The Historian – Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian is a Dracula story mixed in with a family mystery and the love story of the parents. A sense of historical placement is given by the impact the Iron Curtain has on the parents, but not the daughter as they try to escape the position they are trapped in. The tale is told from the point of view of the daughter as she unravels the mystery involved with her mother, and how it joins with Dracula’s history.

The main characters are all sharp and intelligent, with the main problems that befall them being created by each other, rather than an ability to avoid foreseeable problems. This combines with a fantastically rich sense of place to give a book where it is possible to forget that you are only reading.

The level of realism found in the book is such that I very much regretted reading it at home on a dark evening: in spite of myself I was checking the doors and windows, and that I had garlic handy.

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