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The Countess

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3.49  ·  Rating details ·  1,969 ratings  ·  300 reviews
Was the “Blood Countess” history’s first and perhaps worst female serial killer? Or did her accusers create a violent fiction in order to remove this beautiful, intelligent, ambitious foe from the male-dominated world of Hungarian politics?
 
In 1611, Countess Erzsébet Báthory, a powerful Hungarian noblewoman, stood helpless as masons walled her inside her castle tower, doom
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Hardcover, 284 pages
Published October 12th 2010 by Crown (first published 2010)
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Tristan Robin Blakeman Yes - though a very young reader might not be able to grasp the nuances of arranged marriages and the implied requirement that a male heir be produced…moreYes - though a very young reader might not be able to grasp the nuances of arranged marriages and the implied requirement that a male heir be produced by the bride.(less)

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3.49  · 
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 ·  1,969 ratings  ·  300 reviews


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Laura
Nov 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I read mostly literary writing, and this novel is no exception. So if you're expecting a gothic novel about vampires or a thriller about cold blooded murders, you'll probably be disappointed both by the book and by this review.

The Countess is a fictionalized memoir of a real life Hungarian countess who came to be known as "the blood countess" on account of the many murders of young servant girls attributed to her. She is also the likely prototype of the "evil stepmother" so frequently seen in al
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Autumn
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: general-fiction
The back cover copy promised depraved cruelty. The flap copy hinted at a dark and sadistic relationship. What I wanted was a tale of Bathory that offered an explanation for at least some of the bloodcurdling rumors that surround her name.

And when Erzsébet and her husband find the missing erotic spark to their marriage through her degrading and painful punishment of a servant girl, I thought the novel was on the right track. This is it, I thought, two sadists who meet and fall in love with each
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Pinkerton
Scritto bene, ho letto con piacere questa retrospettiva sulla contessa, narrata direttamente da lei! Durante gli ultimi giorni di prigionia. Ma… già, c’è un ma… l’ho trovata anche inconcludente. Tendenzialmente il racconto si sofferma sui dettagli più frivoli o gli episodi mondani, affrontando quasi con trascuratezza la parte che ha reso così famigerata la nobildonna - che si giustifica e al contempo si professa indirettamente coinvolta, e solo a causa “dell’eccesso di zelo” delle sue subordinat ...more
Marianna
Non completamente da buttare, perché è ambientato in Ungheria, una terra secondo me ricca di spunti ma della quale in letteratura non si parla mai; inoltre nonostante non sia per niente un horror come viene venduto e abbia anche pochissimo dello storico, è scritto bene ed è scorrevole, con dei buoni dialoghi e dei personaggi abbastanza credibili, tolta la protagonista - anche se verso la fine l'autrice era diventata brodosa, ma fortunatamente se n'è resa conto e ha chiuso il romanzo. Nella prima ...more
Amanda Lila
Jun 01, 2015 rated it liked it

The Countess tells the story of Erzsebet Bathory, a woman from a Hungarian noble family, who is often called Countess Dracula because of all the lives of young women she is said to have taken.

The book shows Erzsebet's life from nine years of age to fifty-four. At first, you can only see small glimpses of her ruthless character. Of course, since she is the one to tell the story she isn't quite a reliable character and tries to manipulate us into thinking her as a peaceful and innocent women doin
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Rachel
Feb 06, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Countess: A Novel by Rebecca Johns is a novel about the life of Countess Erzsebet Bathory. Before I review the book let me give you some background information.

