Hello friends! Are you reading The Historian along with me and The Estella Society? This readalong is also a part of RIPVIII.
I am currently 60% through with the book and I a few days late with the discussion questions but I wanted to check in anyway.
1. What do you think of the structure of the novel?
I am loving the story within a story, down the rabbit hole structure of this story. It switches between stories/perspectives enough to maintain suspense and interest without being confusing.
2. What are your thoughts on Helen's characterization? Have you warmed to her?
Actually, it did not occur to me to dislike Helen until I read this question. I never received the overall impression that she was dislikeable, just aloof or stand off-ish. After Kostova developed Helen's character and background more I have grown quite fond of her. I do think she is quite forward for the time period (1950s) and her history of being a women scholar in a communist county doesn't seem very realistic.
3. What do you think of the peripheral characters? Are their motivations pure? (Turget, Helen's family, etc).
I've just started to indulge in the chapters of Helen's family so I haven't fully formed my opinion on them, with the exception of her mother. I do believe her intentions are pure based on the history between her and Rossi. As for the other characters such as Turgut and Professor Hugh came into the story line too easily and offered their backgrounds too readily for me to fully believe they do not have an ulterior motive. Even in the historic academic world I find it hard to believe that anyone will accept the theory that Dracula is still alive. I think their eagerness to assist (monetarily, personally) on this investigation for Dracula is for their benefit rather than Paul's.
4. Other thoughts on this book?
Loving it! I originally read the first 20% or so and set it down for no reason. I picked it back up for this reading challenge and I am so glad I did. I am enthralled in the stories and settings and can't wait to find out. I think it's a great compliment to Kostova that I can fall deeply into her writing (on a topic that seems boring on the surface) for a few hours at a time without losing interest or falling asleep.