'Dracula in Love'
Author: Karen Essex
Published: Anchor; July 2011
Genre: Paranormal; Historical fiction
Synopsis: This variation on Bram Stoker’s Dracula tells the story from Mina Murray Harker’s point of view. As a child, Wilhemina was given to strange dreams and sleepwalking, which so alarmed her parents that at age seven she was sent to a boarding school for young ladies to “learn to control herself and her urges.” And she did become a proper young lady, with a proper fiancé, a young solicitor named Jonathan Harker. But the bewildering dreams continue, and one summer, which she is spending in Yorkshire with her friend Lucy Westerna, she sees a mysterious shipwreck at Whitby. After that the dreams become more like memories, and a presence, which she cannot see, follows her. Essex, who has been praised for her historical novels, has drawn a detailed picture of England at the end of the nineteenth century, including some of the horrendous psychological practices introduced from Germany. Essex’s twist on Stoker’s plot is sufficiently original, and the quality of her writing makes this novel stand out among the vampire offerings.
My Take: It's not often that I read vampire books. Halloween hit and I felt the need to pick one up. Granted this review is a little after Halloween! You all will have to forgive me but the urge to pick this one up struck me on Halloween and then it took me awhile to actually read it! This is not because I wasn't enjoying it but because now that the time change hit, every time I pick a book up at night I get sleepy because it's so darn dark and cold out! I read about 20 pages before wanting to conk out for the night. Do you guys have that problem? Normally I do most of my reading when I go to bed, getting anywhere from 50-100 pages read in one night. This is really putting a damper on my progress! Anyway enough of that, let's talk about the book.
We have Mina. She is our leading lady and has always had some visions which make her know that she is a little different then everyone else but she has been raised to be a lady in a boarding school so she doesn't talk about it with anyone. Her goal in life now is to get married to a nice young man, hopefully Jonathan Harker, have some babies, and live happily ever after. The problem is all of this sleepwalking and these visions she keeps having. When the story opens it is the 1880s and she can't really figure them out. Suffice it to say they are a little dark and often a lot naughty!
Time marches on and we soon realise that the person visiting Mina is none other than Dracula. The question is, will she choose to go with him or will she choose to continue to live the life she has always been on the path with so far? It has always been her choice. Or so she thought. For so long she believed that she could make her own choices and no one else was under Dracula's influence but soon Mina starts to become more knowledgeable in all that Dracula has been doing.
The book isn't scary and I scare easily, but Dracula's effect is far reaching and it's not all as black and white as Mina may have originally have thought. One thing that surprised me was, well, how saucy this book was. I don't tend to read books with a lot of explicit sex scenes in them and this one had quite a few and they were often kinda dirty so if you blush easy be forewarned!
Overall though I liked that this book was a break from what I normally read and it fit with the season and it was a great Halloween read. Personally I felt that the first half of the book was more interesting than the second half but that was probably because once Dracula finally showed up I could kinda see what was happening. However, it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment. This book is out now in paperback so be sure to check it out!
Cover Lust: I think this cover is perfect for the book! The woman, I'm assuming Mina, fits the time period and the setting is dark and cold looking. Love it!