(19) House of Bathory

Title: House of Bathory by Linda Lafferty
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
486 pages
Genre: Historical mystery

Synopsis: In the early 1600s, Elizabeth Báthory, the infamous Blood Countess, ruled Čachtice 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.

Review: I am fascinated by Elizabeth Bathory and her twisted mind, and her horrific crimes. Apparently so are many many others as this book is a great mix of historical fact and fiction mixed together.  Alternating between modern time and the 1600's this story tells the history of Elizabeth Bathory and her twisted desire for eternal youth, and the more modern story of a young girl with a twisted past trying to make sense of the strange dreams she is having and the therapist who may have a connection to the Bathory legend.

The characters are well developed and compelling although I did have a pet peeve with the whole Goth thing.  Betsy's patient Daisy is Goth, and Lafferty's description of Goths and their lives etc are a bit off and not quite what you usually find when meeting one.  But despite this I found that Linda Lafferty has woven a great story blending past and present and how things may all be connected.  There is a lot of information on Carl Jung and his controversial Red Book and a peak into his therapeutic style but the real story unfolds around Elizabeth Bathory, her connection to a Hungarian Count and reincarnation.

I found this book highly enjoyable and I will look into other books by Lafferty in the future.