Book Review: Dracula in Love – Karen Essex

Title: Dracula in Love
Author: Karen Essex
ISBN: 9780385528917
Pages: 384
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Dracula in Love follows the story of Mina Murray, who becomes Mina Harker, the main female character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Essex reimagines the classic story from Mina’s point of view and reveals what was really going on under the surface.

Review:

I really enjoyed Karen Essex’ previous novel Stealing Athena, so I immediately knew I wanted to read Dracula in Love.  At the same time, however, I was a little bit hesitant – I’m very tired of the vampire craze and books on the subject don’t really appeal to me.  However, since it was based on the classic novel, rather than an urban fantasy about vampires living among us, I thought it might make a satisfying read.

I’m glad I gave Dracula in Love a chance because it was a very creative novel.  Essex reinterprets Bram Stoker’s Dracula, giving us a three-dimensional, strong, and independent Mina.  She’s well-written and sympathetic, while also being very modern for the time she lives in.  I appreciated that Essex fleshed Mina out so well and gave her a story of her own.

Essex entirely reinvents the classic story in this book.  The beginning of the novel sees Mina as a teacher, then follows the course of Dracula.  For anyone who’s read the novel, the events will be very recognizable, though it is very nice to see Mina’s interpretation of them.  As the novel progresses, though, Essex makes Mina’s story her own, very different from anything else I’ve seen.  Where the novel ends up turns more into historical fantasy than fiction and stretches the imagination quite a bit, but I did love the twist at the end, with what happens to Mina.

Dracula in Love is a creative twist on a classic novel, and I really appreciated Essex’ imagination.  I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this book nearly as much if I hadn’t recently read Dracula though.  It is written in a similar style to that book, and as a result, it’s very slow.  That’s not a criticism because Essex was clearly trying to reflect Stoker’s writing, but I’m not sure I would have appreciated that writing style had I not been familiar with the original.  While I do recommend Dracula in Love, I’d definitely read the classic novel first if you haven’t before done so.  It will make you appreciate this book much more.

Comments

  1. (Ooh boy, a bad one got in there.) Anyway, I had the same reaction when I had the opportunity to review this book. No more vampires! I haven’t even read Dracula, which actually shames me. This should teach me a lesson to not be so judgemental.

  2. (Ooh boy, a bad one got in there.) Anyway, I had the same reaction when I had the opportunity to review this book. No more vampires! I haven’t even read Dracula, which actually shames me. This should teach me a lesson to not be so judgemental.

  3. I loved Stealing Athena and have read and enjoyed Dracula, so I might actually be the ideal audience for this book. I am pretty receptive to seeing this story told from a different angle, so I might have to be on the lookout for this one. Thanks for the great review of this book!

  4. I loved Stealing Athena and have read and enjoyed Dracula, so I might actually be the ideal audience for this book. I am pretty receptive to seeing this story told from a different angle, so I might have to be on the lookout for this one. Thanks for the great review of this book!

  5. This sounds like a vampire story I could enjoy, but I better dust off my copy of Dracula and read that first!

  6. This sounds like a vampire story I could enjoy, but I better dust off my copy of Dracula and read that first!

  7. I read Dracula years ago, and I’m looking forward to this. Thanks for noting that the novel is a bit slow going. I’ll be prepared.

  8. I read Dracula years ago, and I’m looking forward to this. Thanks for noting that the novel is a bit slow going. I’ll be prepared.

  9. Lovely review! Admittedly I had to skim over the middle part (it’s nearing the top of my TBR pile right now so I have to be careful what I read about it), but I like the way you described the author’s portrayal of Mina. Can’t wait til it makes my “now reading” pile….thanks for sharing!

  10. Lovely review! Admittedly I had to skim over the middle part (it’s nearing the top of my TBR pile right now so I have to be careful what I read about it), but I like the way you described the author’s portrayal of Mina. Can’t wait til it makes my “now reading” pile….thanks for sharing!

  11. It is so crazy to see this review. I recently read Dracula and then followed it up with Dracula, My Love which seems to be just like this one… My review of Dracula, My Love goes up tomorrow.

  12. It is so crazy to see this review. I recently read Dracula and then followed it up with Dracula, My Love which seems to be just like this one… My review of Dracula, My Love goes up tomorrow.

  13. Did you read Dracula, My Love as well? Trying to find someone who read both to see if I need to read this one too.

  14. Did you read Dracula, My Love as well? Trying to find someone who read both to see if I need to read this one too.

  15. I haven’t seen any review on this so I’ve been waiting to read it. Trip to the library today so I’ll see if Dracula is there and read it first. Ashamed to admit there are many of the classics I haven’t read. But ask me about Faulkner, read most all of his works. Bleh!

    Good review. I love it when the same story is told from another characters point of view.

    BTW read your review of Juliet- I can’t wait to read it! I don’t think it’s out here yet. Maybe it is. It’s definitely on my TBR list.

    Heather

  16. I haven’t seen any review on this so I’ve been waiting to read it. Trip to the library today so I’ll see if Dracula is there and read it first. Ashamed to admit there are many of the classics I haven’t read. But ask me about Faulkner, read most all of his works. Bleh!

    Good review. I love it when the same story is told from another characters point of view.

    BTW read your review of Juliet- I can’t wait to read it! I don’t think it’s out here yet. Maybe it is. It’s definitely on my TBR list.

    Heather

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