The Countess: A Novel

The Countess - Rebecca Johns 3.5 out of 5Erzsébet (or the Anglicized "Elizabeth") Báthory is as widely vilified and infamous as far as she is known today. The scandal of a noblewoman killing servants in order to live forever as one myth goes, or to punish them as an assertion of power as this novel posits, is guaranteed to garner attention, as much now as it was back then. While prevalent modern-day historical opinion believes her to be largely innocent of the horrendous charges leveled against her (both in her time and after her downfall/death), Ms. John's first-person novel is not afraid to show the Countess in all her glory, vanity, cruelty and ignorance. A spoiled, entitled, cruel noblewoman, Erzsébet may be quite hard to stomach for some readers, but I feel Johns did a remarkable job of "humanizing" the polarizing lady, as well as providing sufficient details to doubt and question just exactly who and what was behind her walled-in imprisonment within her own home. Yes, Erzsébet is still an awful, awful human being, but she is not a caricature of herself, nor is she an overblown monster - Johns hit a nice balance between the macabre and the ridiculous. Told in the loose form of Erzsébet writing a letter to her beloved son Pal as she is being walled in, The Countess offers a hard-to-put-down look at the life of one of history's most famous personages in her own style and voice.To read the rest of this review, just click right here!