Elizabeth Kostova’s first novel can’t be faulted for ambitious reach. An unnamed girl’s search for her missing father brings her to discover his own similar quest, decades earlier, to unearth the truth behind his mentor’s mysterious disappearance...and all of it leads to Dracula. It’s an intriguing premise, but it’s too often weighed down by the volume of Eastern European historical detail that Kostova seems to feel is necessary to give the story authenticity. Most of the story is told through letters and documents: the girl discovers her father’s journals, which recount what was in his mentor’s journals, which recap older documents...and so on. (Those are the layers upon layers of backstory that drove me away from the novel six years ago,) I’m a fan of the epistolary novel as a form--although, in real life, I’ve rarely encountered letters and journals as well-crafted, informative, and detailed as the ones fictional characters seem to leave for one another all the time, and I think I resent that just a little--but it does seem to lend itself to “tell” as opposed to “show,” and I felt that The Historian fell into that trap too often.