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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Book Review: Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
ARC, Paperback, 400 pages
Doubleday Publishing
August 10, 2010
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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:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Karen Essex:

leonardo's swans
Leonardo’s Swans



stealing athena
Stealing Athena

Find Karen Essex: Website | Pinterest | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter


Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Great review! I'd really like to read this novel and it's good to read this is a good novel. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I enjoyed this too, & I am not "a vampire" girl. It was a pleasant surprise, and I agree with your assessments that you have made as well.

  3. Glad to see the book continues to delish -- I'm really delaying finishing it. I am slightly annoyed with Lucy -- I rather have a soft spot for her -- but as a creature of the times, her behavior -- while maddening -- seems realistic.

  4. I'm not really a vampire girl myself - but I did enjoy this story. I don't know if I would have enjoyed Dracula by Stoker as much.

  5. It seems I will have to read these books. I think one should read the original Dracula before reading Dracula In Love. One is the basis of the story upon which the other is written. They both sound like a good exploration of the Victorian mind.

    It is late, 2AM and I have been reading Dracula posts and watching scary movie clips. OK, I am spooked. The reason I don't watch those movies or read those books.

  6. This book does sound like one that I would like to read. What intrigues me most is that is does relate to Stoker's Dracula yet is still able to take its own path, and it seems it does it well based on the reviews that I have read.

    I am going to read Stoker's Dracula and then read this one. I am very curious to what I will think.

  7. LibraryPat and Ibeeeg - I would recommend reading Dracula first (especially if you plan on reading both anyway). That way you will know the background of the story and will appreciate the changes Essex made. I didn't do this, but I think my boyfriend has helped with that (I kept peppering him with questions the whole time).

  8. You guys have sold me on reading this one. I'll let you know what I think of it once I do.

  9. Ryan G - Yes! My work here is done, lol. I do hope you will enjoy it.


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