Because of several recommendations, I ordered and decided to read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It was long--just over 600 pages--but the promise of an exciting tale involving Dracula sounded so intriguing, I figured it would still be a quick read. Besides, I rarely shy away from a long book.
It was really long. I started reading the book before Easter and just finished it last week. There was just enough exciting plot development to keep me interested and I kept reading. I have to be completely fair and say that my malfunctioning brain (lack of thyroid medication--I'll write more about that later) probably played a large role in my frustration with the book. Also, I was reading a hardback copy of the book and it was very heavy. I love an actual book but I think this is a time when a electronic reader might have made the reading experience more pleasurable.
After finding a mysterious ancient book in her father's study, a young woman learns more about her father's studies of Dracula, the very famous and apparently very real vampire. Then, her father disappears and despite the very real peril, she sets out to find him.
Elizabeth Kostova is a talented and brilliant writer and this book is jammed packed with historical information and legend regarding the undead. Every detail is fully described. Much of the information is told through letters, documents and second-hand tales which slows down the action but is realistic as to an academic study of a subject. Every now and then something exciting and/or frightening would actually happen as the characters had a brush with a vampire and it would compel me to continue reading the book. The last 200 or so pages of the book were especially exciting and made the entire book worth reading. When I only had 75 pages left to go, I had to wonder how everything could actually be resolved in such a short space, but the ending is absolutely satisfactory.
I am not a fan of the current genre of vampire books, as you know, but I really did end up enjoying The Historian. Dracula is a terrifying creature in life and in death. Now, I'm inspired to get my hands on a copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula.