Alisa M. Libby
Dutton Juvenile/young adult historical fiction
Release Date: August 17, 2006
Erzebet is young, beautiful, rich, and imprisoned in her castle, waiting to be sentenced for murder. In a brilliant fiction debut, Alisa M. Libby resurrects the real-life Erzebet Bathory, a seventeenth-century countess who believed that bathing in human blood would preserve her looks forever. The jailed countess tells her story from her birth, which was overshadowed by a bad omen, to her mother’s mental deterioration, Erzebet’s own love for a mysterious figure, and the crimes she committed in pursuit of eternal life.
This gripping novel combines gothic horror and romance as it explores the connection between beauty and power.
I read this book for October Book Club (pick your own scary book) based on the recommendation of Word Nerd Teen. I had noticed her reading it and, based on the cover, thought it to be a Twilight wanna-be gothic/gore/teen romance. I didn’t really have high expectations.
Thankfully, I was wrong! Although a bit slow in the beginning, once you get into the meat of the story it is delectable. Dark and creepy, with a healthy dose of insanity, it is a page turner. Based on a true story, you know where you are being led, but are nonetheless fearful of what is lurking around each corner of Castle Bizecka.
My favorite part of the book was the very end. I do not want to ruin it for anyone else, so I’ll just say that the Countess comes to two fantastic realizations at the end of her life. The kind of fantastic realizations that make you audibly gasp.
My verdict: Read it! Creepy and cold, this tends to be more “fiction” and less “historic”, but is worth your time if you enjoy stories about insane nobility.