Synopses & Reviews
In this wonderfully transporting novel, award-winning author Karen Essex turns a timeless classic inside out, spinning a haunting, erotic, and suspenseful story of eternal love and possession.
From the shadowy banks of the river Thames to the wild and windswept Yorkshire coast, Dracula’s eternal muse, Mina Murray, vividly recounts the intimate details of what really transpired between her and the Count—the joys and terrors of a passionate affair that has linked them through the centuries, and her rebellion against her own frightening preternatural powers.
Mina’s version of this gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into Victorian England’s dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and asylum chambers, revealing the dark secrets and mysteries locked within. Time falls away as she is swept into a mythical journey far beyond mortal comprehension, where she must finally make the decision she has been avoiding for almost a millennium.
Bram Stoker’s classic novel offered one side of the story, in which Mina had no past and bore no responsibility for the unfolding events. Now, for the first time, the truth of Mina’s personal voyage, and of vampirism itself, is revealed. What this flesh and blood woman has to say is more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than the Victorians could have expressed or perhaps even have imagined.
Karen Essex turns on the heat in this transporting and darkly haunting new tale of love and possession that puts forth the question: What if everything you knew about Dracula . . . was wrong?
From the shadowy banks of the River Thames to the wild and windswept coast of Yorkshire, the quintessential Victorian virgin Mina Murray vividly recounts in the pages of her private diary the intimate details of what transpired between her and Count Dracula—the joys and terrors of a passionate affair and her rebellion against a force of evil that has pursued her through time.
Mina’s version of this timeless gothic vampire tale is a visceral journey into the dimly lit bedrooms, mist-filled cemeteries, and locked asylum chambers where she led a secret life, far from the chaste and polite lifestyle the defenders of her purity, and even her fiancé, Jonathan Harker, expected of her.
Bram Stoker’s classic novel was only one side of the story. Now, for the first time, Dracula’s eternal muse reveals all. What she has to say is more sensual, more devious, and more enthralling than ever imagined. The result is a scintillating gothic novel that reinvents the tragic heroine Mina as a modern woman tortured by desire.
In this wonderfully transporting novel, award-winning author Essex turns a timeless classic inside-out, spinning a haunting, erotic, and suspenseful story of eternal love and possession. From the shadowy banks of the river Thames to the wild and windswept Yorkshire coast, Dracula's eternal muse, Mina Murray, vividly recounts the intimate details of what really transpired between her and the Count.
About the Author
KAREN ESSEX is the author of four novels, including the international bestseller Leonardo's Swans. Her award-winning essays and articles have appeared in many periodicals, among them L.A. Weekly, Vogue, and Playboy. She lives in Los Angeles.
Reading Group Guide
1. In the prologue, Mina Murray writes, “The truth is we must fear monsters less and be warier of our own kind.” What “monsters” evoke fear in the book? Which humans evoke fear?
How does feminism play into Mina’s choices? Miss Hadley’s? Lucy’s? Kate’s? How are these women similar? Which of the women do you ultimately consider more liberated?
How does Mina evolve throughout the story? What changes her? Where does she get her true power? Do you agree with her choices?
4. In some ways, the book is an exploration of free will versus fate. Are there any victims in the story, and why are they victims? To what or whom are they victims? Do you believe what Dracula says, that a person cannot be made to do something s/he has not chosen on some level?
5. Did Dracula in Love deepen your understanding of the roots of vampirism?
6. Discuss the different elements of vampire folklore in the book (i.e. The Lamia, the story of Lilith, the Sidhe, the ghost tales of Whitby) and the ways in which they have contributed to modern day vampire myths.
7. Victorian ideology and customs are strongly painted in the book. In what ways, does Mina accept them and give in to them? In what ways, does she reject them?
8. How do the vampires differ from vampires in other vampire books, films, and television shows, whether classic or contemporary?
9. Discuss sexuality as it pertains to different characters in the book. (Mina and Jonathan. Mina and the Count. Lucy and Arthur. Lucy and Morris. Mina and John Seward. Jonathan and the Lamia.)
10. What symptoms and behaviors deemed a patient “insane” in Lindenwood? How does the characterization of the insane relate to Victorian ideology?
11. In what ways does Dracula in Love reflect the Victorian obsession with Darwin’s theory of evolution and other scientific and medical advancements of the time? What 20th century events does it foreshadow?
12. What are the most poignant ways in which Dracula in Love differs from Bram Stoker’s Dracula? Do you find one account more credible than the other?