For Game of Thrones addicts like myself, it is sometimes easy to forget that 'actual' history can be as bloody, magical and lascivious as the imagined.
The truth is, Game of Thrones has all but ruined me for reading about our real world. I have been avoiding historical fiction thinking it would be flat and boring when compared with the world created by Mr Martin. As usual, when I pre judge books (and in this case whole genres) I was wrong (I have been wrong a lot in this blog).
So what is special about 'The Bloodletter's Daughter', by Linda Lafferty?
In a word, the amazing reality that is history.
How our world has changed! This change is especially apparent when compared with the microcosm that was 17th century Bohemia.
Case in point, our heroine, sixteen year old Marketa (a real life historical figure).
Raised to a life of dual roles, both which would be unthinkable in today's polite society.
Marketa works as her fathers assistant, holding the catching bowl for her father as he drains patients of blood, by knife and leech. Marketa is fascinated by the process of healing, in this case by removing the 'bad humours' from the blood of the afflicted.
More controversially by modern standards, Marketa also works in her mothers 'Bath house'. Marketa helps the inhabitants of her small town stay fresh, clean and sweet smelling and when we meet her, on the brink of helping them with their sexual satisfaction as well (very Bohemian).
Her double life throws her in the path of the King's illegitimate son, Don Julius (also a real historical figure) who is by any estimation, violently insane. With a history of rape and violence, the King banishes Julius to the castle in Marketa's small town for treatment and healing.
What happens next between the bastard prince and the humble Marketa is a matter of historical record and is as tragic as it is true.
No boring and flat read this! With romance, magic (via the local 'cunning woman), friendship, love, betrayal and a young girl's rapid transition to maturity, 'The Bloodletter's Daughter', is a rich and vibrant read. Is there any better way to learn about history than through a expertly told story such as this.
I think I will add some more novels from this genre on to my 'too read' list!
If you would like to read 'The Bloodletter's Daughter', it is available for purchase from Amazon.com via the following link.
'The Bloodletter's Daughter', By Linda Lafferty
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