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A Bloody Habit

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  25 reviews
It is 1900, the dawn of a new century. Even as the old Queen's health fails, Victorian Britain stands monumental and strong upon a mountain of technological, scientific, and intellectual progress. For John Kemp, a straight-forward, unimaginative London lawyer, life seems reassuringly predictable yet forward-leaning, that is, until a foray into the recently published sensat ...more
Paperback, 435 pages
Published 2018 by Ignatius Press
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
NOT NOT NOT a vampire fan. Decent enough writing, but I was confused at times; could be because of my lack of familiarity with vampire lore. Although I will be the first to admit, I am not the best one to judge, it felt to me like Catholic vestments laid over a vampire. This book was given to the 15 yo who was living with us, which is mostly why I read it. Even though it is written by a Catholic author, I will tell her Mom I do not recommend it. However, knowing this young adult as I do, I doubt ...more
Christine Johnson
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mature teens, adults
When I was in middle and high school, I was obsessed with scary movies and novels, though my reading list tended to be more modern. I loved to read Stephen King's books and to watch horror movies. I'd have sleepovers with my friends, and we'd stay up late into the night watching Dracula and Carrie and Nightmare on Elm Street (is there a scarier movie than the one that takes place in a dream?) and An American Werewolf in London. The sleepless nights, to me, were worth the thrill and adrenaline ru ...more
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
dedicated with affection to Krisi Keley .
Ladies and gentlemen, I apologize for continually postponing my review of James Sallis'Drive (although I admit, I don't feel like writing it), and it seems to me that it will be postponed for longer, because I admit, that after this review I will write the critique of Anthony Esolen's poetic an
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had never heard of this author before finding this on sale at Ignatius Press (of all places!). It is thoroughly enjoyable, and written very much in the style of the time in which it is set.

It begins in 1900. John Kemp, an English barrister, having finished some business in Hungary, is taking the train back to the coast on his way home to London. To while away the time, he is reading a popular novel, written by an Irishman named Bram Stoker.

On the train, he meets an odd little Dominican priest
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
(Nota bene: I strove to avoid spoilers, mainly revealing elements found on the novel's cover-jacket, but it is possible that some references reveal too much of the story, so caveat lector.)

A Bloody Habit is an obvious love letter to Bram Stoker's Dracula: the narrator is reading it throughout the story, each chapter begins with an epigraph from Stoker's work, and the author even edited an edition of it for the same publisher. It's been too long since I read Dracula to be able to compare the two,
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Very entertaining! It's got a lot of smart details as far as British history, Catholicism, vampires...and a hopelessly introverted narrator whose descriptions made me laugh, especially as characters were introduced. Many of the flourishes went over my head because it's a retelling of Dracula, and I haven't read Dracula. However, I enjoyed it. I'm not sure how to recommend it to people...Is it part almost-conversion story, part vampire-slaying adventure? I think, it's rather odd, but good fun.
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m not sure how this book came on my radar, but I’m glad it did.

Nicholson’s version of the gothic vampire story tries to fix the flaws in Stoker’s Dracula while still paying homage to the original tale.

As a work of Christian literature, I found her examination of doubt, faith, agnosticism, and belief quite compelling.

If you like gothic literature or the Victorian supernatural but were put off by Stokers “stodginess”, give Nicholson a try.
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-list
The cover caught my eye, tis true. And then I couldn’t help but be transfixed by the title. And the blurbs. And this gem in the author bio: “Eleanor Bourg Nicholson … yearns to correct Count Dracula’s strategic errors.”

I mean…how could I not attack this book with all the vigor and enthusiasm that my fiction-loving self holds dear?

Granted, I haven’t read Dracula, and I know that I don’t know the full story. Even so — EVEN SO — this book is a masterpiece. Joseph Pearce said that it’s “a cross betw
Christina Weigand
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
On first glance I wasn't sure I wanted to read this book. It is written in the style of the great masters of writing including Bram Stoker who is visited in the book. I resisted my first inclination and started reading. I was quickly drawn in by the characters and the plot. The storyline is similar to Dracula even using the book to track their vampire. The addition of the Catholic monks was an exciting edition to the search. Underlying the vampire hunting we have a story of a man who doubts the ...more
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a clarifying point to booklady & SiSapis’ comments: ‘A Bloody Habit’ absolutely and unequivocally presents the vampiric as pure evil that only the graces found within the Catholic Church are adequate to combat. There is nothing “misunderstood” about the vampire characters within this book. In fact, the book makes the case for secular humanism giving rise to the vampire’s power.

