Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Bloodletter's Daughter: A Novel of Old Bohemia” as Want to Read:
The Bloodletter's Daughter: A Novel of Old Bohemia
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Bloodletter's Daughter: A Novel of Old Bohemia

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  13,368 Ratings  ·  1,187 Reviews
Within the glittering Hapsburg court in Prague lurks a darkness of which no one dares speak...

In 1606, the city of Prague shines as a golden mecca of art and culture carefully cultivated by Emperor Rudolf II. But the emperor hides an ugly secret: his bastard son, Don Julius, is afflicted with a madness that pushes the young prince to unspeakable depravity. Desperate to ste
Paperback, 512 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Lake Union Publishing (first published 2012)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Bloodletter's Daughter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Bloodletter's Daughter

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Anne Hawn Smith
Aug 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read several negative reviews on this book, but I found it to be fascinating. I just didn’t see the stylistic problems noted by some others. The author’s words did not get in the way of a gripping tale of history and madness.

I checked on the internet to see what was known about the historical figures and found that the book followed what I read. I thought the character of Marketa, bloodletter's daughter, to be very well drawn. She was an inexperienced young girl and the fact that she misunders
Oct 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
This really was one of the most poorly written books I've ever read. The dialogue between characters is clunky and inauthentic. I imagine the author was trying to keep with the times and how people may have spoken then, but it read more like a Harlequin romance novel - and one that needed heavy editing at that.

The descriptions of people, places, and things were so numerous and repetitive that it stalled any sense of the story progressing. I mean, how many times do you need to describe what rain
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessi Page
Oct 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Bloodletter's Daughter is an amazing read. I stayed up for a few very late nights totally engrossed in this book. The novel is a fictionalize account of Marketa Pichlerova's life as a bathmaid and assistant to her Barber/Bloodletter father in Bohemia in the early 1600's. Don Julius was the eldest son of Emperor Rudolf II. He was said to suffer serious mental illness that made him violent and impulsive. After ravaging Prague and threatening his father's crown he was sent away to the Bohemian ...more
Jade Lopert
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Ward
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
I don't remember how I got sucked into reading this book. Maybe it was recommended on Kindle by some people who were friends of the author who raved that they could not put it down. While it was a mindless and easy read, I regret having spent the time to plug through it when so many quality books are begging me to read them. Reading this book did give me some encouragement, though... If she can write like she did and be successful, then maybe there is hope for me yet if I ever decide to give wri ...more
Aug 11, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a very interesting book that I absolutely devoured. Well, I don't keep reading books that don't hold my attention to the point of devouring it, but still.

What was really interesting to me here was the main character's struggle in society because she was a woman. She could not do what she so longed to do; she had to work in a role that so petty deemed fit for a woman, despite it not being what she wanted.

I did not realize until reading the questionnaire with the author at the end that
Night Goddess
Dec 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I just finished the Bloodletter's Daughter and I have to admit I quite enjoyed the historically based story of the mad prince's obsession with a bath maid. I would have enjoyed this book regardless, but it was made all the better because it was based on a true story. I felt a mixture of pity and hate towards the mad bastard prince Don Julius and my heart broke for Marketa, who was the focus of his obsession. Mental illness is never pretty but I can't imagine what it must have been like back in t ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The time is 1599 (though most of the story unfolds beginning in 1605). The place, Prague (and Cesky Krumlov, and Vienna). This rich story about a melancholy king's young, mad son Don Julius and the common (not really) bathmaid, Marketa, who also works with her father, the bloodletter, to help him, doesn't have a dull moment.

The story is easy to follow but has depth and range - the secondary characters (Matthias, King Rudolph's brother, who is anxious to take the crown; Annabella, the red-haired
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! The unique setting immediately caught my attention - Bohemia in the early 1600s, under the Hapsburgs made for a fascinating read. I only wish that it had been published earlier in the year so that I could have taken it with me to Prague! The book reminded me - with the inclusion of the history of medicine and the art of bloodletting, a bit of The Hangman’s Daughter, but this was not only a more enjoyable read, but the writing itself is much, much stronger and more c ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Set in the 1600s Bohemia, this historically based novel tells the tale of King Rudolph II's mad son and his infatuation and obsession with Mareta a bathmaid and daughter of the bloodletter (barber surgeon) in a small village. The plot had quite a lot of promise, unfortunately I found the writing stilted and somewhat immature. Although, I will say the historical setting was interesting and got me interested in a time period I know very little about. The background seems to be well researched. The ...more
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have a huge collection of Kindle daily deals. I have decided that I every other book I read must be one of my daily deals. This, The Bloodletter's Daughter by Lina Lafferty was my first daily deal after reaching that decision. What a wonderful way to start off.
Even though I probably would have never chosen this book if it hadn't been a daily deal, I usually don't read books taking place in the 1600's, I completely enjoyed it.

