Even though author Joseph Sheridan Le Fenu is an esteemed Irish writer of the 19th century, I began this book with trepidation. I'm so accustomed to the dramatic, graphic, face-paced writing of the 20th century that I had my mind set against reading anything too lyrical, flowery or poetic. Certainly I expected to be entertained by any vampire tale, but never expected to be captivated...
How wrong I was! I was not only captivated, I was enchanted...as though Carmilla had placed a spell on me as she had on the main character Laura. (I shudder at the thought...)
Carmilla lures the sweet, innocent young girl with fancy speeches, kisses and loving endearments, but there are enough eerie, creepy scenes to please any lover of good horror. The interaction of Laura and the extremely sensual Carmilla is the main focus of this book, but it's left to an old family friend, General Spielsdorf, to expose Carmilla and effect a satisfactory outcome.
Le Fanu's prose is lush and haunting; subtle in places, emboldened in others. From Laura's first sight of the beautiful vampire Carmilla to her last--when she sees her true, bloodthirsty nature--I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.
It's a pity that this book never received the acclaim of Bram Stoker's "Dracula," especially since Stoker was strongly influenced by "Carmilla," writing his own vampire story twenty-five years later. But as in life, timing is everything, so therein possibly lies the answer.
At any rate, it is one of Le Fanu's best stories, a great book that should be in the library of everyone who loves horror. I truly enjoyed the short time I spent with the well-crafted Laura and Carmilla. Excellent writing...
Reviewed by Betty Dravis, July 4, 2010 Author of "Dream Reachers" (with Chase Von) and other books
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Betty Dravis (bettydravis)
BETTY DRAVIS was born in Hamilton, Ohio, one of seven children of John and Felda Barger. Her natural writing ability was nurtured by a “great Ohio school system, caring teachers, and a loving family.” … more
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The vampire novella "Carmilla" set in Austria is one of Le Fanu's best tales and greatly influenced Bram Stoker, who published Dracula 25 years later. This is definitively a great book and a must for the lovers of horror tales.