House of Horrors by Nigel Cawthorne

house-of-horrorsOh my…where do I start with this review? What a horrible story of a brave woman. I was really shocked reading this novel and I tried putting myself in the shoes of Elisabeth Fritzel and I really couldn’t imagine what she had to endure.

In August 1984, Josef Fritzel, drugged and handcuffed his 18 year old daughter, Elisabeth Fritzel, the youngest child of seven, and kept her captive for 24 years in a dungeon in the cellar of their home in Amstetten, Austria. He then fabricated a story that says Elisabeth ran away from home to join some religious cult and that she has warned her parents and authorities not to look for her. Josef, forced Elisabeth to write a letter to back his story up.

He kept her captive under poor conditions and repeatedly raped her. Unfortunately, he fathered seven children by her of which three was kept imprisoned with Elisabeth. These kids never saw the light of day until they were released in 2008. The other three kids were taken to live as foster children with Josef and his unsuspecting wife, Rosemarie. Josef took them out in the middle of the night and left them at their doorstep, making it as if Elisabeth left them there. He even forced Elisabeth to write a note to make it look as if she abandoned her children. One of the seven children, died as an infant and he burned the body in the furnace to get rid of it.

Then one day one of the children, Kirsten, got sick and he had no choice but to have her admitted to hospital because she was suffering from multiple organ failure and then went into a coma. One of the doctors treating her decided to look further into this case and this is how Josef’s sickening secret and lies came out and uncovered by the authorities.

I am obviously giving you a breakdown of what happened, however, the book gives finer details on what Elisabeth and her children had to endure of the past 24 years of captivity. I was really disgusted with Josef and I wondered how no one took note or followed their “instincts” when they found it odd that Josef would allow no one in the cellar and he would run errands during the night and how mysteriously the three children appeared on their doorstep at night, amongst other small signs that could have helped with the discovery of Elisabeth sooner. But then again, Josef was an abusive man and no one dared to defy him or go against his wishes. Also although, it was established that Josef’s wife, Elisabeth’s mother, was not aware of anything, I still believe that somehow at some point she had to suspect something was odd or wrong. But that is just my opinion.

If you are interested in knowing more about Elisabeth Fritzel, then please go ahead and read this book but if you are a sensitive reader, then please be aware that this book has some upsetting parts in it.

For those who have read this book, please share your thoughts. Thanks for reading xxx

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