It is the story of Slecna Marketa Pichlerova a bathmaid and the blo
Kagama-the Literaturevixen
Mar 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
A misery read

This book is based about a true story about Don Julius the illegitemate son of Emperor Rudolf II Don Julius was mentally unstable and was banished to a castle. Where he got involved with a commoners daughter. In "The bloodletters daughter" she is our main character,Marketa.

Marketa is as the title states the daughter of a bloodletter,her father Pichler a transient presence in her mothers establishment a bathing house that is also a brothel.Its expected that Marketa will become a pros
 Simply Sam ツ
I think I listened to this one out of sheer morbid curiosity. I found it pretty interesting, truth be told. The way the "doctors" practiced their medicine, their attitude towards mental illness, just the lifestyle of the time and place in general was pretty fascinating to me. Most fascinating, though, is the realization that this book is inspired by true events (though this is a fictionalized recount of those events.) I also liked the author's simple style. In a time period where many were not l ...more
Lori Anderson
Oct 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
I have absolutely no idea how I ran across this book on the Kindle -- but I'm glad I did!

It's the early 1600's, in Prague and Bohemia. Emperor Rudolf II has no legitimate heirs, but his illegitimate first-born son is much-loved, if only by the Emperor and his mistress. This son, Don Julius, suffers from what is undoubtedly schizophrenia -- he hears voices, he has mad rages, he acts completely recklessly and inappropriately (and illegally). To keep the townspeople from revolting, the emperor send
Elizabeth Chicoine Faunce
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. As a huge fan of historical fiction, I have pretty high standards when it comes to historical accuracy, engrossing storylines, and memorable characters. This book had them all. A teenaged Bohemian bathmaid named Marketa is put forward by her scheming mother to use her daughter's virtue to improve the family's fortune. Marketa is her father's favorite, with a shrewd mind uncommon among young girls in her day. By assisting her bloodletter father, Marketa places herself in the si ...more
Karen Silvestri
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Bloodletter’s Daughter tells the story of the mad Hapsburg prince. Set in 17th century Prague, the citizens of a small hamlet in Bohemia are forced to deal with the horror and depravity of King Rudolf II’s insane illegitimate son living in the castle. The local bloodletter is called in to bleed the prince in the hopes of balancing his bad humors, taking along his pretty daughter, Marketa, as his assistant. When the mad prince becomes obsessed with the girl, all hell breaks loose.

Based on a t
Feb 11, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was inspired by the true story of Don Julius, the illegitimate son of Hapsburg Emperor Rudolf. Don Julius was a mentally ill young man who scandalized the Holy Roman Empire in the early 1600s, when he cold-bloodedly murdered a young girl who worked in a Bohemian bathhouse.

As the book opens an adolescent Don Julius is obsessed with deciphering the secrets of a book called 'The Coded Book of Wonder', an activity which seems to quiet the evil voices in his head. Emperor Rudolf, thinking
Diane S ☔
Aug 02, 2012 rated it liked it
3.5 As explained in the very welcome author's note and interview, this novel was very well researched. The time period, the bath houses, the bloodletting and Marketa, who is the main character of this novel, all really existed and in much the way it is written. The insanity that ran through the Hapsburg's is well documented and so it is portrayed here. That his blindness to his sons condition definitely added to the reason Rupert is deprived of his crown. This is a very dark book, almost melanch ...more
Sep 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm giving this historical novel set in Old Bohemia in the early 1600's four stars for an engrossing read. I felt as sucked into the story as the hungry leeches used to balance the madman Don Julius' humors. The history came alive in, as I understand, an historically accurate, albeit strange, series of events. (No spoilers!) The author interestingly juxtaposed the struggles of the times between science, medieval medicinal practices (bloodletting, among others), alchemy, witchcraft and religion t ...more
Aug 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved this! I am so glad my old book club introduced me to historical fiction! This was so interesting-madness in the Hapsburg family! Based on a true story and I can only hope that the way this author imagined it actually happened. A nice thick book I read the first week of school-usually do not do any of my own reading this week but couldn't stop reading!
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved revisiting Prague and the Czech Republic in this book, reading about places that are familiar to me from the 4 months I lived there. This story about one event in the history of the Hapsburg Empire is exciting, dangerous and thrilling. I couldn't put the book down.
Oct 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd actually give The Bloodletter's Daughter 3.5 stars. It was good enough to keep me reading and wanting more but there were a few flaws that left me wondering or bored. I have no doubt that I enjoyed this book more because of a coincidence; I read The Physician before The Bloodletter's Daughter and because of some similar topics and storylines, I ALMOST felt as if I were reading a sequel (although The Physician is an all-time favorite).

