Title: Dracula in Love
Author: Karen Essex
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Dracula in Love follows the story of Mina Murray, who becomes Mina Harker, the main female character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Essex reimagines the classic story from Mina’s point of view and reveals what was really going on under the surface.
I really enjoyed Karen Essex’ previous novel Stealing Athena, so I immediately knew I wanted to read Dracula in Love. At the same time, however, I was a little bit hesitant – I’m very tired of the vampire craze and books on the subject don’t really appeal to me. However, since it was based on the classic novel, rather than an urban fantasy about vampires living among us, I thought it might make a satisfying read.
I’m glad I gave Dracula in Love a chance because it was a very creative novel. Essex reinterprets Bram Stoker’s Dracula, giving us a three-dimensional, strong, and independent Mina. She’s well-written and sympathetic, while also being very modern for the time she lives in. I appreciated that Essex fleshed Mina out so well and gave her a story of her own.
Essex entirely reinvents the classic story in this book. The beginning of the novel sees Mina as a teacher, then follows the course of Dracula. For anyone who’s read the novel, the events will be very recognizable, though it is very nice to see Mina’s interpretation of them. As the novel progresses, though, Essex makes Mina’s story her own, very different from anything else I’ve seen. Where the novel ends up turns more into historical fantasy than fiction and stretches the imagination quite a bit, but I did love the twist at the end, with what happens to Mina.
Dracula in Love is a creative twist on a classic novel, and I really appreciated Essex’ imagination. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this book nearly as much if I hadn’t recently read Dracula though. It is written in a similar style to that book, and as a result, it’s very slow. That’s not a criticism because Essex was clearly trying to reflect Stoker’s writing, but I’m not sure I would have appreciated that writing style had I not been familiar with the original. While I do recommend Dracula in Love, I’d definitely read the classic novel first if you haven’t before done so. It will make you appreciate this book much more.