Most people don't know much about Countess Erzsebet Bathory. She was a Hungarian countess that lived from 1560-1614. She was accused of torturing and murdering hundreds of young virgin girls. There is evidence that she mistreated and killed many of her servants but most her crimes have probably been greatly exaggerated and made into a
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eleonora -
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Mai giudicare un personaggio dalla copertina.
Già. Perché arrivo a tali momenti di superficialità anche io, che vi credete? La contessa nera non ha nulla a che fare con la modella in copertina: la contessa ha gli occhi e i capelli scuri, la modella ha i capelli rossi e gli occhi verdi... Perché non si sono impegnati a trovarne un'altra, vi chiederete? Non lo so. Queste cose di marketing non le capisco.
Ma non si ferma tutto qui, perché se faccio un discorso superficiale lo faccio perché ha un suo
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C.W.
Nov 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tackling the infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory is no mean feat. Notorious for her alleged serial killing spree of over a hundred servant girls, in whose blood she supposedly bathed to retain her youth, doesn't exactly make for a sympathetic heroine. In Ms John's second novel THE COUNTESS, however, she attempts to do just that, rescuing the countess from the dark myth surrounding her to present a more balanced look of a strong but fettered young woman bartered into marriage for the sake of fami ...more
Rukhsana  Sukhan
This book tells the tale of a deeply flawed woman. Indeed, the interesting part of her narrating her own story seems, to me, her denial. She proves herself a rather unreliable narrator, focussing on the parts of her story she wishes to emphasize, minimizing those actions of hers that add up to her monstrosity. At the beginning of her story, one cannot help but empathize with Erzsebet. As the story unfolds, however, her claims of righteousness become more and more unbelievable. Having finished re ...more
K likes Tea
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I was very excited to read this book about the Coutness Bathory of Hungary, often referred to as the first felmale serial killer. Having a Hungarian heritage, I was very earger to know the true story about the Countess and the many murders she was accused of. Well, this book did not satisfy my curiosity. This reads more like a historical romance than a murder mystery. Esterbet doesn't even kill her first victim till 200 pages into the novel! In the whole book, only a dozen pages or so even detai ...more
Jen
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
Novels with unreliable narrators are always a puzzle. Is the storyteller crazy, or lying, or both? The truth is somewhere in there, but where? The story begins with Elizabeth imprisoned in a tower for the murders of dozens of young female servants. But is she guilty? Elizabeth tells her life story through her letters to her son. At first, Elizabeth seems like a sane, normal woman under an unusual amount of pressure. Singlehandedly managing half a dozen estates while your husband is away fighting ...more
Daark
Apr 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I think the author pretty much just read Tony Thorne's bio of Elizabeth Bathory, "Countess Dracula," and turned it into a fiction book (she even has the same trivial details as Thorne, such as list of food items brought in for a banquet). The portrayal of Bathory is the same old (new) portrayal we've been seeing in a recent spate of new movies, such as "The Countess" and "Bathory," in which the world's worst female serial killer is presented with this softer, gentler side, as if all of her crime ...more
Michele
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Meh. Still looking for a good novel about The Countess of Bathory. This one is told in first person and while well-written (dialog, etc), it starts with her early childhood and then as it progresses into her adulthood, it inexplicably covers about 25 years in just a couple of pages. All of her middle years are really skipped, with just a small mention of her children being born.

Now, as to her supposed atrocities, they are pretty much glossed over until the end of the novel....kind of written in
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Calypso
"A Condessa" foi mais um daqueles livros que me chamou a atenção pela capa e somente depois pela sinopse. Contudo, esperava um livro diferente, mais brutal, mais negro, mais sangrento. Ainda assim, foi uma leitura agradável e da qual posso dizer que gostei.
Margaret
Este livro foi uma verdadeira desilusão! Na capa diz “a mulher que inspirou Drácula de Bram Stoker. Um romance fascinante e macabro sobre a primeira assassina em série da História”. Com este texto chamativo, estava à espera de muito sangue, terror, e uma personagem principal inesquecível na sua maldade. Puro engano!

A tal assassina em série é Erzsébert Báthory, uma condessa húngara nascida na segunda metade do século XVI que foi emparedada viva na torre do seu castelo após ter sido acusada de ass
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Patrícia Braz
Aug 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.7 stars
Eileen
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Mmmmmeeehhhh!

I have always been interested in the story of the Countess Bathory so when i saw this book I just had to buy it. It started off slow but as soon as I was about to loose interest the story begins to pick up and even get a little juicy. In a weird it was kind of like reading about the latest gossip but not really. Its hard to describe the feeling I had when I read certain sections. Rebecca Johns makes the book a smooth read although I can not say that I was not disappointed in the por
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Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
Some of you may know of the Blood Countess or the Countess Dracula, the most prolific female serial killer of all time. Born in the Kingdom of Hungary in 1560, she was accused of killing hundreds of young women and some accounts say she murdered up to 650 victims.

When she was eventually caught and faced trial in 1609, she was walled up in a tower in solitary confinement until her death five years later in 1614. It was said Bathory bathed in the blood of her victims to preserve her beauty, but wh
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Kristin
Oct 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I went to high school with the author!

The Countess: A Novel tells the tale of Erzsébet Báthory, the Blood Countess, of Hungary. I had never heard of the countess, so I was eager to read this book. I seem to have a fascination for evil people and what makes them tick. And, with a moniker like the "Blood Countess" I was anticipating some True Blood type antics throughout the novel. While I am not a sadist or masochist, I enjoy reading about the cruelties humans perpetrate upon each other.


