The 19th century's most infamous party-girl is undead and on the loose in the Big Apple.
When 23 year-old Parisian courtesan, Marie Duplessis succumbed to consumption in 1847, Charles Dickens showed up for the funeral and reported the city mourned as though Joan of Arc had fallen. Marie was not only a celebrity in in her own right, but her list of lovers included Franz Liszt -- the first international music superstar, and Alexandre Dumas fils, son of the creator of The Three Musketeers. Dumas fils wrote the novel The Lady of the Camellias based on their time together. The book became a play, and the play became the opera La Traviata. Later came the film versions, and the legend never died.
But what if when offered the chance for eternal life and youth, Marie grabbed it, even when the price was the regular death of mortals at her lovely hand?
Now Marie wonders if perhaps nearly two centuries of murder, mayhem, and debauchery is enough, especially when she falls hard for a rising star she believes may be the reincarnation of the only man she ever truly loved. But is it too late for her to change? Can a soul be redeemed like a diamond necklace in hock? And even if it can, have men evolved since the 1800?s? Or does a girl's past still mark her?
Blood Diva is a sometimes humorous, often dark and erotic look at sex, celebrity, love, death, destiny, and the arts of both self-invention and seduction. It's a story that asks a simple question: Can a one hundred ninety year-old demimondaine find happiness in 21st century Brooklyn without regular infusions of fresh blood?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fictional vampires have run the gambit from the garlic-dodging bloodsuckers who don’t come out in sunlight to handsome and sparkly creatures, hanging out on the Olympic Peninsula. Blood Diva gives us yet another twist on vampire mythology. The story starts with the protagonist, a real-life historical figure, Marie Duplessis, on her deathbed in Paris. While some may be familiar with Duplessis and her history (which might give the story even more appeal), other than the little I picked up before reading this book I wasn’t, and didn’t feel as though it mattered. Mostly set in the modern day, predominately New York City, the little touches and details the author integrates in the story are likely to resonate with fans of the art world and opera, yet I’m neither and still found much to enjoy. Beyond being an excellent story with some hot sex scenes, for those who like that, a clever and entertaining take on the vampire myth, and a love story, for those who look beyond the surface there is more. What does it mean to be human? Are some of the Earth’s creatures more important than others? (Put another way, if it is okay for us humans to kill “lower” animals for nourishment, would the same logic justify “higher” creatures killing us for the same reason?) If you could live forever, would that be a good thing and what would you be willing to give up to do so? Marie grappled with all of these questions. After you read Blood Diva, maybe your answers will be the same. Or maybe not. **Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. **
Blood Diva by VM Gautier This vampire story grabbed me by the throat and wouldn’t let go from the very beginning. Alphonsine Duplessis/Camille St. Valois, as she was now known in present day New York City society, had a fascinating history as a beautiful and charming Parisian courtesan from a very early age. In her first life, during the mid-1800s, she was known as Marie Duplessis and lucky enough to have a patron who saw to her education that led her to more aristocratic and artistic suitors. Unfortunately, she contracted consumption and was on her deathbed when she met Anton, who turned her into a god. He claimed beauty such as hers was a gift to the world and he only wished to preserve it. The problem was she couldn’t get away from her courtesan lifestyle, it was who she was, and the high sexuality of a vampiric life didn’t help in that regard. Problems also developed when Camille was questioned during a murder investigation after being identified with the victim from surveillance video in a hotel lobby. Tenacious New York City cops, Cara O’Brien and Jaime Izaguirre, felt she was involved but couldn’t prove it. To top this trifecta off Camille fell in love with the highly gifted and handsome human, Dashiell Alexander. I had no problem shoving believability out the window with VM Gautier’s picturesque prose. I was a little concerned that I might not be able to keep up with the opera references. However, I had no problem and actually enjoyed learning about the stories and characters behind the operas. I applaud the way they were woven into the storyline. I found Blood Diva captivating and felt transported into the scenes. I found Camille’s dilemmas were complex and emotional. The supporting characters were all well developed and I found myself mesmerized by the dialogue as Camille was trying to work through her issues and find her purpose for being. This story was a unique look at high society lifestyles in this age of surveillance cameras and other high-tech devices available to today’s criminals and law enforcement agencies. I also liked the question being asked of how much longer vampires could go undetected by a modern society with these devices so readily available. I was satisfied with the ending and found it apropos. I would recommend this story to anyone who appreciates a skillfully told story with discernible moral issues. FYI: This book contains adult language and graphic sexual content that some readers may find objectionable. Format/Typo Issues: Small number of proofing errors. **Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy.** December 8, 2014