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Dandelions In The Garden Paperback – December 7, 2009

3.7 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The tale has a vicious bite, and the characters remain in place - to watch if you will die." --Brown Brush Books

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, I believe it was his ancestor, Elizabeth Bathory, who should get much of the credit for the character's dark immortality. It was she was rumored to have bathed in and drank the blood of virgins in an attempt to preserve her eternal beauty. --Goodreads

From the Author

As of March 4, 2011 an updated version of Dandelions in the Garden is available and all orders will be filled with the newly released edition.  The original text has been re-released with brand new cover art, author note, sneak peek at the sequel, and proofed by Editor, Robert Helle.  I'm very excited about the improvements and hope readers will continue to enjoy my stories.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; First edition (December 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449977804
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449977801
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,709,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book while researching the infamous Countess Erszebet Bathory. Buyer beware - there are no vampires. Although the novel had some generally interesting fictional moments with the main character Amara & her love affairs, it was wholly dissatisfying that the book, while focusing on the Countess' incredible historical story, was narrated in the first person by Amara, not Countess Bathory. Even more frustrating, key moments are left out of the Countess' life, and all her unspeakable acts are explained away as the warranted actions of a noble woman.

I hate to harshly criticize a newly published writer, as I know how difficult the writing process can be. However, there were also glaring grammatical and logical errors:
1) The book is narrated in present-tense (something that drives me up a wall), and the tense shifts from past to present incorrectly - a glaring mistake that took me out of the fiction.
2) Perspective is skewed. Amara, the narrator, writes down an important scene where, if she heard it, she should have known what was coming. And if she didn't hear it, then how is she writing it in the book? But then she proceeds to not know what's happening. It's very strange. How could the first person narrator have heard this conversation & then not see the result coming down the pipeline beforehand?
3) There was a lack of plot and climax within this first book (supposedly a sequel is coming). I felt wholly dissatisfied at the end.
4) The editor of this book did not do his/her job. Errors were everywhere, and confusing leaps in plot made it difficult to follow at times.
5)I feel like the book didn't reflect history well enough. It's also hard that if you know how history went for Countess Bathory, you know how this book ends.
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Format: Paperback
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 completely forgot about possible lack of historical authenticity and just sat back and enjoyed a very good story.

Amara and Elizabeth grow up together rather neglected and have little to no experience with the world outside their domain. They have a governess and pretty much run free and get into trouble. And what kind of trouble do most teenage girls get into? They fall in love. The problem is Elizebeth is not just any ordinary teenage girl, but the countess of Bathory and her marriage to a Count has been arranged. Despite her attempts, she is unable to avoid marrying the "harry ogre" and try she does! Elizabeth has shown a fiery side even before her wedding day and on her wedding night, she finds a new power within herself: the power to get her way. There is no stopping her from that point on. Is Elizabeth evil? She does some bad things, but I wouldn't say she is evil.. not in this take on her life. She simply DOES what we all THINK about, but don't have the courage to do. When servants gossip behind her back, she not only stops it, but ensures it doesn't happen again. Is she sexually promiscuous? Yes, but she desires to CHOOSE her lovers, not bed the man other's chose for her.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished "Dandelions In The Garden" by Charlie Courtland, the pen name of Kelly Elizabeth Lee. I was apprehensive about purchasing this book because I have read nearly everything related to Countess Bathory written in English (historical and fictional) and was worried that a new author would have nothing new to say. I was pleasantly pleased that Ms. Courtland did her homework and that many of the characters in the book are realistically based on historical facts.

The novel (Part One of a two-part series) is told from the point of view of an entirely fictional Amara Borbala, a lady-in-waiting to thirteen-year-old Elizabeth Bathory from the age of eleven in 1573 through present-day 1628. Amara decides to tell the story of Elizabeth to John Drugeth, the nineteen-year-old son of Elizabeth's daughter Kate and son-in-law George Homannay Drugeth before his impending marriage.

Elizabeth's infidelity while engaged to her husband, her subsequent marriage, and numerous affairs are explored in an effort to possibly explain her behavior later on. Ms. Courtland's theories explain Elizabeth's mistreatment of servant girls better than the standard blood-bathing/sadomasochistic obsession that most authors accept at face value. The novel ends in 1585, shortly after the birth of Elizabeth's daughter, Anna, and Elizabeth's discovery of the portrait of a certain Wallachian Prince from the previous century who may be related to the Countess.

The only criticism I have is in the editing. There are numerous spelling and grammatical errors that should have been corrected and hopefully will be in subsequent editions. I'm afraid that independent publishing companies depend on computers to be editors and phrases like "Elizabeth and I" are assumed to always be correct when it should read "Elizabeth and me" half of the time.
I still look forward to volume 2.
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