The Secrets of Life and Death written by Rebecca Alexander has two story lines that weave in and out throughout the book; one is set in modern-day England and the other is set in Krakow 1585. The book is a mix of dark fantasy mystery and historical fiction which is really out of my reading comfort zone. I have a really hard time getting into historical fiction books, but I thought I would give this book a try. The synopsis of the story seemed appealing to me: a professor who is called in to identify occult symbols that appear on a deceased girls’ corpse in modern-day and in 1585 an Elizabethan Alchemist and Occultist, Dr John Dee, and his assistant Edward Kelley have been summoned by the King of Poland to save the life of his niece, the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory. I was interested to see how these two story lines would relate to each other, but I have to admit that I just couldn’t get my heart into the story and abandoned it by Chapter 8. I can’t really fault the story line nor the writing because it seemed to be written pretty well from what I read. Unfortunately I just wasn’t a fan of the historical parts of the story and found it difficult to connect to the characters when it bounced to and from time periods. It’s also partly because I started reading it before Christmas and because I had so much on my mind, I was easily distracted.
I’m sure there are many other readers out there that would love this story and from the other reviews I’ve read there are. If you are a fan of historical fiction and don’t mind a story line bouncing from modern-day to olden day, then you might want to give this book a shot. I might come back to it one day and give it a second chance when I have some free time on my hands.
I’m sorry I couldn’t provide a more detailed review but it’s time to move on to the next book!
Note: (I received this book from www.bloggingforbooks.org in exchange for an honest review.)
Happy Friday! Enjoy your weekend.