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Dandelions in the Garden

(Countess Elizabeth Bathory #1)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  224 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Journey into the underworld of the Blood Countess. "Dandelions In The Garden," is a historical fiction novel based on one of the most infamous female mass murderers in history, the 16th century Hungarian countess, Elizabeth Bathory. The Blood Countess was a descendant of Vlad Tepes and is undeniably connected with the vampire legends of Transylvania.

2nd edition proofed by
Paperback, Second, revised, 426 pages
Published December 7th 2009 by Amazon
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3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  224 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Tara Chevrestt
When I first started reading this novel, my first thought was, "This doesn't feel like the 1600s." And it didn't. The narrator, Amara has a very modern way of thinking and speaking, and I found myself wondering if they really had tabloids and chiming clocks that far back. Once the story went back to the late 1500s however, I became so engrossed in two little girls growing up together and experiencing their first loves, first kisses, first broken hearts, and first forrays into rebellion that I co ...more
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
After March 4, 2011 a new edition will be issued. The 2nd edition displays a new front and back cover, author's note, sneak peek at sequel and is proofed by Editor, Robert Helle.

An intriguing and fresh historical fiction novel chronicling the life of the infamous mass murderer known throughout history as the Blood Countess. The Countess Elizabeth Bathory is a descendant of Vlad Tepes, otherwise known as, the Impaler and most notable for being the inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. However,
Jan 31, 2010 rated it really liked it

Four stars, and I will explain why. I totally enjoyed byself while reading this book. Nevertheless, much felt like fantasy. I don't like fantasy - so why did I enjoy this book so much? Well, I did. I cannot explain it other than saying it moved me and the descriptions were vivid and the horror bits were truly horrid and I also frequently laughed out loud. I believe if there had been an author's note clearly explaining what was fact and what was fiction I may have given it 5 stars. I a
Jen Knox
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wow. OK, so, this book opened up a dark door in history for me, one that I will most definitely return to out of sheer morbid curiosity. I think this is what the author was going for, and she accomplished it!

Countess Erszebet Bathory is the subject, though the narration of this book is done by a friend, Amara, who seems desperate to cling to old ideas about her sociopathic gal pal. The thing is, as much as this book piqued my interest about the Countess, I was far more invested in Amara. I like
Jo Wun
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read Bram Stoker's Dracula as a teenager while visiting an aunt and uncle who lived in an old cottage in a hamlet in the east of England, complete with thatched roof, crooked floors and creaky stairs. Probably an unwise choice of bedtime reading, I succeeded in scaring myself half witless, and came to suspect the wizened old man living next door was not all that he seemed.

I read the eBook version of Dandelions in the Garden by Charlie Courtland on my smartphone, which perhaps goes to show that
Sarah (Workaday Reads)
Amara Borbala was the lady-in-waiting companion to Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess. They were together from the time they were young girls until after Elizabeth's trial. This is her account of what really transpired, as dictated in a manuscript intended for Elizabeth's grandson.

Reading these books, I realized neither is a stand alone story, or even books in a series. They are two halves of the same story: a single story split into two volumes. I can see why, the first is over 400
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Interesting historical fiction set in Vienna 1600 time period. Characters Amara and Elizabeth defy authority to survive in a time when men ruled and women were chattels.

Story of love, desire, lust, cruelty, suspense, and intrigue. Some content for mature readers only.
Story told by Amara spanning her childhood to old age.
You will love and hate the characters.

From the first page to the last, you are caught up in the lives and sorrows of the women and men of this story.
A story the grips you int
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Story of Countess Elizabeth Bathony as told by her long time friend Amara.

Historical fiction set in 1600 Vienna.

I gave this book 5 stars.

Well written, keeps you in suspense. Very descriptive, never boring, easy to immerse yourself into the characters lives and the time period they lived.

I recommend for the Mature Adult reader.

Can not wait to read the next book in this series 'The Hidden Will of the Dragon !'
Jan 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm so excited to read this!!! I just won this in a "First-Reads" auction, and can't wait to get my copy in the mail.

UPDATE: 4.5 stars. I loved this book! And I am so happy I now have an autographed copy.

I really enjoyed the character of Amara, and seeing Elizabeth through her eyes. Elizabeth's descent into madness was so subtle, as she slowly started to get more evil as the years passed.

