters were caricatures or stereotypes; the writing was rife with cliche’; the dialogue was stilted, and the descriptions unimaginative. If the author did thorough research of the time period (early 17th century), it didn’t show. She didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t already learned in school. Granted, I didn’t get past 170 pages, so I can’t say unequivocally that the book doesn’t go into more depth. But at a whopping 514 pages, it required a time commitment that I stopped being willing to make. A book that long better be a quality book because it is asking a lot from the reader. I’m afraid that this book didn’t even come close to being worth it, at least not for me.
This title was chosen by my book club, and I must note that I appear to be in the minority in my opinion. Several members enjoyed the book especially when they learned that it was based on actual historical events. “Nothing beats a bunch of blood,” noted one enthusiastic reader. A few noted that the book improved after about the point that I gave up on it. However, I stand by my original view in that if I hate a book after 170 pages, I’m not going to give it over 300 more pages of my time. With depth added to the characters and better writing all around, this book could have been good. The material from which the author drew her inspiration was certainly fascinating. I noted that those that loved the book seemed actually to love the historical events behind it, or at least that was where most of the discussion centered (i.e. the lack of proper treatment or understanding of mental illness in the 1600s, the more cavalier attitudes toward sex, the interest in survival overriding any sense of decency and family values – at least as we view them today).
From the discussion, my overall conclusion is that a reader’s time might be better spent reading an actual historical account of Don Julius and Prague in 1606 and the murder that transpired than to read this particular fictional treatment of the subject.