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THE COUNTESS By: Rebecca Johns October 21, 2010

Posted by lycan librarian in book reviews, Books and reading.
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     Elizabeth Bathory is an historical figure who will forever fascinate. Accused of killing her female servants in slow and torturous ways and then bathing in their blood as a beauty treatment, she was sealed up alone in her chambers to live out the last years of her life. Some selections dealing with the subject of this 1600s Hungarian Countess are very graphic, and should not be read by those with frail stomachs, such as my favorite, Andrei Codrescu’s THE BLOOD COUNTESS. Others, such as Raymond T. McNally’s 1983  DRACULA WAS A WOMAN, treats the Countess’ life as a biography and searches for truth among the gruesome legends. Rebecca Johns chose to treat her selection as historical fiction, and it both does and does not work in this reader’s opinion. While the book is a pleasant read, I must question if it should be. There are some tales that would make many cringe, but the top layer is scraped off, leaving only the moist center, which is easily digestible. But that soft middle contains the essence of the treat, and viewing this piece solely as an historical novel, it is well done even though a great deal of Bathory’s personality is left undeveloped.

 

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