Skip to main content

Review: The Countess, by Rebecca Johns

Pages: 285

Original date of publication: 2010

My edition: 2010 (Crown)

Why I decided to read: Heard about this through the Amazon Vine program

How I acquired my copy: Amazon Vine, September 2010

The Countess is a novel about Countess Erzebet Bathory, apparently the first female serial killer. In the early 17th century, she was rumored to have murdered dozens of young women. As with many of these kinds of novels, the story is told from the Countess’s point of view, and it covers her life starting from when she was a small child and continuing up until her incarceration.

It’s an interesting subject, by my, does the author manage to make it boring. The novel focuses a lot on Erzebet’s early life, and the plot moves at a very, very slow pace. I don’t know a lot about Hungarian history, so the parts of this novel that dealt with that were extremely edifying; but this novel disappointed me in terms of plot. I was intrigued to find out how the Countess would explain her story, but it fell down in many places. I was expecting more horror and murder, something more sensational at any rate that focused more on the legend behind the woman. The cover is also a bit disappointing; looking at it, you might expect a gothic or horror story, belying what actually occurs in the plot of the book. It’s the kind of book that will appeal to some readers of historical fiction, but as a potential horror novel, not so much.


S. Krishna said…
Eek! I do enjoy historical fiction, so I might give this a chance, but I'll keep your reservations in mind. Thanks for the review!
Thanks so much for reviewing this! I have been curious about it and am grateful to have a bit on insight :)

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972 Originally published: 1944 My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press) How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…

Review: Jane Austen's Letters, ed. by Deirdre Le Faye

Pages: 667 Original date of publication: 2011 My copy: 2011 (Oxford University Press) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy:, April 2013
This is a compilation of many of Jane Austen’s letters, most of them sent to her sister Cassandra between 1796 and 1817, the year of her death. Although many of Austen’s letters were destroyed by her sister in order to preserve the family reputation, the collection contains over 160 letters in which Austen gives her sister details about her life in Chawton—as well as giving us a tantalizing glimpse of what was going through her mind as she was writing her novels (especially the novel that was to become Pride and Prejudice, First Impressions). There are other letters here, too, giving advice to her niece and professional correspondence to publishers—as well as a couple of letters that were written by Cassandra Austen after Jane’s death.
To the sisters, the letters acted in the way that phone calls do today; Austen’s news is all about pe…

Review: Midnight in Peking, by Paul French

Pages: 259 Original date of publication: 2013 My copy: 2013 (Penguin) Why I decided to read: How I acquired my copy: Phoenix bookstore, May 2013
In January 1937, the body of a young British girl, Pamela Werner, was found near Peking’s Fox Tower. Although two detectives, one British and the other Chinese, spent months on the case, the case was never solved completely, and the case was forgotten in the wake of the invasion of the Japanese. Frustrated, Pamela’s father, a former diplomat, tried to solve the crime. His investigation took him into the underbelly of Peking society and uncovered a secret that was worse than anything he could have imagined.
At first, I thought that this would be a pretty straightforward retelling of a true crime, but what Paul French (who spent seven years researching the story) reveals in this book is much more than that. Foreign society in Peking in the 1930s was stratified, with the British colonials at the top and the White Russian refugees at the bottom, but…