ARC, Paperback, 400 pages
August 10, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Source: Received from publisher for review
“London, 1890. Mina Murray, the rosy-cheeked, quintessentially pure Victorian heroine, becomes Count Dracula’s object of desire. To preserve her chastity, five male “defenders” rush in to rescue her from the vampire’s evil clutches. This is the version of the story we've been told. But now, from Mina’s own pen, we discover that the story is vastly different when told from the female point of view.
In this captivating, bold act of storytelling, award-winning author Karen Essex breathes startling new life into the characters of Bram Stoker's Dracula, transporting the reader into the erotic and bizarre underbelly of the original story. While loosely following the events of its classic predecessor, Dracula in Love deviates from the path at every turn”
In many ways Dracula in Love corresponds with the original Dracula by Bram Stoker – and then there are the amazing ways that it charts its own path. The general plot of the story follows the Stoker original, but the details in between are purely Essex’s.
The story is told in the form of a diary with our narrator being Mina Murray (later Harker). At times, the fourth wall is broken and the narrator speaks directly to the audience (this is a feature that I enjoy in many books. You feel like you are part of the story). I think that while the plot is superb, the characters are the essence of this novel.
This is definitely a 100% character driven story. I found it to be more of a story of Mina finding out who she really was. Early on, she seemed to be living the life that was expected of her by society and those around her. As the story progressed, and definitely by the ending, she figured out how to define herself without the constraints of society and seemed to be much happier for all of her experiences and really find her place in the world. I was absolutely surprised by the characterization of Dracula. Having never read the original novel or seen any movies, I didn’t really have a sense of who Dracula was. I expected him to be really creepy, scary. I also expected there to be much more blood and gore, as well as the expected huge “kill him” scene. But that was not the Dracula that Essex creates. Her Dracula was passionate, forever in love with Mina, and actually a pretty decent guy (except his anger).
I have to warn you, this wouldn’t be a complete review if I didn’t, there is quite a lot of sex in this novel – but it is very well done. I feel that it was appropriate to tell her story – repressed Victorian ideals on the surface, sexuality underneath.
I really loved the ending of the book – it is funny, ironic, and appropriate. It brings the novel full circle and absolutely addresses Stoker’s novel. I think you will love it.
You can read an excerpt of the prologue and chapter 1 to get excited about this book.
Here is the trailer:
Also today, during Dracula week, you can check out history and mythology of Dracula over at Lions and Men.
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Also by Karen Essex: