This is not your typical light romance novel and it is not for the faint of heart, that said, I will say it is a very good book. Like "50 Shades of Gray", there is reference to very erotic and disturbing BDSM scenes, but in a sense it is actually more appropriate and tastefully done in this book as it reflects the time period and characters involved. Readers should go into this book with an open mind and should also have some prior knowledge of Elizabeth Bathory, who was a notorious serial killer back in the 1600s. If you have some background on her and her crimes then you will appreciate the twisted scenes that are based upon what has been related about her historically. I found them to offer some insights into what she may have been like and why and how the misogyny and brutality of the time period and her strange background may have led to her insanity. Even though the book has startling moments of violence, there is a bit of a bittersweet love story woven into the background between the narrator, Benedict Deseo, and his point of view and back-story of events that involved him and the young Countess Bathory. We also appreciate the quest of a young man, Paul Nadasdy, who is trying to find out the truth about his mother and what really happened to her. Ultimately, there is a reckoning that comes at the end of the story, which leaves the reader an opportunity to imagine a happier ending for the characters (in the style of Atonement) than what may have been the harsh reality. Again, you have to have an open mind and not be squeamish or easily offended by S&M or homo-erotic sexuality to read this book, otherwise you will be deeply disturbed by it. If you can handle or read past certain scenes, then you will enjoy the emotional story behind it. Those who are quick to judge this book negatively simply cannot appreciate the history or back-story behind it.