Publisher: Anchor Books
Publish Date: July 5, 2011
Origins: From Publisher for Review
Format: Trade Paperback
Order From: Amazon / Barnes & Noble
Synopsis: London, 1890. Mina Murray Harker, the rosy-cheeked, quintessentially pure Victorian heroine, becomes Count Dracula's object of desire. To preserve her chastity, five male "defenders" rush into rescue her from the vampire's evil clutches. This is the story we have been told.
But now, from Mina's own pen, we discover a tale more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling that the Victorians could have ever imagined. From the shadowy banks of the river Thames to the wild and windswept Yorkshire coast, Mina vividly recounts the intimate details of what really transpired between her and the Count - the joys and terrors of a passionate affair, as well as her rebellion against her own frightening preternatural powers.
Review: Dracula in Love is set in the midst of the Victorian era - a time when the purity of women was highly emphasized and women who did not meet this standard were considered mentally ill - and could be institutionalized for expressing their sexuality. This is also the era of spiritualism, mediumship, and ghost photography.
Enter Mina Murray, as pure as can be, who teaches deportment, etiquette, and and elocution at an all-girls "finishing" school. However, she dreams of a man - who speaks to her sensuality and repressed sexuality - and who is not her betrothed, Jonathan Harker. Along her journey, Mina learns much about herself and some unusual gifts she has inherited. A beautifully written contrast to Bram Stoker's Dracula, we finally get to see a glimpse into the life of the real Mina Harker.
Ms. Essex has written a touching novel in the words of Mina Harker. It is scarily accurate in the depiction of the times Mina lived in and the morals, entertainments, and medical practices of the Victorian era. Some readers may think that Dracula isn't present in the story until the last half, but his presence is wound through Mina's entire life - always in the shadows biding his time. At first I was a bit disappointed in the ending, but thinking it over I can understand the decisions that were made and the reasons behind them. I also loved the presence of the 'red-haired Irish writer' who was always showing up to gather details of the events.
Dracula in Love is a sensuous and compelling tale - one I'd read again and again.