Words leave imprints in your mind like footprints in the sand...
beach reading
starry skies to read under
reading in nature

The Nightingale’s Castle set in Slovakia, Čachtice

  • Submitted: 8th May 2024

The Nightingale’s Castle  – Slovakia, Čachtice

If you are in the market for a historical novel with lashings of gothic drama inspired by the real life tale of a woman known as The Blood Countess, then read on. A treat of the highest gothic order is in store.

Map of locations in The Nightingale’s Castle

The Nightingale's Castle set in Slovakia, Čachtice



Destination : Slovakia

Author guide: Sonia Velton

Genre: historical fiction

Food and drink to accompany: blood oranges




A novel to transport you to the home of a Blood Countess


Map of locations in The Nightingale’s Castle

This wonderful novel is the colour of a jewel inside and out. The author has done something magical by taking a figure from history and weaving an exquisite story inspired by that person. When this person was known as The Blood Countess, well, it can’t get any more interesting quite frankly.

The Blood Countess has quite the story! Real name Erzsébet Báthory. Accused of the murder of up to 600 young woman in Hungary in the 1600s. Now, she doesn’t get her own voice in the book, quite brilliantly, the author gives it to the men and women she affected. Giving the victims or the onlookers a voice is something that really gives this novel the edge.

The central character, Boróka, caught my interest from the start. She’s fifteen and has, up until that point, lived a bit of a sheltered life. Well, she goes to work in the Countess’ castle and let’s say that things take a dramatic turn!

Map of locations in The Nightingale’s Castle

Having Boróka, a servant, tell most of this story really makes the novel sing. Her insights and turns of phrase give the story a raw and personal edge.  The Countess is a strange creature and her behaviours, her ways and mannerisms are unexpected and changeable. Some of her servants seem to run the castle, rather than her and she is loathed and feared by outsiders. Seems that certain powerful men don’t like powerful women

The balance of power inside the castle and the myths and legends that emerged from this whole tale are a joy to delve into. What is truth and what is reality? Did the Countess really bathe in the blood of fresh virgins? Did she kill all those she was accused of? Were her servants involved?

The fact the title of the book evokes a nightingale – a sweet innocent sounding bird that “symbolizes beauty and grace seems a perfect contrast at first but then I found out that it also represents “the impermanence of life, a symbol of transience and the passage of time.” Gives the novel a whole new meaning.

Highly recommended!

Map of locations in The Nightingale’s Castle


Postcard details:  Access The BookTrail’s Map of Locations and travel guide here

More books set in castles


BookTrail Boarding Pass:  The Nightingale’s Castle

Twitter:  @Soniavelton   

Back to Blog

Featured Book

The Wren in the Holly Library

2000s: A dark, spicy romantasy loosely inspired by Beauty and the Beast

Read more