Friday, March 11, 2011

Literary Friday: Dracula in Love

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This week I read Dracula in Love by Karen Essex.  Essex is also the author of the critically acclaimed Leonardo's Swans.

Dracula in Love is told from Mina Murray Harker's point of view.  The premise of the book is that the novel Dracula, written by Bram Stoker, is a misrepresentation of the true events. Mina tells the reader from the beginning that "[her] story has been written by another, sold for money, and offered to the public for entertainment."  She goes on to explain how the writer claims to be above reproach in his documentation of the true story, but that the "records are falsified documents, based on the lies of a cabal of murderers desperate to conceal their dark deeds." The way Mina slices through the myth and reveals the truth is brilliant storytelling.   I like the way Essex incorporates Bram Stoker into the novel as a secondary character; her description and clues make him recognizable right away to the reader. Another Bram Stoker connection I like in the novel is the return to the Irish roots of the story.  Bram Stoker was not a healthy child, and his mother told him scary stories while he was sick.  My Irish grandmother probably told me some of the same horrific stories about the Sidhe. Although Stoker based Dracula in Romania, the roots of the story are Irish, and Dracula's rebirth as a vampire in Dracula in Love originates in Ireland.

Mina's voice, although honest, tends to be overly critical of herself given her extraordinary circumstances.   Essex's depiction of Mina does not resemble your typical chaste Victorian heroine, and there is certainly a reason for Mina's behaving the way she does.  I like her character much better in the end as she accepts her true nature.  I like  Dracula's characterization from Mina's point of view as well as Jonathan Harker's.  Mina's revelations of villainy and treachery will stay with you almost as long as the love story. Mina's friends, Lucy and Kate, are also well-written and developed.  Essex did an amazing job depicting the horrors of Victorian insane asylums; to me, the scenes at Lindenwood Asylum were the novel's most gothic.

Essex is very clever, and I like the way she writes.  Although the book loosely follows the events in Bram Stoker's Dracula, this is definitely not the same story.  Suspension of disbelief is maintained because the reader can understand how the truth could never be revealed due to Victorian morality and class system. Mina also warns us in the beginning of the book about a world that exists parallel to us that is not fictitious.  Our myths about vampires are dangerous in their inaccuracies, and real monsters are among the humans, not those who have "risen above the human condition."  I love the immortal aspect of this love story, however this is an adult retelling of Dracula.  It is definitely rated R, so keep this in mind if you have a young teen who wants to read it.

Today is the last day of my giveaway!  Please enter if you want a chance to win some neat prizes from Anthropologie.

Also, remember the What We're Reading Linky Party I co-host with Bonnie the twentieth of every month.  Please join us and share your book love!


What We're Reading


Until next time...

Blessings!
Ricki Jill

10 comments:

  1. Cara Ricki,ultimamente non ho il traduttore e non riesco a capire la lingua,comunque passo lo stesso al tuo blog,sei molto cara a venirmi sempre a trovare,ti auguro un felice fine settimana,ciao,Rosetta

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  2. The book sounds great, especially since I seem to be in "vampire" mood. I love the "Sookie Stackhouse" series, again for adults only.

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  3. It sounds great, i will look if i can get it here!

    greetings!

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  4. Ricki Jill, my friend, this looks like something I would enjoy reading!
    Have you read the "Twilight Saga", I read the books and have seen three of the movies, waiting for the last one, Breaking Dawn!
    ~Jo
    LazyonLoblolly

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  5. So far, everything you have read and reviewed has ended up on my 'to read' list. You're totally enabling my literature addiction. ;)

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  6. Thank you for the review Ricki,
    I will pick this one up... How did you like Mr Delaney's book that you were reading??? He lives here in my little town town AND tomorrow he's having a book signing of his Latest book...
    HUGS to you,
    Donna

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  7. I'm finishing up The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis. Picked it up at the in laws cottage where people leave books behind. I'm actually interested to see how things turn out for this Medieval Princess.

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  8. I have always stayed clear of twilight series and any type of dracula books or movies. I really dislike all this gothic stuff bUt I have to say the way you explained this book has me very interested!!

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  9. First time here..loved your blog!:)
    Have a nice day.

    Sanghamitra.
    http://rainbow-thecoloursofindia.blogspot.com/

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  10. Oh...this sounds good...just my kind of book...I'll add it to my wishlist on Amazon.

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