What I enjoyed about this book was both its deep and solid grounding in Catholic truth (so, the good, true and beauti
Abby Glann
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! Beautiful writing, an engaging story written in the style of Stoker's Dracula. Not rushed with too much action like so much modern literature, but a lovely, methodical build which you can enjoy reading rather than rushing, to an appropriate climax at the end with questions answered and plenty of movement at the end. Father Thomas Edmund Gilroy was rather enjoyable throughout in his unflappable manner, reminding me of Brother Cadfael. I hope to see more of Nicholson's fiction in the fu ...more
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent! An intelligent vampire story for grown-ups. I especially appreciated the well-developed spiritual aspect of the story, something that is usually ignored or distorted in most supernatural thrillers.
Alexandra Ferretti
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A suspenseful, witty, enlightening page-turner.
Vincent Pham
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Note: I have been part of The Catholic Register’s Youth Speak News (YSN) team for the past two years. In preparation for Summer 2019, the members of YSN all received review copies of titles ranging from Christian non-fiction to fiction. I was tasked with writing a book review for Eleanor Nicholson’s novel, A Bloody Habit, published by Ignatius Press. Below is a copy of the review, originally published in the June 30, 2019 copy of The Catholic Register.

A Bloody Habit by Eleanor Bourg Nicholson. (
Nov 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I liked the book okay, but not as much as I wanted and could have if it’s potential had been better realized.

Many almost interesting elements - such as the nature of vampires and their minions in the book’s world - were left largely unexplored. Early on, a Catholic priest claims that Stoker gets a few things wrong in Dracula, but we don’t get enough of what he thinks is right.

The narrator, John Kemp, a lawyer inexplicably contemptuous of many people, seems a detached from the goings on around
Kathy Pero
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Whew - it took a long time to wade through this book. It's not that I didn't like it, I did - it's just that it's about 200 pages too long. It starts out well enough and it ends with a bang, but in between the beginning and the end, it's befuddling and verbose. I enjoyed Ms. Nicholson's style (very much like the classic tales she imitates), but I sincerely didn't understand why some characters existed and why some things happened. At times I didn't even understand exactly what was happening. In ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
The start of this book was awful, the end was enjoyable. Overall, too descriptive, too much purple prose.

But the story was (occasionally) interesting and some of the characters were (at times) compelling.

The action scenes were well paced, and well written but a little bit over the top.

Biggest complaint for me was the over-powered priests. I get they were supposed to be the heroes, and provide a sense of safety but they were far too calm and prepared- they almost
Genevieve  Paquette
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one. It's my third foray into the extremely niche genre of the Catholic vampire novel. So far, this was my favourite. Excellent writing, world building, characters, and some delightfully cheesy puns. And a good ending!
I think the fact that it was set in Victorian England helped? It had a classic feel. And it wasn't overly preachy, which I appreciated.
It was a fun read.
reagan eyre
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very fun read! It was rather satisfying to read a vampire novel which, as the author bio at the end of the book says, attempts to correct the "strategic mistakes" of Dracula as well as the theological mistakes of Hellsing.
Robert M Gallagher
Aug 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Way to slow with not enough at the climax to make up for it. I assume this is written like a Victorian gothic novel, but in our faster paced day and age it was too long. Really wanted to like it more.
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, catholic
A page-turner -- A Bloody Habit is Gothic horror with solid theology as the beams of the house beneath. The sharp wit made me laugh, even as I read on with suspense. There is some medium amount of gore, but appropriately so, given the genre. It is an excellent novel.
Valerie Kolbinger
Jul 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such an amazing book, and I really hope we'll see more in the near feature.
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE IT!!!!! A great day modern day Dracula Story. With a Catholic twist, a great funny Dominican Frair
Julianne Kvernmo
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Worth reading. I think I need to read Dracula to fully appreciate. Enjoyable and interesting. Not too gory.
rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2019
Ashley Quick
rated it it was amazing
May 03, 2020
Kelly Scott Franklin
rated it it was amazing
Nov 27, 2018
Kristen Rinaldo
rated it it was amazing
Aug 13, 2019
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May 13, 2019
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Eleanor Bourg Nicholson edited the Ignatius Critical Edition of Dracula and yearns to correct Count Dracula’s strategic errors. In addition to scholarly pursuits, she occasionally strays into fiction, including her epistolary novella, The Letters of Magdalen Montague (Kaufmann Publishing, 2011), and her Victorian vampire novel, A Bloody Habit (Ignatius Press, 2018). Mrs. Nicholson is the assistant ...more

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