“A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula
In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Bathory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante.
It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.” – Amazon
There are so many layers to Blood Countess that it’s astonishing. And even though this is a YA novel, Lana Popovic does not shy away from the abusive way women have, and still are, treated or the graphic nature of Elizabeth Bathory’s tortures, whether they be psychological or physical.
I have always been drawn to Elizabeth Bathory because women serial killers are fascinating to me, and to have one that got away with her killing spree for so long is astonishing. Even her punishment was softened because of her status. So what does that say about our society? Even though this took place hundreds of years ago, the same concept is still around; if you’re rich you can get away with murder.
Anna’s story arc is fantastic. By the end of the book she is definitely not the person she was at the beginning, and yet she still retains some of her better traits. I kept asking myself what I would have done in her situation, and there is no easy answer. Popovic seems to have a strong grip on the human psyche and is able to write questionable situations in a relatable way.
And the historical references are on point. You can tell Popovic did her research before writing a novel on one of the world’s most prolific women serial killers. And as an herbalist in training, I really enjoyed when Popovic included information on herbs for various ailments. I kept shaking my head in the affirmative because those would indeed be the herbs to use!
I’m looking forward to her next book in the Lady Slayers series, Poison Priestess, in early 2021, and am intrigued to find out who the Poison Priestess is.
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