Unbeknownst to me… this was the PERFECT read to welcome Fall and start off my Spooky October Reads . The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, is a great book in so many ways and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I first heard about this book on What Should I Read Next Podcast with Mel Joulwan, and she described this book very vaguely but I was so intrigued with her description of it that I actually phoned the local used bookstore to see if they had it and put it on hold for me. SO. GLAD. I. DID.
Here are some things you should know before you pick it up:
- It flips back and forth between time periods.
- It has some descriptive, scary moments.
- There are letters sprinkled throughout.
- It’s almost 700 pages long!
The Historian is the perfect blend of thriller, suspense, history, and some romance sprinkled in there as well. This book is first one to become number one on the New York Times Bestsellers list as a debut novel. It took her 10 years to research and produce this wonderful piece of literature. And the reason I think it was number one is that it speaks to many different types of genres, and it’s just a great story.
The plot blends the history and folklore of Vlad Țepeș and his fictional equivalent Count Dracula, and the story of a father/daughter relationship and how it is changed through finding a deep dark secret. This secret takes this father and daughter around Europe from monasteries, old libraries, and old family letters.
When you handle books all day long, every new one is a friend and a temptation.
Have you ever read a book that makes you think… Wow, this author must just love books! Well, that’s the feeling I had the whole time I read this novel. Her descriptions of libraries and even the feel of an old in book in your hands was just magical.
The other thing that this novel did an amazing job of was making me want to jump up off my couch and get on a plane to Eastern Europe. Kostova’s description of Budapest, Bulgaria, England, and Paris were enough to make you feel as if you were looking at this setting… which as someone who is very interested in that part of the world was absolutely captivating. I found myself looking up maps on the internet just to get a feel of the journey they were taking, and the exact landscape she was describing.
It was good to walk into a library again; it smelled like home.
I would not describe myself as a person who is interested in vampires and what not… but I sure do love a great story that is told around the legend of Dracula. And holy smokes, did I ever learn a lot!! For example, did you know that Dracula is actually based off a horrific historical figure?!? I sure didn’t, but now after reading this well researched novel I have learned so much about where Bram Stoker found his inspiration for the story of Dracula.
Ooops, I lied, one more thing that I loved about this story is the father/daughter relationship. We often read so many stories based on mother/child relationships that it was so interesting to read this story, and be reminded of the love a father has for his child. Elizabeth Kostova was actually inspired to write this book because her father told night time stories about Dracula. And I just thought this was just a tribute to the love that she holds for her father.
After I finished this novel I found a podcast episode that had Elizabeth Kostova being interviewed, and discussing her novel(s). A side note… this podcast do not contain spoilers! It was the Professional Book Nerds: Episode 93.
Anywho, that’s all for today! Happy reading!