Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Historian Read-a-long and Midway Check-in

The Estella Society,who's hosting the R.I.P. VIII read-a-long, checks in with us and asks us a few questions:

1. What do you think of the structure of the novel? It’s a story within a story (sort of within a story). We have Professor Rossi’s storyline, Paul’s reflections, and the daughter’s adventures. And letters. There’s a lot going on! 

The structure was really interesting at first, but as the novel goes on, I'm finding the epistolary nature of the story a bit credulous. It's also a bit confusing trying to remember what story we're in and who's talking, which document or letter is being referred to...
2. What are your thoughts on Helen’s characterization? Have you warmed to her?

I liked Helen from the start. I assume Kostova is setting her up to be the mother. She's sassy and interesting. I like strong female characters.
3. What do you think of the peripheral characters? Are their motivations pure? I’m thinking of Turget, Helen’s family members, etc.

I'm trying to be an idealist! So I'm hoping these periphery characters are all on the up and up. I just find it so mysterious that so many people are and have been pursuing Vlad aka Dracula all this time. I guess I'm just not sure on where their motivations lie...Good is what I'm hoping for :)
4. Other thoughts on this book?

It's fascinating, for sure. I'm enjoying the travel from place to place. She really makes me want to travel to the Romanian mountains and Bulgaria and Turkey! Two complaints: The first I made reference to in question 1, but the other complaint is it drags a bit in the middle. But really amazing, overall, that this is her first novel! Just wow.

I'm so curious how it's all going to end!


  1. I like Helen too. She doesn't cry or whine, but is pretty self-sufficient.

    I read Kostova's second navel a few years back - the Swan Thieves? I think that is what it was called. I have to say I enjoy this novel more as it is a much quicker pace with several more characters.

  2. I am definitely feeling the travel bug as I read this book too!


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