History paints her as a villainess who murdered her young female servants and bathed in their blood. Evil, ruthless, and vain, Erzsebet Bathory has been considered one of the most evil and vile women in history. Rebecca Johns give Erzsebet the beautiful, complex, and misunderstood countess a different portrayal in her novel "The Countess". "The Countess" takes a look at Erzsebet and provides a more complex look at a woman who supposedly bathed in blood and enjoyed murdering young servant girls.
"The Countess" is told from the perspective of Erzsbet Bathory herself. The novel jumps back and forth between Erzsebet's imprisonment for her heinous crimes and her telling the account of her whole life in writing to her beloved son. Erzsebet grew up with loving parents including a glamorous mother who helped shape her life. Erzsebet was well-educated and a member of one of the most noble houses in Hungary. She was a prize for marriage. At a young age, Erzsebet becomes betrothed to Ferenc Nadasdy, another member of a powerful family. Ferenc and Erzsebet do not hit off as Ferenc prefers the company of the servants girls in the house and Erzsebet dangerously turns to Ferenc's cousin. Erzsebet grows frustrated with the treatment of her ill-bred, ungrateful, and foolish servant girls and with her more trusted servants begins to punish them brutally. Ferenc and Erzsebet eventually bond and grow to love one another, but the death of Ferenc pushes Erzsebet into further desperation. Desperate to protect her children's inheritance and constantly humiliated by those in her life, Erzsebet goes down a dangerous road of punishment towards her servants which leads to a beloved friend and former love betraying her and leading to her downfall and imprisonment. This novel is a full look at the life of Erzsebet.
"The Countess" is an absolutely wonderful novel. Johns provides readers a complex and well-rounded portrayal of Erzsebet. Readers will find themselves sympathizing with Erzsebet as she is constantly humiliated by the people in her life, feeling her frustrations with the haughty and lazy servant girls, and cringing as she unleashes brutal punishment on them. Erzsebet's love for her family and her children shine through as does her intelligence, beauty, and strength. Johns gives readers a fairer portrayal which is more than just a woman who murdered servants and had no care in the world when she did it.
Powerfully written and completely engrossing, "The Countess" is one of those novels you will not want to put down. Johns has completely succeeded in providing a different and fascinating portrayal of Erzsebet Bathory.
To purchase "The Countess": http://www.amazon.com/Countess-Novel-Elizabeth-Bathory/dp/0307588467
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