Blood Countess (A Lady Slayers Novel)

Written by Lana Popovic
Review by Linnea Tanner

Blood Countess is a historical tale of gothic suspense and horror set in 16th-century Hungary. Sixteen-year-old Anna, a gifted healer, comes to the attention of Countess Elizabeth Báthory in a chance encounter on her wedding day to Lord Nadasdy. A few years later, Anna secretly treats Elizabeth’s grievously ill bastard son and is lured into serving the upper-class household of the Countess and her husband. As the primary provider for her destitute family, Anna first labors in the kitchen and then rises to the position as Elizabeth’s chambermaid. The beguiling Countess spins Anna into her web of debauchery as they become lovers and companions in search of eternal youth. Ultimately, Anna must find a way to escape the clutches of the Countess and redeem herself.

Author Lana Popovic skillfully spins horror into this cautionary tale about Anna’s struggles to find her humanity in an aristocratic world mired in darkness and that is manipulated by the Countess and her vindictive husband. The rich metaphors such as “I tread through a spider’s web” evocatively set the gothic tone of the story told in Anna’s first-person perspective. Readers are swept into the whirlwind of Anna’s madness as she struggles to reconcile Elizabeth’s charm with her sadistic treatment of servants. The torture scenes described in the narrative can be disturbing but add gravity to Anna’s complicit participation in bloody murders and the fight for her soul.

Blood Countess is a haunting depiction of the reputed serial killer Countess Elizabeth and her seduction of a naïve young woman into her unhinged world. Mature teens and adults who are fascinated with historical tales steeped with visceral horror and suspense should enjoy this book.