However, Blood Countess is a wonderful historical fiction novel that transports us to the rich tapestry of a 17th century Hungarian landscape. We experience the countess’s story through the eyes of Anna Darvulia, daughter of a local midwife and quite versed in the healing arts. When a chance encounter with the countess leads to a position at the castle, Anna jumps at the opportunity to earn the kind of wage her family can only dream of. She begins as a scullery maid and hears the whispers of the deranged behaviors of the young countess, but Anna soon becomes enamored with Elizabeth as she finds herself chambermaid and confidant to the beautiful countess. Over the course of the novel, Anna learns first hand just how sadistic and insane Elizabeth Báthory really is, only now, as the other servants start dropping like flies, is it too late for Anna?
I have mixed feelings about Blood Countess. I enjoyed it, but in many ways was left wanting more. The one thing the countess is most known for is bathing in the blood of her victims. That does happen—it wouldn’t be a book about her if it didn’t—but it wasn’t until very late in the book that we really start to see that level of gruesomeness. I wanted more blood and horror, though, as I said, the horror level is just right for a YA book. I was just a tad underwhelmed in the end. I enjoyed Anna’s journey as a character and I loved the way her story ended, the one thing I really missed from this book was the countess’s motivation. I wanted to get a little deeper into her character to see what made her the way she is, especially in the end when she makes an unexpected sacrifice.
Blood Countess is the first in the Lady Slayer’s Novels. Poison Priestess is scheduled to release in early 2021 and I am excited to see which historical figure this book will be about, or if it is a continuation of Anna and Elizabeth’s story.
I recommend Blood Countess for any historical fiction fans or those with a passion for intriguing figures like Elizabeth Báthory. It has just the right amount of history, mystery and horror for most audiences to sink their teeth into.