Customer Reviews for

Dracula in Love

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Not a Fan of "Re-Makes," But This One is Excellent and Unique in it's Own Right

I have been a longtime fan of Karen Essex and have read all of her books. I admit I was a bit skeptical at first with Dracula in Love because a) it's a slight departure from Essex's historical fiction approach and b) I'm not a huge fan of "re-makes," i.e., taking a clas...
I have been a longtime fan of Karen Essex and have read all of her books. I admit I was a bit skeptical at first with Dracula in Love because a) it's a slight departure from Essex's historical fiction approach and b) I'm not a huge fan of "re-makes," i.e., taking a classic novel and re-imagining it from a different perspective. But Essex blew me away with Dracula in Love -- this novel is unique in its own right, imaginative, and utterly engrossing.

I should have known better than to doubt, if even slightly, an author I have followed for the last ten years.

Dracula in Love pivots off of Bram Stoker's Dracula, only it tells the story from Mina Harker's perspective. May I venture to say that Essex does a better job than Stoker at fleshing out the Victorian setting, Mina's ambivalent feelings towards fiance Jonathan and the Count, and how the past and future figure into the present love triangle? Okay, I guess I just said that very thing. ;)

I love it when a favorite author continues to write exciting, high quality work. Essex is like a reliable friend who never disappoints and always opens my mind to new worlds. I recommend all of her novels and am wondering if indeed Dracula in Love is my favorite...hard to say considering all her novels are so dang good!

posted by Baochi on August 17, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

A copy of a classic, nothing new.

The advertisement for Dracula in Love by Karen Essex said: "If you read only one more vampire novel, let it be this one." That's a pretty bold statement so I took the bait. Dracula as told by Mina? Sounds pretty tasty, right? I bit (pun intended) on the posting for an a...
The advertisement for Dracula in Love by Karen Essex said: "If you read only one more vampire novel, let it be this one." That's a pretty bold statement so I took the bait. Dracula as told by Mina? Sounds pretty tasty, right? I bit (pun intended) on the posting for an advance copy. In hindsight, I should have probably just followed my gut telling me there's too much vampire-fiction out there for all of it to be worthy of the hype.

While reading, I found myself comparing Essex's retelling of Dracula with the original (how could I not?). It's been several years since I read Stoker's Dracula so I don't remember all the details, but everyone knows the basic plot. Nearing the end of Dracula in Love I pondered the basic question any reader should think of when perusing a spin-off: Is the spin worthy of the original? I asked myself if Essex's retelling was really anything new or original or markedly better. In the end I decided that Bram Stoker's novel is a classic tragedy, making Karen Essex's version a copy of a tragedy which came out underwhelming and fairly lifeless (which, although necessary for a vampire, is not so good for a novel). Her love scenes were hot and heavy, but her frequent use of the word "preternatural" annoyed me to no end. Knowing what happens in Dracula meant I knew what would happen in Dracula in Love, and although the story should to be in the telling, Essex didn't inspire me with her version like good historical-fiction should.

For those of you in search for the next vampire novel, sure, maybe you'll enjoy Dracula in Love because it's got vampires and they're attractive and it's got women taking control and all that good stuff. But for me, if a writer is going to tackle something as venerable as DRACULA, they had better do it well. In this case, the aim fell far from the mark and the resulting product was another paperback to add to the growing pile of fang-related books on the market these days. Sigh.

posted by TheCrowdedLeaf on August 9, 2010

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  • Posted August 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not a Fan of "Re-Makes," But This One is Excellent and Unique in it's Own Right

    I have been a longtime fan of Karen Essex and have read all of her books. I admit I was a bit skeptical at first with Dracula in Love because a) it's a slight departure from Essex's historical fiction approach and b) I'm not a huge fan of "re-makes," i.e., taking a classic novel and re-imagining it from a different perspective. But Essex blew me away with Dracula in Love -- this novel is unique in its own right, imaginative, and utterly engrossing.

    I should have known better than to doubt, if even slightly, an author I have followed for the last ten years.

    Dracula in Love pivots off of Bram Stoker's Dracula, only it tells the story from Mina Harker's perspective. May I venture to say that Essex does a better job than Stoker at fleshing out the Victorian setting, Mina's ambivalent feelings towards fiance Jonathan and the Count, and how the past and future figure into the present love triangle? Okay, I guess I just said that very thing. ;)

    I love it when a favorite author continues to write exciting, high quality work. Essex is like a reliable friend who never disappoints and always opens my mind to new worlds. I recommend all of her novels and am wondering if indeed Dracula in Love is my favorite...hard to say considering all her novels are so dang good!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A copy of a classic, nothing new.

    The advertisement for Dracula in Love by Karen Essex said: "If you read only one more vampire novel, let it be this one." That's a pretty bold statement so I took the bait. Dracula as told by Mina? Sounds pretty tasty, right? I bit (pun intended) on the posting for an advance copy. In hindsight, I should have probably just followed my gut telling me there's too much vampire-fiction out there for all of it to be worthy of the hype.

    While reading, I found myself comparing Essex's retelling of Dracula with the original (how could I not?). It's been several years since I read Stoker's Dracula so I don't remember all the details, but everyone knows the basic plot. Nearing the end of Dracula in Love I pondered the basic question any reader should think of when perusing a spin-off: Is the spin worthy of the original? I asked myself if Essex's retelling was really anything new or original or markedly better. In the end I decided that Bram Stoker's novel is a classic tragedy, making Karen Essex's version a copy of a tragedy which came out underwhelming and fairly lifeless (which, although necessary for a vampire, is not so good for a novel). Her love scenes were hot and heavy, but her frequent use of the word "preternatural" annoyed me to no end. Knowing what happens in Dracula meant I knew what would happen in Dracula in Love, and although the story should to be in the telling, Essex didn't inspire me with her version like good historical-fiction should.

    For those of you in search for the next vampire novel, sure, maybe you'll enjoy Dracula in Love because it's got vampires and they're attractive and it's got women taking control and all that good stuff. But for me, if a writer is going to tackle something as venerable as DRACULA, they had better do it well. In this case, the aim fell far from the mark and the resulting product was another paperback to add to the growing pile of fang-related books on the market these days. Sigh.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    I liked the book, but I felt something was missing throughout th

    I liked the book, but I felt something was missing throughout the entire book. I was expecting to be blown away, instead I felt unsatisfied by the end. I did like the Count most times and Mina but It felt like their love actually blossomed. It was a decent enough read, but I would not have read or purchased it again given the chance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    Amazing!

    Completely adored it!

    Spoiler alert below:










    The ending sucked. It was HORRIBLE.

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  • Posted October 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

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    A retelling a bit too far removed from the spirit of the original

    What happens when the heroes turn out to be the bad guys? It is a question posited by Karen Essex's take on Bram Stoker's immortal classic in her rendition entitled Dracula in Love.

    The established cadre of vampire hunters are no longer a gentlemanly force of good against evil. Instead, Van Helsing is a masochistic nutcase who derives pleasure from the unreasonable medical practices he inflicts on his patients. His disciple, Dr. John Seward, adheres to this cruel methodology in treating the helpless women left in his care at an insane asylum. Arthur Holmwood is a heartless fortune hunter out to marry and murder for wealth. Morris Quince is nothing but a philandering playboy from America, while Jonathan Harker turns into an orgy obsessed nymphomaniac. And yes, the novel is still set in the repressed, buttoned-up Victorian era.

    Stoker's women fare no better. What happens when a solid, put-together woman turns into a mentally unstable, emotional wreck? That's exactly what happens to Mina Harker. She goes from being portrayed as a lady of great intellect, self-control and profound courage to a confused, unsure, mystical shadow of her former self. Instead of leading the charge against Count Dracula, she is fighting off the dangerous advances of those who used to be her allies. Viewed as a wily female threat, she turns to Dracula's blood-thirsty embrace as a source of refuge.

    When first coming across the title, it is a logical assumption to believe that Lucy Westerna would be the lead character. In the original, she is the one who is lured to the Whitby graveyard and seduced by Dracula. She is the one who transforms into a vampire after death. She is the one singled out by Dracula as his lover of choice. So it is a surprising turn of events to learn that Dracula's affections are actually captured by Mina. In fact, she is a supposed reincarnation of his cherished human/fairy lover whose rebirth he repeatedly awaits. He tracks her through the centuries in order for their passion to be reignited and to finally convince her to join him in immortality.

