Count and Countess (Rose Christo)

Count and Countess is an epistolary novel that describes the never-fulfilled romance between Vladislaus Drakulya, Prince of Wallachia, and Elizabeth Bathory, Princess of Hungary, who find as children that though they are separated from each other by a hundred years, they can send letters to each other. It is part historical fiction/alternate history and part paranormal romance; but more Wuthering Heights with gore than Twilight, and not just because it takes great care never to mention the word vampire.

I found this book on tvtropes – I don’t think it even has a wikipedia page – fell in love with the premise, and immediately bought it from the Kindle Store. It’s gory from start to finish, but the character development is the interesting part; they grow from somewhat entitled, slightly abnormal kids in trying circumstances to being simply deranged and psychopathic, holding onto each other all the more desperately as everything else falls apart. I wouldn’t say it paints a sympathetic portrait of the characters – hard to, when it describes so calmly how Elizabeth kills her ladies in waiting, or Vlad impales thousands of Turkish men, women and children, or how he decorates his dining halls with the heads of his page boys and doesn’t understand why his guests leave before the dinner is over- but it certainly shows a side to them that’s interesting. Elizabeth, especially, is more tragic than horrific, and even Vlad, as he ends the book saying that he looks forward to finally being with her in hell as he knows neither of them are destined for heaven, evokes a certain pity.

There’s plenty more on the tvtropes page linked above, but at $2.99, I would just advise anyone who finds this interesting to buy and read it.