We have updated our Privacy Policy Please take a moment to review it. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the terms of our updated Privacy Policy.

The Nightingale's Castle

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349146096

Price: £18.99

ON SALE: 2nd May 2024

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Historical Fiction

Disclosure: If you buy products using the retailer buttons above, we may earn a commission from the retailers you visit.

‘An absorbing work of fiction’ Sunday Times

‘I was blown away by this dark, enchanting story of witchcraft, power and injustice. ..nothing short of brilliant’ Mary Chamberlain

Erzsébet Báthory, whose infamous place in history characterises her as the ‘Blood Countess’, was accused of the murder of over 600 peasant girls in Hungary, 1610. The Nightingale’s Castle tells the story of a woman fighting for her survival and the complicated, often cruel, household over which she presides.

Praise for The Nightingale’s Castle


‘Moving, fascinating and haunting.. A mesmerising combination of gothic horror and elegant restraint’ Francesca De Tores, author of Saltblood


‘Gripping… a fascinating exploration of women’s struggle to have their truth heard’ Louise O’Neill


In 1573, Countess Erzsébet Báthory gave birth to an illegitimate child. The infant, a girl, was swiftly bundled up and handed to a local peasant family to be brought up in one of the hamlets surrounding the Castle. Many years later, 15-year-old Boróka reluctantly leaves the safety of the only home she has ever known in the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Trusted members of the countess’s household have been sent out to gather new serving girls, and the kindly old man who has taken care of Boróka for almost all her life knows that it is dangerous to turn them away.

Boróka struggles to find her place at Cachtice Castle: she is frightened of the countess’s reputation as an alleged murderer of young girls, and the women who run the castle are terrifyingly cruel. When plague comes into the heart of the castle, a tentative bond begins to form between Boróka and the Countess Báthory. But powerful forces are moving against a woman whose wealth poses such a threat to the king: can the countess really trust the women who are so close to her? And when the show trial begins against the infamous ‘Blood Countess’ where will Boróka’s loyalties lie?

Reviews

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, author of Vita and the Birds
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, author of The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands
In The Nightingale's Castle, Sonia Velton expertly blends historical research, fiction and myth to bring to life a fascinating historical figure and show the destructive power of propaganda, rumour and political intrigue. I was captivated by the story of Elizabeth Barthory, her supposed terrible crimes and the truth behind them - a vivid, visceral and compelling read
Sarah Day, author of Mussolini's Island
The 17th-century Hungarian countess Elizabeth Bathory, allegedly responsible for the torture and murder of hundreds of young girls, is one of history's most notorious serial killers.... Seen through the eyes of Boroka, a young woman who becomes her servant, the countess appears little like the monster posterity has taken her to be. She is instead a woman struggling to resist the demands of powerful men intent on seizing her land and riches, and eager to exploit dark rumours to ruin her... an absorbing work of fiction
Sunday Times Historical Fiction Picks
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, author of The Hemlock Cure
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, author of The Fire Sermon series
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, author of Saltblood
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, author of No Honour and Someone Like Her
[An] incredible story. Sonia Velton's writing and characterisation are masterful
Emma Caroll
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, author of That Bonesetter Woman and The Smallest Man
A literary gem! Written with the expertise of a historian, Velton interweaves captivating storytelling and evocative prose to bring this most sinister history to life
Hayley Nolan
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, author of Idol
The Nightingale's Castle marks Sonia Velton's triumphant return to historical fiction with a daring choice of subject matter: Erzsébet Báthory, the 'Blood Countess.'...A page-turning tale of witchcraft and cruelty, which covers both a woman fighting for her place in society and an evocative tale of a young girl seeking beauty and friendship in a brutal age. Perfect for fans of Stacey Halls, Laura Purcell, and Anna Mazzola
Historical Novel Society
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, author of Cunning Women
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

Events