Monday, July 11, 2011

Review - Dracula in Love by Karen Essex

The private diary of Mina Harker

TITLE:    Dracula In Love
AUTHOR:    Karen Essex
INFO:    Paperback, Fiction, 368 pages
PUBLISHED:   Anchor Books, 2011
SOURCE:   Received from Publisher for Review and Blog Tour


FROM GOODREADS:  Karen Essex turns on the heat in this transporting and darkly haunting new tale of love and possession that puts forth the question: What if everything you knew about Dracula . . . was wrong?

From the shadowy banks of the River Thames to the wild and windswept coast of Yorkshire, the quintessential Victorian virgin Mina Murray vividly recounts in the pages of her private diary the intimate details of what transpired between her and Count Dracula—the joys and terrors of a pas­sionate affair and her rebellion against a force of evil that has pursued her through time.

Mina’s version of this timeless gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into the dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and locked asylum chambers where she led a secret life, far from the chaste and polite lifestyle the defenders of her purity, and even her fiancĂ©, Jonathan Harker, expected of her.

Bram Stoker’s classic novel was only one side of the story. Now, for the first time, Dracula’s eternal muse reveals all. What she has to say is more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than ever imagined. The result is a scintillating gothic novel that reinvents the tragic heroine Mina as a modern woman tor­tured by desire.

MY TAKE:    Bram Stoker's Dracula was one of those books (and movies) that stuck with me for a long time.  When I was given the opportunity to read and review a story that was to be from Mina's point of view, I couldn't resist.  I had always felt that she was slighted by Stoker and that his disdain for women was quite clear in the book.

Karen Essex has given us a fresh view of Mina and her world.  She has created the heroine that most of us would have wanted to see in the original version.  In spite of her childhood, Mina comes out as an intelligent woman who hungers for a bit more than Victorian society is willing to give females of that era.  Her deep friendships with the "hang it all out there" Kate and the spoiled heiress Lucy offer a sort of parallel to her struggle with society's expectations.  She desires to use her brains for more than running a household and raising children.  At the same time, she wishes to be the proper wife for Jonathan with a secure and successful future.

I found it interesting that the author reversed the roles in this story as far as many of the men were the less-than-bright blowhards and we were treated to several strong female characters.  The fact that the Count wasn't a major player until close to the end of the story was a bit of a disappointment; but the plot was well written.  We learned much about Mina and her history before being introduced to most of the other key players.  The pace really picked up once Mina went to the asylum.  It was quite the page-turner.

Readers of Stoker's Dracula will enjoy this variation as well as those who enjoy a good, dark romance full of mystery, sensuality and action.  I highly recommend it. 

Out of 5 JEWELS, I give it:

WHERE TO BUY IT:    The Book Depository

To learn more about Karen; you can visit her website, follow her blog and check out her Facebook page.  But, best of all ~ come back tomorrow for the fantastic guest post from Karen and possibly......A GIVEAWAY!

I'd like to thank Amy from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for including me and One Book Shy on this book tour. 

Be sure to stop by the other blogs on the tour to find out what they also have to say about

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~~~~~ Disclaimer:  All opinions expressed on this blog are 100% my own.  I do not receive monetary compensation for my reviews but do utilize affiliate links.  I may receive books in  order to facilitate a review, but this does not guarantee a good review - only a completely honest one.  Each review post denotes how I obtained the book.


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