“The truth is deeper, darker, and stranger than you imagine….The truth is, we must fear monsters less and be warier of our own kind.”
Dracula in Love, Karen Essex
Dracula in Love, by Karen Essex, was published in August of 2010 and is 384 pages. I first heard about it on Twitter and bought it when it was billed as “Twilight for grown-ups.” I think that was an accurate description, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Dracula in Love is a retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula from the perspective of Mina Harker, and everything you think you know about the story is turned on its side. The good characters are bad, the bad characters are good, and everything is more sinister than you remember. There are some new characters, but most are characters from the original novel, reimagined.
I’ve always loved books in the style of Wuthering Heights or The Thirteenth Tale, and Dracula in Love has all of the elements of setting, character, and language to make it a great Gothic novel. It’s full of foggy weather, dark castles, and misty graveyards, and every time I read it, I was completely immersed in the world Essex created.
I do recommend the book, but with some reservation. It is very detailed in terms of violence and sex, and the two are often mingled. In some cases when I think the reader is meant to say “Oooh,” this reader was saying “Eww.” Based on the popularity of shows like True Blood, however, I think there are a lot of people out there who are intrigued by the whole messy business.
That said, it didn’t overpower the book. The rich description, layered mystery, and highly original retelling of a classic far outweigh a few graphic scenes. Dracula in Love is a fantastic read and I look forward to more of Karen Essex’s novels.
So, do you like your novels rated PG or NC-17? Have you read the book? Do you think you’d want to read it?