When Anna Darvulia, daughter of a peasant midwife, gets summoned in the night to attend to the Countess Elizabeth Bathory, she learns a secret that she promises to keep.
In turn, she earns the favor of the Countess, a woman she greatly admires. Although Countess Bathory seems a tad dangerous, she is also glamorous and powerful. A combination young Anna is in awe of.
Before too long, due to her strong first impression, Anna is summoned by the Countess again. This time to go and live in the castle as one of her scullery maids.
Once there, Anna’s relationship with Elizabeth continues to grow. Ultimately, she is selected to be her chambermaid, a huge step up in position and responsibility.
As the relationship turns romantic in nature, Anna begins to be swayed to do things for Elizabeth that she would have never guessed herself capable of.
Elizabeth is cruel and hot headed, but Anna sometimes has a hard time recognizing those flaws within her. In her search for the key to vitality however, she goes too far, and Anna finally sees her for who, or what, she truly is.
This book was good, but it was not what I expected it to be. While I feel I was pitched an historical YA horror novel, what I actually got was straight YA historical fiction with a hint of romance.
I definitely would not classify this as a horror story, so if that is what you are looking for you may want to look elsewhere.
The writing was pleasing, but it was very, very slow. I kept waiting for something big to happen and it just never did. There was nothing mysterious, suspenseful or haunting about this.
It felt like a love story gone wrong. Anna fell in love with the wrong person, end of story. Of course we all know Elizabeth Bathory was insane, so really nothing surprising there.
I don’t know. I think if I had gone into this, thinking gothic historical fiction, as opposed to horror , I may have been less disappointed.
It’s not a bad book. It’s a good story, it just read slow for me and I sort of lost interest. I think this would be a great place for younger readers to start who are looking to get into darker works of fiction however.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Amulet Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate the opportunity!