A Reader's Respite has been running into a spate of bad historical fiction lately. Recently, we BookMooched (is that a real verb?) a historical fiction novel entitled Bathory: Memoir of a Countess.
Familiar with the story of the Countess? Allow us to present the Reader's Respite Version:
Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian Countess in the late 16th century who had a bit of a mean streak in her. Little factual information is known about her (the records are allegedly kept under lock and key by the Hungarian government), but the legends that have sprouted up about her are pretty wild.
She liked to kill young girls. Preferably via torture. One wild rumor has it that she liked to take relaxing evening baths in the blood of young virgins. Perhaps as many as 600 of them in her lifetime (although that number seems a little unreal, doesn't it?)
Despite her fantastical reputation, not too much has been written about this little vixen. A Reader's Respite had heard of Mordeaux's Bathory: Memoir of a Countess, so we thought we'd give it a read since the subject seemed a little Halloween-ish and creepy.
Holy. Mother. of . God.
This book really should have been marketed as a Pornography/BDSM book. Not that we have any problem with the pornography genre, we just appreciate it when it isn't masquerading as historical fiction.
Every wild-ass rumor about the Crazy Countess made it's way into this book, no matter how stomach-churning the detail. And trust us on this, it takes an uber-strong stomach to make it through the first chapter.
But aside from the over-the-top, going-for-shock-value details, this was just plain bad historical fiction. No matter how hard we try, we simply cannot imagine the Countess's husband telling her that she seems "stressed." Hardly the vernacular of 1600 Hungary.
Never mind that "influenza" wasn't even a term used until the 18th century or that young, unmarried, blue-blooded girls are running around unchaperoned. And with every other person killed being a servant of the Crazy Countess, how on earth did she ever fill her staff? In her case, good help was really hard to find.
Good grief, folks, this book was a mess.
When A Reader's Respite finds a good novel about this Joan-Crawford-Runs-Amok, we'll let you know. In the meantime, skip this one if you have any self-respect at all.
No. We wouldn't wish this book upon any of our loyal, fabulous readers. Instead, we're giving it to Misfit to return this favor.
Paybacks are hell.