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Dracula in Love Paperback – July 5, 2011

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Dracula in Love + Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; First Edition edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076793122X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767931229
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Bruce Feiler Reviews Dracula in Love

Bruce Feiler is one of America’s most popular voices on faith and family. He is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the Bible, Abraham, and America’s Prophet. His latest book, The Council of Dads, tells the uplifting story of how friendship and community can help one survive life’s greatest challenges. Read his review of Dracula in Love:

Gorgeously written and erotically charged, the novel Dracula in Love is like its century-jumping central characters: deeply rooted in the past while pushing ageless mythology into strikingly current realms. Historical novels should have plenty of history, and this novel surely does. Romantic novels should have their share of sex and romance, and this novel delivers both. But its true revelation is its gripping sense of anticipation, heartache, discovery, and unflinching chill.

With Dracula in Love Karen Essex turns her inimitable, piercing gaze to illuminating what should be familiar terrain--Victorian England--and what might seem like well-trod territory--a certain Count. Her considerable trick is to make you forget entirely all the baggage that attends her story by planting us firmly in the shoes and the psyche of one of the "victims," Mina Harker. I am walking up the steps of the finishing school with the quivering heroine; I am secreting away in London’s subterranean shadows with the jilted lover; I am traveling into the mysteries of southern Austria and Ireland's haunted west coast (yes, begone tired Transylvania!) where our heroine discovers her own dark powers.

I shudder in horror and delight when the fangs make their inevitable plunge.

I met Karen Essex when both of us were briefly embedded in the Southern gothic world of Nashville. She would soon unearth some of history’s most misunderstood women and vividly revive them for contemporary ears. From Kleopatra (note the provocative spelling) to the countess of Elgin (and her fascinating courtesan doppelganger from the ancient world, Aspasia) to feuding sisters who posed for Leonardo (watch the genius brought down to earth!), Karen overturns history’s conventions and shows how these women are keenly relevant today.

I am hardly a vampire freak. The Twilight books "eclipsed" me. And I’ve never owned a set of plastic fangs. But I do love Karen Essex, and this novel is enough to make me a little bloodthirsty.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

This variation on Bram Stoker’s Dracula tells the story from Mina Murray Harker’s point of view. As a child, Wilhemina was given to strange dreams and sleepwalking, which so alarmed her parents that at age seven she was sent to a boarding school for young ladies to “learn to control herself and her urges.” And she did become a proper young lady, with a proper fiancé, a young solicitor named Jonathan Harker. But the bewildering dreams continue, and one summer, which she is spending in Yorkshire with her friend Lucy Westerna, she sees a mysterious shipwreck at Whitby. After that the dreams become more like memories, and a presence, which she cannot see, follows her. Essex, who has been praised for her historical novels, has drawn a detailed picture of England at the end of the nineteenth century, including some of the horrendous psychological practices introduced from Germany. Essex’s twist on Stoker’s plot is sufficiently original, and the quality of her writing makes this novel stand out among the vampire offerings. --Frieda Murray --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Karen Essex is the author of five novels of historical fiction. The latest, DRACULA IN LOVE, retells Bram Stoker's tale from the female perspective. STEALING ATHENA chronicles the fantastic journey of the controversial Elgin Marbles. The national and international bestseller LEONARDO'S SWANS, for which she won Italy's prestigious 2007 Premio Roma for foreign fiction, is the story of the rivalry between Leonardo's muses. Essex also wrote two acclaimed biographical novels, KLEOPATRA and PHARAOH, about the infamous queen of Egypt.

She is also an award winning journalist and a screenwriter, and wrote BETTIE PAGE: LIFE OF A PINUP LEGEND, the only authorized biography of the late pin-up icon.

Presently dividing her time between London and Los Angeles, Karen invites friends and readers to follow along as she chronicles her adventures, joys, and sorrows in putting together a complex work of historical fiction: www.karenessex.com/blog. Also, please follow her on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/karenessex.

Customer Reviews

The changes made to Stoker's characters are very well done.
I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good read, and if you're looking for romance, history or vampires...it's an absolute must read.
Elizabeth Renee Ziegler
To say too much more about the way the rest of the story is told would reveal a lot of spoilers; it doesn't follow the classic in very many ways.
Countess Chocula

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Jonny Snosrap on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a lover of creatures of the night, I thouroughly enjoyed the brimming vampire mythology contained in this book. There's an entire underlayer to this dark world that I wasn't aware existed. Any true vampire fan will appreciate the stones that have been unturned by Essex.

