The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

I started reading The Historian in January when my mother-in-law suggested it to me. She told me it was about Dracula, and I had heard great reviews, so I was very eager. It fit with my 2017 reading challenge for quite a few categories including : “A book that is a story within a story,” “A book involving travel,” and “A book about an interesting woman.” I borrowed a hardback copy from her, however, after I had finished the book, I realized that I had a paperback copy on my own bookshelf. It is a hefty book and took me about 3 weeks to complete, but it was well worth the time, and I was constantly thinking about it when I wasn’t able to read.

In this novel, a young woman comes across an ancient text in her father’s library leading her into a dark and twisted world full of secrets and danger. Elizabeth Kostova creates an amazing world in this book, and leads the reader through a labyrinth of truths and half-truths. I made a few guesses at the truth and was always wrong. I loved the glimpses into other cultures, and history. This was definitely an involved story, and it was beautifully written. Elizabeth touches on some great perspectives of gender roles, mythology, perspectives on “backwards” cultures, love and romance, coming of age. I loved the descriptions, and felt immersed in each individual culture as the perspectives, time periods, etc. changed.

Kostova uses two interesting methods of storytelling in this novel. A large portion of the story is retold from the main character’s father, and later in the novel the story is told through letters from the father as well as other characters. The retelling builds the reader’s relationship with the father, drawing us into his plight and stress over the resurfacing of the book. The letters divulge information that would have otherwise been inaccessible by our protagonist, and give tantalizing puzzle pieces daring our reader to find the solution before the characters do.

I would 100% recommend this book as it was a lot of fun to read. I hadn’t read a hefty book in a while, and this one really hit the spot. Definitely has some mature themes, so I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 18. While some may say it’s just another vampire story, the depth and history involved in the story makes this read more like a historical fiction, and I am certain it would appeal to a wide audience of readers.

Have you read The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova, or are you going to add it to your reading list? What did you think of it? I would love to hear, so let me know below!

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