The only bad thing? The cliffhanger! Now I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for the sequel.

Katherine Marple
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Charlie Courtland's writing is astounding in that she can take me into the storyline and make me care deeply for her characters. Every character is flawed in some way, just as every person is flawed in real life. Every character has their strengths as well as their downfalls, just as all humans do. Courtland knows this and she portrays these details well.

Dandelions in the Garden is about Amara's re-telling of the story of Countess Elizabeth who was said to have been evil to the core and had dran
"Dandelions in the Garden" is a book about Elizabeth Bathory, known as the 'Blood Countess', and narrated by her lady in waiting, Amara Borbala.

As it can be expected, the story revolves around these two women (well, first very young girls and then women), while the other characters, even if quite well depicted, are not very well developed. This could have been a weak point of the book, but luckily the two female protagonists are enough well depicted to immediately capture the reader's interest.
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
WOW! An exceptional story which I enjoyed immensely. The author excels at all the important elements of creative writing. The character development is excellent and I could picture each one in my mind easily. The plot is well constructed with many twists and turns that unlike most books I could not foresee. By the authors footnotes and my own love of history books, much research is injected into this story. Also the narrative is most interesting as the story is not related in the first person. I ...more
Alyne Winter
Dec 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I got this book because I was interested in what other authors were doing the Bathory Legend as I used in my Gothic Fantasy Roses of the Moon. The opening was really intriguing, but when I arrived to page after page of blow-by-blow descriptions of sex, I felt the story began to lag.
The sort of "feminist"charcterization of Erzebet also felt a bit off, but I am willing to go with that if I like the story. It's fiction, after all.
I was also beginning to be afraid that the story was going to become
Apr 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Historical genre has never been one that I have been fond of, but Charlie Courtland makes me LOVE it!!

Every thing about this book was absolutely wonderful! Full review to be posted on literaryescapism in the near future!
Jul 29, 2010 rated it liked it
This book was good; HOWEVER.... it was littered with typographical errors to the point of complete ridiculousness! It was extremely distracting and detracted from my enjoyment. Who is the editor anyway? Seriously - they need to be fired!
Megan Underwood
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, tudors
Now I want to learn everything about Elizabeth Bathory....
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2010, ebooks
One of the reasons I love to read historical fiction is that I like to learn more about other cultures and countries while enjoying a good story! Now, before you think I believe every word of the fiction I read, let me assure you that I often finish the novel and read up on the history behind it - my way of gently broadening my historical horizons... (Worry not, Phillippa Gregory's musings on the world of Anne Boleyn did not appear in my Tudor History A-Level!) This book was no exception - I hav ...more
Polly Watson
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Haha! The first book I finish in 2015 is a fictionalized text telling the story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, DANDELIONS IN THE GARDEN by Charlie Courtland. Awesome! I accept that much of the parts of this version are completely made up by Ms. Courtland for the sake of fictionalized literature, but considering the fact that much of what we know about the Countess is not actually KNOWN anyway, it is always interesting to read what new authors think happened with the Countess. I am absolutely fas ...more
Laura J. W.
Jan 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Books are a subjective business, and it doesn't mean a book is bad or good because it isn't someone's cup of tea. Although the idea of "Dandelions in the Garden" was intriguing to me when I first heard of it, but it really wasn't my cup of tea once I got beyond chapter 1. I felt a little disappointed because I couldn’t connect with the characters, even though they were well articulated with well-defined personalities, but I often had trouble believing in them. It’s just me, I guess. With that sa ...more
Jan 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Overall rating: 3.75

I will say right upfront that it's obvious Charlie Courtland has done her research. I looked up some items about which I had questions, and found that she was spot-on for the period in those matters.

There were some others, though, where it did not go so well in her telling of Elizabeth Bathory's story. The well-constructed epic novel about the notorious Blood Countess faltered in some tiny details (e.g., describing the use of envelopes during a time when letters were written
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I had a really difficult time deciding how to rate this book. I loved the idea behind this novel, and the story itself proved very interesting. However there were many editing errors that I found hard to overlook. As one reviewer previously noted, there were a lot of simple mistakes that should have been caught (such as a "finally" that should have been "final").

