book cover of The Nightingale\'s Castle
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The Nightingale's Castle

(2024)
A novel by

 
 
In the vein of riveting historical novels such as Hamnet and Circe�����with a touch of Dracula—a propulsive, feminist reimagining of the story of Erzsébet Báthory, the infamous sixteenth-century Hungarian aristocrat known as the “Blood Countess”, who was rumored to have murdered hundreds of peasant girls and bathed in their blood.

In 1573, Countess Erzsébet Báthory gives birth to an illegitimate child. Secretly taken to a peasant family living in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, the infant girl is raised as their own. Years later, a young woman called Boróka—ignorant of her true history—is sent to join the Countess’s household.

Terrified of the Countess’s murderous reputation and the brutally cruel women who run the castle, Boróka struggles to find her place. Then plague breaches the castle’s walls, and a tentative bond unexpectedly forms between the girl and the Countess. But powerful forces are moving against the great lady whose wealth and independence threatens the king. Can the Countess trust the women seemingly so close to her? And when the show trial begins against the infamous “Blood Countess” where will Boróka’s loyalties lie?

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"Absolutely loved this novel of the 'Blood Countess' - secrets, betrayals and survival, and how women's stories are told and twisted and changed." - Sarah Brooks

"Dark, unsettling and so skilfully written, The Nightingale's Castle is a novel that takes the reader by the hand and leads them to the wintry side of the human soul. Tinged with a creeping horror from the opening pages, it reads like the finest fairy tale. I loved it, and admired it greatly." - Joanne Burn

"I was blown away by this dark, enchanting story of witchcraft, power and injustice. The writing is exquisite, the atmosphere of late 16th century Hungary magnificently evoked with all its forbidding secrets, sinister machinations and heart wrenching detail. I was gripped from start to finish. The Nightingale's Castle is a triumph of story-telling and nothing short of brilliant." - Mary Chamberlain

"A dark and powerful tale of women fighting for their truths to be heard. Dripping with unease, it is a story filled with the bloodthirsty horror, not of monsters, but of humankind." - Polly Crosby

"[An] incredible story. Sonia Velton's writing and characterisation are masterful." - Sarah Day

"The Nightingale's Castle is as intricately and deftly woven as the lace made by the girls of the castle. It's a moving, fascinating and haunting tale, immaculately researched. A mesmerising combination of gothic horror and elegant restraint." - Francesca Haig

"A gripping tale of feminism and power, love and deceit, secrets and revenge, all soaked in a dark and rich tapestry of history. An unforgettable novel that inspires and enthralls in equal measure, it had me reading well into the night. Velton's best one yet." - Awais Khan

"The Nightingale's Castle is a beautifully crafted story that keeps the reader constantly balanced between hope and fear, just as the characters are. A gripping tale of power, loyalty and betrayal. I loved it." - Elizabeth Lee

"The Nightingale's Castle is a gripping read - beautifully written, skilfully plotted, and a fascinating exploration of women's struggle to have their truth heard." - Louise O'Neill

"An enthralling retelling of the story of the Blood Countess, with all the unsettling mystery of a dark fairytale, yet populated by utterly believable characters. A book to lose yourself in." - Frances Quinn

"The Nightingale's Castle is as intricately and deftly woven as the lace made by the girls of the castle. It's a moving, fascinating and haunting tale, immaculately researched. A mesmerising combination of gothic horror and elegant restraint." - Francesca De Tores


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