Dracula in Love
By Karen Essex
I’ll be upfront, I read a few early reviews and wasn’t so sure this book was for me. I decided that I still needed to give it a chance though. After reading it, I decided that it wasn’t the book for me and I like vampire stories and have a very deep affection for Bram Stoker’s Dracula. This book followed the same epistolary style but was told from Mina Murray’s point of view. Mina is a character that I happen to like from the original and that was the reason for my deciding to give it a go.
Mina Murray is teaching and happily waiting to become Mrs. Jonathan Harker and begin her married life. Wanting to be prepared for their future together, Jonathan takes a short sojourn working for a foreign count to help their finances and further his career. While Jonathan is away, Mina visits her friend Lucy Westenra and becomes involved in her friend’s love affairs. She also starts having odd dreams and feelings that she can’t share with anyone. When she gets a letter telling her that Jonathan is gravely ill, she rushes to his side to nurse him back to health. In the coming weeks, Mina’s strange dreams start to become her reality, her husband confesses an affair, her friend dies, and somehow she ends up in an insane asylum. It is then that her dream lover comes to her rescue.
Several of the reviews I read noted the amount of sex; some found it too much, others didn’t seem to think anything of it. The story takes place in Victorian England so sex, while deeply thought about, wasn’t much talked about, and yes, that is a big part of the story here as it was in the original as well. The sex, amount of or lack of depending on how feel about these things, didn’t bother me but the silly references about it were annoying and slightly cumbersome in places.
While most of the same characters appear (Dr. Seward, Arthur Holmwood, Jonathan Harker, Dr.Van Helsing, Lucy Westenra) they have been changed slightly and some have become so maddening that I wanted to slap a few — Seward in particular who seemed to diagnose each and every woman he met with some sex related disease of the mind. What I found annoying about this was that I felt I was once again being reminded about the Victorian sex mindset and I didn’t need that.
The last 100 pages of this book were much better than the 267 preceding pages. And though I won’t mention it here, Mina’s character is given a new, life shall we say, that adds an interesting, if somewhat strange twist, to the story. It didn’t work for me, but as long as you’re not a purist, it probably won’t provide the “really?” moment for you as it did for me.
If you’re looking for a vampire/Dracula story with a little different take, this one might be for you. I found it a bit sluggish but a relatively fast read for a weekend.
This book was sent to me by the publisher for review.