Also, the author had obvious issues with tense. I didn't mind that the narrator spoke in present tense during the "present day" scenes
Pia Veleno
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was ok

The blurb states this is a story about the Blood Countess, Elizabeth Bathory, a descendant of Vlad the Impaler. Unfortunately, she does not earn the title Blood Countess in this story, and her kinship with Vlad doesn't make an appearance until the last 5% of the book.

This story is written from the POV of Lady Amara, Elizabeth's favorite lady in waiting and trusted companion. It is more a story of Amara being stuck between nobility and commonfolk in her position serving the Countess than about t
Mar 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
First, I will say that I really enjoyed reading this book. I have read one or two other books about Elizabeth Bathory and her depravity and cruelty shocks and appalls me. The story is told from the perspective of Elisabeth's childhood friend who witnesses Elisabeth's increasingly deviant behavior. While Amara, the friend, does not exactly condone her cruelty neither does she condemn it but seems to rationalize it whenever she can. Because of her close bond with the countess, Amara seems in denia ...more
A.G. Dow
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'm not always up for a historically based novel, as I tend to get lost amongst the massive amount of facts that make it feel more like a lesson than a story. But Charlie Courtland has gained another fan with her version of the Elizabeth Bathory tale, Dandelions in the Garden. Courtland told a side of the story I hadn't heard before, steering clear of the monstrous lore that has been spread for generations and gave the Blood Countess a soul, a very human and suffered soul. The Countess had loved ...more
Darcia Helle
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Bathory, otherwise known in our history books as The Blood Countess, was, by most accounts, a savage killer who took pleasure in torturing her victims. Courland's book takes a look at the real Elizabeth's early life through the fictional eyes of young Amara, her closest friend and lady in waiting.

Dandelions in the Garden starts out with Amara as an old woman. She decides to write what we would consider a memoir or biography and her writing then becomes the story. I am not normally a f
Iola Snaderson
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-twice-now
I am a fan of Victorian type fiction especially stories from the woman's' point of view. Very well written I flew through the pages, eager to get to the next chapter. Read the entire book in one night, could not seem to put in down.
Then I had to read it again, more slowly, to absorb the story line and characters.
Sometimes a little too graphic for my taste, a bit too much sex, violence and gore. Often I disliked the characters for their 'Mean Streak' understanding circumstances and the time peri
Nicki Markus
Dec 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-historical
I've long had an interest in Elizabeth Bathory and so this book seemed a good pick for me. On the whole the book held my attention and I enjoyed the story and characters, particularly Amara's relationship with Lorant. However, the book really needs major editing work. There are issues with typos, jumps between tenses etc. and if a skilled editor had been let loose to clean those things up, I'd have been giving this book four stars instead of three. I understand editing work has been done on it i ...more
Oct 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a free Kindle download from Amazon. The story is historical fiction taking place in 16th century Hungary. It is the life of Elizabeth Bathory, better known as the "blood Countess" and descendant of Vlad Tepes, The Impaler (of Transylvania vampire fame.)

The story is told through the eyes of Amara, her lady in waiting. It starts out in a restaurant where Amara is having tea and overhears two lady's gossiping about her former companion. The story then goes back to her early years when she
In many ways I should have really enjoyed this book. I like historical fiction, the Countess of Bathory is a very interesting historical figure, and hey ties to Vlad. I just couldn’t get passed the far too modern narration, this would not have been a problem if the book was written in 3rd person but the author choose to write the book as a first person narrative from the point of view of Amara, Elizabeth’s Lady in Waiting.

The other disappointment of the book is that it didn’t even get to the “g
Jan 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story. I read a lot of historical fictions and this is one of the best. I didn't know anything about the "Blood Countess" before starting this book. I feel I have a good understanding of her now and this book motivated me to do a little research into her story.

It's interesting to read the story through the eyes of Elizabeth's best friend, Amara, who is aware of Elizabeth's actions, but I don't think fully grasp what Elizabeth was doing until later. And even then reasoned that those act
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I graduated with honors from the University of Washington with a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis on Creative Writing and a minor in Criminology, but apparently I can't spell or edit. I know, it's a mystery! However, I'm terribly gifted when it comes to critiquing works of fiction, writing reviews, promoting and making other writers famous. It's a gift really...just don't ask me to proo ...more

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Countess Elizabeth Bathory (2 books)
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