    Where Essex finds her groove is in her telling description of a 19th century mental health facility. The insane asylum run by Seward, in conjunction with Van Helsing, is truly a house of horrors. What adds to its inherent repulsion is that for the most part it is an accurate depiction of what happened to overtly sexual women during this time period. The scene of Mina's water treatment is painful to read. Repeatedly soaked with freezing cold water and then forced to drink excessive amounts of this water certainly qualifies as torture, not medical care. The brutality that mentally competent women were subjected to in order to inhibit their natural sexual desires borders on barbarism.

    The majority of the book centers around hormones, and is graphic in nature. This type of explicit sexual imagery is usually found in the erotic romance genre rather than a historical fiction novel. Wanton proclivities run through the blood of all of the central characters. There's Lucy and Morris carrying on half-naked in a graveyard. There's Jonathan in bed with three vampire-like women. There's Seward fondling Mina during a medical examination. There's Mina and Dracula in an assortment of lurid dream sequences. The list of couplings goes on and on. This unrestrained behavior is unexpected for those seeking a book more in line with the tone of the beloved classic.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Mina's side of the story~~

    It took me a chapter or so to set my mind back to Victorian London, but once there I quickly became involved in the story of Mina Murray Harker. I found it interesting to read this particular story from a woman's perspective and I liked reading Mina's account of the events at that time. It was also refreshing to read Mina's struggles with being the very proper lady and still be a very sexual and sensual woman. Mina Harker makes for a delightful heroine and I found myself rooting for her all the way through the story; I felt her despair, her pain and her happiness. I will be honest and admit that I was saddened by the ending of the story. Karen Essex has written a beautiful love story and you are going to love it. Dracula in Love is going on my keeper shelf, right next to Bram Stoker's Dracula.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2011

    So romantic!

    I have read this novel three times now, it pulls the strings of my heart and brings my very being to a different realm of romance in my personal life, such a supernatural, intrigueingly romantic story, I wish I could read more as it ends but I like how the ending leaves it open to wherever you want it to go after that.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Leaves you wanting more... in a good way

    This book falls into that small category of novels that entraps you, and when you try to escape to the pages of another book, you find yourself wandering right back to Dracula in Love. I enjoyed this book immensely.

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  • Posted September 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    New spin on a classic - don't miss this one!

    Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
    Until now we have never been told the trueth about the woman who awoke the deepest depths of Dracul'a passion. Every story has two sides and finally Nina's story is told.
    Karen Essex draws you into the life of Nina with a gentle hand bringing you into her world with words that paint the picture of her life. Essex's characters are written in exquiset detail, from the main characters to the "supporting actor's" like the old fisherman who brings Nina to tears.
    Unlike many other aurthors who try to write books on vampires but end up only regurgitating the same story over and over again, Essex takes the classic points and shines them under a new light.
    If you are going to read anything this year add this book to your must have's and keep an eye out for more from Karen Essex.

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  • Posted August 11, 2011

    gothic passion

    Absolutely loved how this story is told. It is presented as a historical vampire tale wrapped in gothic passion.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An entertaining retelling of the classic horror tale

    After reading Stoker's account of her relationship with Count Dracula, Mina Harker decides the author failed to obtain the truth or more likely revise what happened. The Count has been Mina's lover though she is unaware of this in their present relationship and that he would willingly die permanently for her.

    In 1890 London, the human men in her life feel she is a porcelain doll needing their protection. She loathes the gilded cage her husband Jonathan keeps her inside of abetted by obsessed by Dr. Van Helsing and Dr. Seward. They are inane Victorian males who are wrong. Instead she and her dearest Count are in love as her supernatural powers begin to rival that of her beloved.

