This is another novel I picked up based simply on the fact that is was a suggested read as being similar to The Shadow of the Wind. While The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is similar in that it is based about a book and features a mystery with detective work, it is quite different as well.
Yes, The Historian is about Dracula, however, there are many times I completely forgot that it was. Kostova’s writing is lovely and the way she describes the vast locales of Europe that the novel takes you is very enjoyable. I must also confess that I am a bit of a history nerd and I loved how much it stayed true to the novel’s title.
The Historian takes place in libraries, churches and train stations, while telling a story within a story. A sizable chunk is also in letters, which adds another dimension. However, because of this and due to the fact that sometimes the historical aspects went off on a tangent, the novel is very dense (my copy was 900 pages) and I felt a bit of it could have been edited. Also, despite the long build up and slow unravel of the mystery, the ending felt a bit rushed. It left me wanting more of the aftermath.
I’ve never been interested in vampires of Dracula, however, I really enjoyed this novel. The locales, the writing, history and the page-turning mystery were all very entertaining.