I truly
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Kiesha ~ 1Cheekylass
I really enjoyed this one. Although historical fiction, many of the items are true to history (as we know it of course). I felt that the author did a great job giving us the background of the woman who would come to be known as Countess Dracula. I especially found the gypsy story at the beginning of the book interesting; although I don't know if it's true or not. If it is true then it shows that even as a young girl, she had a cruel streak. If not then the author cleverly inserted a little ficti ...more
Elli
Aug 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Countess by Rebecca Johns. 3.5 actually. It's the story of Elisabeth Bartoldy told through her own eyes as a memoir, being bricked up in a tower of one of her own castles and told she would not leave alive. This was based on 3 books of her and the period itself. One was about aristocratic children in the beginning of the early modern era in Hungary, how they were raised, what was expected of them, and how they were supposed to live their lives, and cruelty to serfs was not illegal. It was co ...more
Theresa
Actual rating 4.5 stars but rounding up to 5

I'm trying to be very fair in this review, but it's hard when you absolutely are enthralled with the subject of the book you've just read. I'm trying to separate my enjoyment of anything with an Eastern European historical setting and the actual book. I think it's only fair that this book be graded on the same level as others I read. So with that in mind I have cut it some some slack in a couple of areas. There was a minor error in a pronunciation key
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Carla Faleiro
"A mulher que inspirou Drácula..." Foi esta frase que me atraiu para a leitura deste livro!
A relação entre Drácula e a Condessa? Na minha opinião é absolutamente nenhuma!! Falam-nos de uma assassina em série...Erzsébet Báthory castigava severamente as suas criadas quando estas roubavam ou tinham relações sem serem casadas, algumas eram tão severamente castigadas que entravam em coma e acabavam por morrer. Naquele tempo eram normais os catigos aplicados pelos grandes senhores aos seus criados.
E
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Read It Forward
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Such a fascinating, page-turning novel. I didn't know about Countess Erzsébet Báthory before reading Rebecca Johns' novel - what a fascinating (terrifying!) woman. This is unlike any historical fiction I've read before - it's keeping me up at night! Can't wait to finish it.
Alex
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually don't read period pieces but I loved every second of this! Love the language of the author and the way the characters are brought to life.
Gaetano
Se è vero che Satana si aggira per il mondo indossando il più umano e seducente dei travestimenti, non poteva che scegliere la contessa Báthory.

L’autrice, l’americana Rebecca Johns, in questo libro del 2010, ci trasporta nel lontano 1600, in una Ungheria ben descritta storicamente, dove la protagonista, la famosa contessa Erzsébet Báthory, ci narra in prima persona la sua storia, fornendoci, indirettamente, un suo profilo psicologico. A volte inquietante.

Non aspettatevi un romanzo di vampiri, an
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Cioranu Mariana
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ma asteptam la ceva mult mai sangeros, insa am ramas placut surprinsa. Este primul roman istoric la care ma incumet si pot sa afirm ca daca toate cartile de istorie s-ar scrie la modul acesta, sunt convinsa ca ne-am cunoaste mult mai bine trecutul si poate nu am mai repeta la nesfarsit aceleasi greseli.
Annalisa Turner
Jun 08, 2018 rated it liked it
It was good, a nice idea of what might be the truth according to the Blood Countess. But it was a little bit drawn out. Overall a decent read for relaxing.
Bookworm
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Countess: A Novel of Elizabeth Bathory was a creepy read that left me feeling unsettled.
The book is based on the real life of Hungarian Countess Erzsébet Báthory who was also known as the Blood Countess. Erzsébet who was an educated and wealthy woman who came from noble blood, is known as one of the most famous female serial killers in history.

The story starts in 1611 when Erzsébet is imprisoned in a tower in Hungary for her crimes. She is sentenced to live the remainder of her life in this
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Savina
Jan 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, history, own-owned
2nd book drawn and read from my Book Jar.

On the back of the book, a critic writes that Rebecca Johns manages to make the reader sympathetic to the Countess's story and she does just that. Written from the Countess's point of view, we see a different side to the famous woman history has known her as 'The Blood Countess'. Not once has the Countess mentioned how she wanted to remain youthful and planned to do so by bathing in the blood of her victims. It was an interesting read to see a different
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Rebecca Johns is the author of two novels, Icebergs (Bloomsbury USA, 2006), which was a PEN/Hemingway Finalist, and The Countess (Crown 2010), which has been translated around the world. Her writing has appeared in Ploughshares, the Mississippi Review, and Narrative, and numerous commercial magazines and newspapers such as Bride's, Cosmopolitan, Fitness, Mademoiselle, Self, Seventeen and Woman's D ...more
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“Beauty was a curse to be borne, not a blessing.” 9 likes
“Even if God forgives you, you do not forgive yourself. You live in your sorrow like a room of mirrors that reflects on and on to eternity.” 3 likes
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