When I originally decided to write about books here alongside crafting, I’d intended to steer clear of international bestselling authors. I wanted to write about awesome books that people might not have heard about.
But sometimes there are books that just have to be shared with others, even if they are international bestsellers.
So this post is dedicated to two works by Elizabeth Kostova.
I have written about The Historian before (in my Halloween-o-rama, last year) but here I am writing about it again!
I only happened upon this book by chance and nearly put it back on the shelf, until I noticed one of the reviews mentioned Dracula. I’m a fan of vampire fiction, particularly the stuff that involves some history, so I snapped it up!
The story has multiple narratives - that of Paul, his tutor Batholomew Rossi, and Paul’s sixteen year old daughter - but is written in such a way that it doesn’t become confusing. They search for Dracula’s resting place...Meanwhile, Dracula is searching for a librarian.
Mystery surrounds the characters of the books--what happened to Paul’s wife, the secret behind the strange book marked with a dragon that appeared on Rossi’s shelf, and then the next that appeared for Paul...mystery and history come together to take the characters on a journey from America into Europe, through England and France, into Turkey, Romania and Bulgaria, countries traditionally at the very heart of Dracula’s history.
This book is a total dream.
It lacks the vampire-and-human romantic sub-plot often found in vampire fiction, instead we are presented with a marvellously descriptive tale packed with history and character. Just like a vampire, this story draws you in and before you know it, you would be captivated. Putting this book down is incredibly hard to do!
The Swan Thieves
There are three similarities with this book and The Historian: the author, the multiple narratives, and mystery. Other than that, this is completely different to The Historian.
The Swan Thieves is about a psychiatrist named Andrew Marlowe, and his new patient, Robert Oliver, an artist recently arrested for attacking a painting in the National Gallery of Art. Robert Oliver refuses to speak of what drove him to the attack, which leads Andrew to speak to those closest to Robert Oliver. Through doing so, he discovers Robert’s past, his passions, and slowly unravels the mystery surrounding a young woman in the time of the French Impressionists.
Once again the tale takes us on an international journey, its multiple narratives set in America, France and more.
Kostova’s style of writing tends very much towards the intellectual and descriptive rather than drama and action, which leads to a very fulfilling and inspiring read.
If you only read one of these books, read: The Historian if you’re into vampires, The Swan Thieves if you’re into art and psychology. Either if you enjoy mystery.