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Dracula in Love

A book by Karen Essex

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It was just okay for me

  • Sep 9, 2010

First things first, I must confess that I have never read Bram Stoker's Dracula, nor have I seen the movie. You must also know that I only know very little of who Mina Murray is.  I know she and Dracula have always been linked together but as to the nature of their relationship - that was a mystery to me... "was" being the key word since this book did clarify that.
Told through Mina's perspective, we learn of the dark stranger who has been a key figure in many of her dreams since childhood.  We also get glimpses into Mina's upbringing and lifestyle now as a woman.  Throughout the story you meet various characters - that while I'm not familiar with, I have come to learn that they are well-known within the classic vampire lore - Jonathan Harker, journalist Kate Reed, Lucy Westenra and even Dr. Seward and the infamous Dr. Von Helsinger who run a creepy asylum together.  Count Vladimir Drakulya (a/k/a Dracula) is not as present as I would have liked.  He does create great ambiance for the story though.  He is a figure that although not physically present for much of the story, he is crucial to it and much of what shapes Mina's thoughts.  If you've read Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, you'll be able to relate.  
Some things you may or may not know about this book - Ms. Essex does a great job of describing the relationship between Mina and Dracula, you really get a grasp for the appeal she holds over him.  Not to mention you can tell she did her homework with her details to the time frame the story is set in. Notwithstanding its Victorian setting, and although she does abide by the restraints woman had to adhere to at the time, Mina is a strong-willed woman, she's passionate and brave.  I really liked that she was not fragile and delicate as some related stories may lead you to believe... a wilting flower, if you may.  She stood her ground when it came to her beliefs.  The more (ahem) sexual scenes were graphic and well ... on the passionate side (if you catch my drift).  The scenes in the asylum were downright horrifying and even nightmare inducing.  It's not that great of an idea to read this late into the night or while home alone.  If you're like me you'll be scared out of your wits by anything that goes bump in the night.
I did have a few complaints though - I thought the first half of the book would never end.  It dragged for me for a few hundred pages - luckily I did stick it out and it eventually picked up.  I thought there were a lot of filler pages and even whole areas that could have just been edited out (that whole near-rape scene at the beginning - what was that about?)   The parts that really kept me interested revolved around the asylum scenes - and I was mostly terrified reading these. 
All in all, this will definitely appeal to historical fiction fans as well as to those who love classic Dracula lore... It is fast- paced (once you are half-way through), with many a twist and turn.  Sadly, for me it just didn't work - and I'm truly saddened to say that because I really wanted to like it. 

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September 25, 2010
I can't believe you haven't read Dracula. I actually had to read it in school. Odd teacher.
More Dracula in Love reviews
review by . August 27, 2010
I got chills reading this book. Karen really knows how to weave a story and keep a reader engaged. Dracula in Love is an instant hit and will be loved by readers for years to come.
review by . July 05, 2010
Dracula in Love by Karen Essex has potential as the story of Bram Stoker's Dracula from Mina Harker's point of view. And in fact, the first part of the novel is well written, with a definite feel for the original as it traces the steps of Mina through her engagement to Jonathan Harker and his absence on the business of the mysterious Count. The atmosphere is right, the setting is right...and then...it all explodes in a confusion of lust, myth, reincarnation, and insane asylums. Did I mention lust? …
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Nely Sanchez ()
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I review books as a hobby for my personal blog - All About {n} which can be found at www.bookwormygirl.com. There you can find all sorts of book reviews, book giveaways and just random bookish events, … more
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Bruce Feiler Reviews Dracula in Love

Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular voices on faith and family. He is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, and America’s Prophet. His latest book, The Council of Dads, tells the uplifting story of how friendship and community can help one survive life’s greatest challenges. Read his review of Dracula in Love:

Gorgeously written and erotically charged, the novel Dracula in Love is like its century-jumping central characters: deeply rooted in the past while pushing ageless mythology into strikingly current realms. Historical novels should have plenty of history, and this novel surely does. Romantic novels should have their share of sex and romance, and this novel delivers both. But its true revelation is its gripping sense of anticipation, heartache, discovery, and unflinching chill.

With Dracula in Love Karen Essex turns her inimitable, piercing gaze to illuminating what should be familiar terrain--Victorian England--and what might seem like well-trod territory--a certain Count. Her considerable trick is to make you forget entirely all the baggage that attends her story by planting us firmly in the shoes and the psyche of one of the "victims," Mina Harker. I am walking up the steps of the finishing school with the quivering heroine; I am secreting away in London’s subterranean shadows with the jilted lover; I am traveling into the mysteries of ...

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ISBN-10: 0385528914
ISBN-13: 978-0385528917
Author: Karen Essex
Genre: Gothic Fiction, Horror Fiction
Publisher: Doubleday
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