Cover image for Blood countess
Title:
Blood countess
ISBN:
9781419738869
Physical Description:
293 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
1570s Hungary. Anna Darvulia is working as a scullery maid for the Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she is vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and is groomed as the Countess's friend and confidante. 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 is 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.
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Summary

Summary

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 Báthory. 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.


Author Notes

Lana Popovic is the author of Wicked Like a Wild Fire and Fierce Like a Firestorm . Born in Serbia, she lived in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania before moving to the US, where she studied psychology and literature at Yale University, law at Boston University, and publishing and writing at Emerson College.


Reviews 3

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--When 16-year-old Anna Darvulia is offered the chance to work for the young and enchanting Countess Elizabeth Báthory, she leaps at the chance. Quickly rising from lowly scullery maid to Elizabeth's personal chambermaid, confidant, and eventual lover, Anna has the chance to provide for her family and learn from this woman who keeps her rapturously enthralled. As time progresses, however, Anna wonders if the darkness she sees in Elizabeth is more than she or their world can bear. This fast-paced historical novel is packed with political intrigue, self-discovery, and a whole lot of darkness. Though the denouement seems rather rushed, there is enough here to tantalize the imagination and make readers yearn to know more about the real Elizabeth Báthory and her exploits. VERDICT Hand to fans of dark historical fiction and powerful female characters.--India Winslow, Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA


Kirkus Review

In 16th-century Hungary, 16-year-old Anna Darvulia, a talented healer, becomes a chambermaid to the notorious Countess Elizabeth of Bathory.After her father dies, providing for her family now falls to Anna; marriage is not an option and holds no appeal. Scullery work is backbreaking, but Anna seizes on the opportunity to prove her worth when the Countess falls ill. The vibrant, 19-year-old Elizabeth awakens something in Anna, and she eventually becomes Elizabeth's lover and pampered companion. But Elizabeth, who is obsessed with youth, beauty, and the healthy bloom that blood brings to the cheeks, has a dark side. Anna has difficulty reconciling the Countess' vicious treatment of her staff with the kind, generous Elizabeth she knows so intimately. However, as Elizabeth spirals into full-blown madness, Anna comes to her senses and plans her escapebut can Anna also escape her own complicity? Popovic (Fierce Like a Firestorm, 2018, etc.) masterfully conveys the genuine, visceral horror of Elizabeth's actions (and startling body count) without being gratuitous, though to remain true to the Bathory legend, there must be blood. It's difficult to humanize a legendary monster like Bathory, but Popovic gives it an admirable shot. She also touches on how a patriarchal society can drive women to extremes without letting the truly terrifying Bathory, or Anna, off the hook for their own actions. All characters seem to be white.A lush and bloody historical thriller. (Thriller. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Popovic fictionalizes the fascinatingly lurid tale of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the infamous sixteenth century Hungarian noblewoman and serial murderer, in this gothic tale of forbidden love and insatiable bloodlust. Sixteen-year-old Annacska is so deft with herbs that she's rumored a witch, but when her healing brings her to the attention of Lady Bathory, she sees a way to provide for her family while avoiding being shackled to a man. As Elizabeth's favored chambermaid, Anna relishes being the confidant and finally lover of such a magnetic, passionate woman, seeing no evidence of the cruel, capricious demon of which the other servants whisper. Yet even starry-eyed Anna cannot stay blinded forever. Ultimately complicit in shocking acts of torture and murder of girls like herself, Anna realizes she's been shackled after all but to what end? Popovic balances lush, romantic language with gruesome imagery in this tale of innocence lost. While Anna's powerless passivity grows frustrating, her every interaction with Elizabeth is suffused with quiet menace. Readers will likely be inspired to do actual research into Lady Bathory's murderous misdeeds.--Krista Hutley Copyright 2019 Booklist