The story is set in a tiny Bohemian village in the 1600's.
Jan 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up as a Kindle daily deal. (Warning, don't look at the daily deals tab unless you are prepared to have your reading list many decent cheap books, jumping the queue over more pricey reads).
This book probably should only have received 3 stars but I fell victim to my love of period pieces and strong "buck the system" heroines, giving it four stars instead. This is the fictionalized version of a small snippet of history. 1600 Hungary and the mad Hapsburg King Rudolf
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Historical fiction lovers
Recommended to Donna by: Amazon Kindle
My students will soon begin their Medieval Novel Unit, reading Matilda Bone, by Karen Cushman. Matilda, an orphan, is sent to live with a healer, and learns the amazing alchemy of cures true to what was utilized during medieval times. On that note, I wished to expand my dialogue with the kids on the subject of medieval medicine, healers, politics and women during this period, and thought I'd check THE BLOODLETTER'S DAUGHTER out after reading the promotion materials from Amazon-Kindle.

I met Marke
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Just ok. The story got a bit strained towards the end and the writing seemed to get worse as the novel went on. The author had a great main plot and probably should have stuck to it. We didn't need all those doctors running around the castle in the end. The lady in white? really? The doctor loved Marketa? Since when? Story lines were abruptly dropped - Katrina and the Smithy, the pervy brewer, the twins and all those doctors running around in the end. Annabella's story with Jakub was simply dist ...more
Terry (Ter05 TwiMoms/ MundieMoms)
I have no idea what led me to buy this book, and wish I had not. I read over half of it and don't know why I continued that long. I think maybe it was because I was a bit familiar with Bohemia in the late 1500's and King Rudolph II from reading the All Souls Trilogy. There is a bit about alchemy and science in the book which made me curious. I should have stopped reading when I was turned off by the concept of the blood letting and the life of a girl whose mother owned a Bath House. The mother a ...more
Historical fiction. The setting is Old Bohemia (Czech Rep.) in the early 17th century. The country is under the rule of the Austrian Empire's Hapsburg Dynstay. The story is based on King Rudolph II's bastard son, Don Julius, and his love for Marketa, a common bathmaid. It's a story of love, insanity, and murder, that changed the course of history in that country. This is my first Linda Lafferty book and I enjoyed it. Her knowledge of the area and it's history was very good and her writing and th ...more
Mark Warren
Feb 12, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Bad history, worse writing and a crime against the main character

Bad history, worse writing and a crime against the main character

The author states in a Q&A that she felt sorry for the main female character because she was nicknamed 'musle' -- apparently a Czech word meaning 'mussel', a smarmy term for her genitalia -- thus writing a book that tells us nothing about the"real" character and what happened to her. This is a great crime against the girl in this awful, comic book version of her l
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
/r/Fantasy Discus...: Fantasy Bingo 3 192 Apr 07, 2017 05:03PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: The Bloodletter's Daughter 1 5 Feb 11, 2013 11:02AM  
Huntsville-Madiso...: Staff Picks: The Bloodletter's Daughter by Linda Lafferty 1 32 Oct 05, 2012 10:21AM  
  • The Beggar King (The Hangman's Daughter, #3)
  • She Wore Only White
  • The House of Closed Doors (The House of Closed Doors #1)
  • The Silence of Trees
  • Between Love and Honor
  • Little Sacrifices
  • I Am the Chosen King (Saxon #1)
  • The King's Spy (Thomas Hill, #1)
  • Illuminations
  • The Wedding Shroud (Tales of Ancient Rome, #1)
  • The Spy Lover
  • Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • The Books of Rachel
  • In the Land of the Long White Cloud
  • Whispers from the Ashes
  • The Inquiry Agent
  • The Unquiet Bones (Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon Chronicles #1)
  • Of Windmills and War
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 ol ...more
More about Linda Lafferty...
“You and your books. Ah, what a gift it must be to discover the world in those squiggly lines.” 17 likes
“Men who thirst for freedom will find it, even if they drink at a poisoned well.” 8 likes
More quotes…