    This entertaining retelling of the classic horror tale has a strong-willed Mina relate her interpretation of what occurred in England. In her mind, Dracula is the hero and her so called protectors the villains. Character driven, the plot is turned upside down as Mina sees the doctors and others assuming they know what is best for her, which is contrary to what she believes is best for her. Vampire romance fans will enjoy Dracula In Love as Mina tells her version of her passionate relationship with her Count and the murderous intruders who interfered.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Posted March 1, 2011

    Held my attention

    I was interested in the premise of this book, being a fan of gothic romances. I loved the new view of the classic story. However, the ending left me a little disappointed. I would have liked to see Dracula and his love end up together, considering the heroic way in which he rescued her from the pits of hell. Great writing and the novel moves forward at a good pace. I would recommend this one for a rainy day!

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  • Posted February 15, 2011

    Loved it!

    This book was great! It is Dracula told from the women's point of view. It also explores the experience of women in the 19th century. I didn't want it to end...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Really Great book!

    It was a really great book. I couldn't stop reading it. The story is told from Mina's point of view, and it's a lovely story.

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  • Posted November 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    My thoughts on Dracula In Love

    This book was not as I expected. I admit, I had some preconceived notions before reading this novel. The story of Dracula is fairly well known so it's was hard not to already have certain expectations. I'm a huge fan of Dracula stories and was intrigued by this one. First, I love the cover. It's dark, gothic feel invites you to dive into this book. As I said before, the storyline was not what I expected. Karen Essex took the tale we are all familiar with and mixed it with Irish folk/faerie tales. This made for an interesting story. The plot is mysterious and very sensual. The story is told from Mina's point of view, some of which is in diary entries. The only part of the story line that drove me crazy *SPOILER ALERT* was several mentions of how feeble and weak women are. I'm not a feminist but I did want to beat some of the characters over the head with my copy of this book. According to Karen Essex, this came from actual physicians notes. I am glad that I was born in this time period because they would have definitely locked me up! *SPOILER OVER* Karen uses many of the same characters we have all come to know but also introduces us to some new ones. I really like Kate, she has lots of gumption. I am sad to say, I didn't really care for Jonathan. To be honest I was pulling for Dracula the whole time. Overall I liked the story. It was a compelling read. This was the first novel I have read by Karen Essex. I definitely want to check out more of her work.

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  • Posted October 6, 2010

    Dracula in Love is a Great Read that left me wanting MORE!

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading Karen Essex's Dracula in Love. The story took me into Victorian England with ease, and set me on a thrill ride right up to the last page. It is important for any potential readers to know that this is not just a vampire story, but rather an examination into the treatment of the women of that time period. Since this book is a retelling of Stoker's Dracula, the story already had a definite beiginning and end. However, I found myself wishing that the writer would have delved past the novel's end farther into Mina's life. Dracula and Mina are each other's soul mate's, kindred spirits, and the novel didn't leave us with that happy ending. Perhaps Essex will write a sequel???

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  • Posted September 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    From Mina's point of view

    There's lots of vampire fiction out there to choose from and I am rather picky on which ones I sink my teeth into. (Sorry couldn't resist) Dracula in Love by Karen Essex appealed to me as it is written from Mina's point of view. Mina, of course was at the centre of Bram Stoker's classic novel Dracula. Mina acknowleges that another novel has been written about what transpired, but it is false and she wants to tell the true story.

    Essex cleverly uses many of the characters from Stoker's novel and completely retells the tale with Dracula not as a monster, but as a protector and lover of Mina.

    I enjoyed the historical detail of the time and period. Essex has done a great job with bringing 1890 to life. Her descriptions of the asylums and 'modern' psychiatric methods in women's care were chilling, even more so as they are fact based. This theme is in direct contrast to Mina's awakening sexuality and plays a pivotal role in Essex's re imagined Dracula. The sex scenes read as very mild erotica.

    I was completely caught up in this altered tale and actually liked Dracula, hoping he and Mina would finally end up together. But Dracula is not the focal point of Essex's novel. Rather it is Mina and Lucy who take centre stage. The depictions of all characters were strong though and fairly leapt off the page.

    Essex has taken great pains to research eternal life through the ages with an eye to explaining the presence of vampires in the world. It's very well done, but I found myself glossing over a bit during these pages. I was in a rush to see what the final outcome would be.

    Not your usual vampire fare - instead an intriguing mix of history, romance and the paranormal that combines for a pleasurable read.

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  • Posted September 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mina's POV!!

