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 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 September 22, 2010

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    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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