Dracula in Love
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: July 2011 (hardcover: August 2010)
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Pages: 384 (paperback)
Author Site: http://www.karenessex.com/
My Rating: 3.25/5
Source: Received for review from Historical Fiction Book Tours
In this wonderfully transporting novel, award-winning author Karen Essex turns a timeless classic inside out, spinning a haunting, erotic, and suspenseful story of eternal love and possession.
From the shadowy banks of the river Thames to the wild and windswept Yorkshire coast, Dracula’s eternal muse, Mina Murray, vividly recounts the intimate details of what really transpired between her and the Count—the joys and terrors of a passionate affair that has linked them through the centuries, and her rebellion against her own frightening preternatural powers.
Mina’s version of this gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into Victorian England’s dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and asylum chambers, revealing the dark secrets and mysteries locked within. Time falls away as she is swept into a mythical journey far beyond mortal comprehension, where she must finally make the decision she has been avoiding for almost a millennium.
Bram Stoker’s classic novel offered one side of the story, in which Mina had no past and bore no responsibility for the unfolding events. Now, for the first time, the truth of Mina’s personal voyage, and of vampirism itself, is revealed. What this flesh and blood woman has to say is more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than the Victorians could have expressed or perhaps even have imagined.
While I have the original story of Dracula sitting on my bookshelf I have yet had the chance to read it. The only prior knowledge I have of Bram Stoker's work is through the movie featuring Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder...(yes, I liked it). Having said that I think I would have liked to have the prior knowledge of the original story. But even without it, Dracula in Love was a really interesting story from Mina's point of view. Not only was the point of view different but the entire idea of Mina and the Count being lovers through time was a twist I came to enjoy.
Looking at Dracula in Love without basing my opinion on any other adaptation is rather easy. I found the beginning of the novel more enjoyable than the ending and that sort of disappointed me. I liked the description of Mina's past and how she grew up. I found myself really liking her simple and calm personality though her childhood wasn't favorable. I didn't mind the overall feminist feel of the story either. Mina even goes as far to tell the reader that everything we know about the tale is false... It was an interesting twist.
But the let down started happening when the Count and Mina finally came together...The intrigue, passion, and mystery surrounding their relationship was built up so nicely. But I felt their relationship sort of fell flat after a while. The passion was still between them and the obvious love between the Count and Mina was present and it was even romantic...but I just didn't feel the "oomph" I felt in the beginning. I was quite surprised at how much I actually got into reading about the women in the asylum. I can only imagine what the research was like for Karen Essex.
Overall, Dracula in Love was a nice read. I liked the characters but never really got attached or involved with them. I liked some of the things Karen Essex with with the mysticism and lore of vampires and magic but sometimes things got a little lost for me. I'll definitely be reading more about Dracula and Karen's other work. I like her writing style and I'm looking forward to reading the other time periods she has written about. I think a lot of people will enjoy the different adaptation Karen provides in Dracula in Love.