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Dracula in Love

Average Rating 4
( 49 )
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5 Star

(22)

4 Star

(11)

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(8)

2 Star

(5)

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(3)

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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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  • 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

    I Also Recommend:

    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 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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  • 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 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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