Just when we thought we'd recovered.....

A Reader's Respite has been running into a spate of bad historical fiction lately. Recently, we BookMooched (is that a real verb?) a historical fiction novel entitled Bathory: Memoir of a Countess.

hey, at least the cover is beautiful

Familiar with the story of the Countess? Allow us to present the Reader's Respite Version:

Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian Countess in the late 16th century who had a bit of a mean streak in her. Little factual information is known about her (the records are allegedly kept under lock and key by the Hungarian government), but the legends that have sprouted up about her are pretty wild.

She liked to kill young girls. Preferably via torture. One wild rumor has it that she liked to take relaxing evening baths in the blood of young virgins. Perhaps as many as 600 of them in her lifetime (although that number seems a little unreal, doesn't it?)

Despite her fantastical reputation, not too much has been written about this little vixen. A Reader's Respite had heard of Mordeaux's Bathory: Memoir of a Countess, so we thought we'd give it a read since the subject seemed a little Halloween-ish and creepy.

Holy. Mother. of . God.

This book really should have been marketed as a Pornography/BDSM book. Not that we have any problem with the pornography genre, we just appreciate it when it isn't masquerading as historical fiction.

Every wild-ass rumor about the Crazy Countess made it's way into this book, no matter how stomach-churning the detail. And trust us on this, it takes an uber-strong stomach to make it through the first chapter.

But aside from the over-the-top, going-for-shock-value details, this was just plain bad historical fiction. No matter how hard we try, we simply cannot imagine the Countess's husband telling her that she seems "stressed." Hardly the vernacular of 1600 Hungary.

Never mind that "influenza" wasn't even a term used until the 18th century or that young, unmarried, blue-blooded girls are running around unchaperoned. And with every other person killed being a servant of the Crazy Countess, how on earth did she ever fill her staff? In her case, good help was really hard to find.

Good grief, folks, this book was a mess.

When A Reader's Respite finds a good novel about this Joan-Crawford-Runs-Amok, we'll let you know. In the meantime, skip this one if you have any self-respect at all.

No. We wouldn't wish this book upon any of our loyal, fabulous readers. Instead, we're giving it to Misfit to return this favor.

Paybacks are hell.


  1. Wow. This one sounds like a disaster!

  2. The question is, why was a book like this even published? Bad enough to tweak with history, worse still to butcher it...

  3. Have you heard of Blood Countess by Andrei Codrescu? Here is a little synopsis from Fantastic Fiction: Drake Bathory-Kereshtur, an American journalist, comes to terms with his infamous ancestor, Countess Elizabeth Bathory of Hungary, a cruel and vicious murderess who, in the seventeenth century, bathed in the blood of virgins to preserve her beauty and youth.

    I started reading it several years ago, but didn't finish...not because I didn't like it. Something else distracted me from it and I've always meant to pick it back up. What I got from it, from what I read, was that it goes from the present day of her ancestor and then it also goes to the past and tells her story. It seemed like a pretty good read, but I can't make an 'absolute' recommendation since I haven't finished it. So...just a suggestion.

    As far as the one you reviewed, as soon as I saw the word pornographic, my interest went south! I'm not much for that in books =o)

  4. I remember watching a discovery documentary about her and I was really shocked to know that she killed young girls for their blood. Apparently, they say her ghost is still present at the place or something like that. It's intriguing :)

  5. Oh God!!How did u manage completing such a disastrous book?

  6. Anonymous Child -- this one was self-published (imagine that). I don't think a publisher would have touched it.

    Truebookaddict - thanks for the recommendation....that one sounds like a better option for me. :)

    Shona - the print was big, LOL.

  7. Wow. This one sounds awful. I'd like to learn more about her but maybe in a not so sensationalized book. Thanks for the honest review!

  8. Oh. My. God. I thought that Woman Who Would be Pharoah book I'm reading was bad enough. You've topped me :)

    Can you unmooch it?

  9. Hrmmm...better go make sure this one isn't on my reading list.

  10. Oops, I missed the last comment. Although don't forget - it's your turn next for Galveston.

  11. I do have a tiny shred of self respect, so skip this one I will!

  12. I believe "bookmooched" is a verb...at least I use it that way.
    (My sister: I thought you had that book.
    Me: I done bookmooched it.)

    There is a kind of pleasure in reading a really bad book and seeing how disastrous it can be.
    But, then again, I am a sadist as well as being indifferent about grammar.

  13. ROFL Sounds like this book will definitely make up for the last wall-banger Misfit sent you. ;D

  14. Alisa Libby wrote a book on her as well - The Blood Confession. Her recent The King's Rose was pretty good.

  15. self published...not surprising.

    that sounds about as bad as it gets..better you than me. lol

  16. That sounds almost as bad as The House of Borgia Vol 1 and 2. I read them both in college as an respite during finals. They were so bad they were almost funny and they really did give a mental break from studying. But I was luckier than you, I knew what to expect...trust me, more the the history was fictional! lol

  17. No wonder they keep the details under lock and key ... that is some weird creepy stuff! And yes ... I don't think 16th century Hungarians are stressed! Revenge is a dish best served ... in a bath filled with virgin blood.

  18. Definitely sounds like one for the shelf of shame. Thanks for the warning. (I hadn't heard of the Countess before, but am amazed that more hasn't been written about her considering how people love a good scandal.)

  19. A. Mordeaux.
    Makes me wonder if the author used a penname?
    (Rightly so of course!)

  20. jeez!! Countess herself sounds a bit over the top... i won't read it ! i swear!

  21. Oh dear this sounds dreadful! Just reading your review makes me crave Historical Fiction Therapy :)
    I gave you an award http://blackteensread2.blogspot.com/2009/10/award-waiting-on-wednesday-blessings.html

  22. Huh. Countess Bathory is also the villain in the new Dracula sequel, the one written by a Stoker.

    See here for the ridiculous details.


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