Review of Dracula in Love
Book by Karen Essex
Review by Rose Booker
A Book Worth Biting Into
I am going to be blunt here: I don’t have a taste for romances or vampires. In fact, I usually detest the very idea of pairing legitimate romantic inklings with the undead of any sort. The concept has become a cultural cliché. However, after reading just the first few pages Karen Essex’s novel, Dracula in Love, I was hooked in and I could not set the book done despite all my personal prejudices. Essex’s Dracula in Love caught me under its spell.
The novel is (on the surface) a retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula through the point of view of the genteel Mina Harker. Mina is the quintessentially pure Victorian heroine and her desires reflect this. That is, in the beginning. Through the course of her willing/unwilling seduction by Count Dracula (an affair that is rendered to the reader in such a way as to cause the flesh to become rosy red – i.e is hot as hell) Mina’s character morphs from an innocent Victorian woman obsessed with protecting her chastity and social image to an increasingly complex and sexually mature individual.
Which gets me to why I enjoyed this novel – the complex characters. Often times, novels such as these are largely plot-driven, leaving the reader with flat two-dimensional characters within a two-dimensional world. Yet, Essex’s takes the concept of Vampire-Human romance and adds emotional complexity, social intrigue, historically accurate depictions (my favorite being the asylum scandal), and internal conflict. All of this creates a world that is anything but flat.
Did I mention this book is hot? Essex has a way of making something as ethereal as a dream sensually stimulating and lusciously sexy. I don’t wish to spoil anything for the reader, but trust me when I say this: you will blush with pleasure throughout the love scenes.
I recommend this book to anyone who has a taste for the sensual, the Victorian-era, vampires, and surprisingly strong women characters.