    This book is told completely through Mina's eyes. No longer a secondary character for the men to build themselves on, but a fully formed person in her own right trying to find her way in Victorian England. Born a poor Irish child, Mina learns that there is a way to improve her station set in life and that is to learn everything she can at a boarding school to find a husband of society. After abandonment by her own parents, this is a welcome ideal even if it means suppressing her more "wild" nature that tormented her parents. She soon captures the heart of Jonathan Harker and they become engaged. However, a muse of sorts keeps pestering Mina in her dreams until she wonders if this is all life has to offer. Of course, this part is familiar to those that loved the book, Dracula, but there are also different characters involved. Kate Reed, Mina's journalistic friend and even Bram Stoker himself join the cast. These characters are necessary to place our main characters within both familiar and unfamiliar territory within the book.

    This book is also not just about vampires and myth. It also holds some very real and historic issues of women of that day. Karen Essex makes it clear that the danger Mina and her female comrades face are not with preternatural "demons" but at the very hands of mortal men, some who had promised protection. Also, I found that it also speaks a bit (although lightly) about the power that was stripped away from women in some of the old traditions and religious practices. Mina rediscovers these myths and find them alive in England, but very watered down and misunderstood. Some of the myths even used as diagnosis in the "scientific" practices of Dr. Stewart and Dr. Van Helsing. I found this part to be historically accurate as well as interesting.

    All in all I do give this book 4 stars. I had to take away a star because of the ending. It just didn't make sense to me. In fact, I feel that the ending could make some people not completely enjoy the book. However, taking it as a whole and not just an ending, I'd have to say that the book was well written and I really enjoyed the way she was able to add elements as well as change what we thought we knew about Dracula himself.

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  • Posted August 27, 2010

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    Bridget's Review

    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.

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  • Posted August 18, 2010

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    I Also Recommend:

    You'll Be in Love with DRACULA IN LOVE!

    In DRACULA IN LOVE, Karen Essex has given readers a Gothic adventure of a very well known character and put a new spin on it. Taking the characters from the classic Bram Stoker Dracula novel, she has used extensive research to write a seductive and beautifully crafted new version from a totally different point of view-that of the female, Mina Murray. In Stoker's novel, Mina Murray is the traditionally proper Victorian fiancé of Dracula's lawyer, Jonathan Harker, and Mina becomes the innocent target of the Count's evil act of revenge when he seduces her.

    As Essex has the story told from Mina's point of view, it takes on the feel of historical fiction with Mina being anything but naive as she was in the original tale. Instead, she is a young women haunted by visions and dreams that leave her confused yet eerily fascinated. The nighttime escapades have her drawn to someone she is afraid of, but also desires, and this creature seems to know her inner most wishes and fears.

    Mina is a strong main character, as expertly portrayed by Essex, and that immediately drew me to her. She looks for answers to her nightmares by visiting an insane asylum where she comes in contact with Von Helsinger, a unsavory doctor who is experimenting with blood transfusions. He also happens to be fascinated with the feasibility that vampires exist. Other characters are introduced as we learn more about Mina including Jonathan Harker, already mentioned, as well as Lucy Westerna and journalist, Kate Reed. Kate again adding to the theme of strong women during the period when they were rarely written about.

    Of course, Count Vladimir Drakulya is there but isn't a strong physical presence until later in the story when Mira has had dealings with Dr. Von Helsinger and the evil Dr. Seward in the asylum. I found that the asylum section had the most shocking and horror filled scenes in the book. Count Drakulya seemed to be a more contemporary, tolerant, and stable personality in contrast to the other males. Essex clearly made the connection between Drakulya and Mina very powerful.

    First to admit, not one who is on the vampire, book reading band wagon, my relationship to all things vampire comes from the Bram Stoker Dracula. I enjoyed the alluring, fast moving plot that Karen Essex has written and this rather lengthy book seemed to go by in a flash. I found myself drawn to it, much like Mina to Dracula, and unable to tear myself away. The extensive research that Essex put into this book built for me a time and place, as well as characters, that I could fully believe in and relate to. It also made me wonder how many other classic characters could be presented from another point of view like this and hope some astute writer, like Karen Essex, may try their hand at it.

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