I also appreciate the author's take on Stoker's original story, despite the generous dose of romance inevitably geared at female readers. Not being a female reader, I was drawn to the darker parts of Victorian London and the rich history provided, not to mention the chilling hallways and rooms in the asylum.

Overall, I found the book engaging and a good read. With elements for vampire fans, literature lovers, history fanatics, there is plenty to sink your teeth into.
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20 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Jodi VINE VOICE on September 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
*********SPOLIER ALERT*************SPOILER ALERT****************

The main problem I have is this.....

If a writer is going to take on the task of rewriting a classic novel such as Dracula, and if said author is going to change our perception of who Dracula REALLY was, essentially turning the nefarious Count into a "lonely, misunderstood" guy whose major sin seems to be that of falling in love with a woman who technically isn't his, then why can't this same author alter the fate of one "misunderstood" Count? Why go through the trouble of rewriting Dracula's character to such a degree that he wins the affections of the reader, only to have the author kill him off anyway? If, as Mina Harker claims, Bram Stoker "got the story all wrong", couldn't he have gotten the ending wrong as well? I really hate books that kill off very likable characters and, as far as this story is concerned, Dracula was actually a very likable guy. I was actually rooting for him, thinking he stood a chance considering Bram Stoker "got it all wrong", but I was sorely disappointed.

Throughout the entire book, Mina's idiotic husband who, by the way, checks Mina into an insane asylum and allows her to be tortured at the hands of his "friend" and this same idiotic husband who commits egregious acts of adultry against his innocent and naive wife, maintains his title as hero while Count Dracula (who, by the way, rescues Mina from the insane asylum that her husband abandoned her in) keeps his place as local villain. What the.....?? The husband, with his arrogant and holier-than-thou attitude emerges as the champion and the Count, who has saved Mina's life several times and waited patiently with her while she tried tirelessly to remember her past relationship with the Count, remains villified.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Katie Babs VINE VOICE on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Karen Essex takes many liberties in Dracula in Love, that's different in every which way from Dracula. The only thing that remains are the characters, and even then, their actions made me shake my head. I really wanted to enjoy Dracula in Love, but found so many things questionable. I would say this is a borderline fantasy novel with very sensual scenes of desire and claiming of one souls where the taking of blood is used rather than actual sex.

Mina has been haunted by disturbing dreams all her life. She tends to sleepwalk and reaches out to a shadowy man who calls for her. Her parents turned their backs on her because when she was a child, she would see strange things. She was sent from Ireland to a boarding school in London, where she was taught to be a well mannered young lady. There she meets Jonathon and they fall and love. Mina also spends her time with an old school chum, Kate Reed, a brash, outspoken journalist who may or may not be having an affair with another journalist. While Jonathon is away in charge of a real-estate transaction in the duchy of Styria, Mina has erotic dreams that make her question her mortal soul. But then Mina is sent word that Jonathon is recovering in a hospital. She rushes to her fiancé and is shocked to see that his body can't be controlled, as in he is constantly aroused. He admits that he succumbed to the desires of the flesh for the Count's niece. Mina feels betrayed but still marries Jonathon.

The Harpers' marriage is less than ideal and Mina feels Jonathon needs help. Around this time, her dear friend Lucy has died from treatments due to female hysteria. Mina will take Jonathon to the same mental institution where Lucy was committed, hoping he will recover from his ordeal, as well as find out what really happened to Lucy.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Renee Ziegler on August 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
It is true that the Count himself does not appear in the flesh until late in Essex's beautifully executed story, but I would argue that the anticipation is part of the charm and romance of the novel, and it is, in fact, Mina's story. Whether you've read Stoker's original masterpiece or know nothing of the tale, when readnig Dracula in Love you will know that Dracula is ALWAYS in Mina's world. You will feel him as she feels him, even if he isn't there for the eyes to see. The Count's late arrival is part of Essex's mastermind as it adds to the eternal love story between them. The passion between Mina and the Count is reminiscent of Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw of Wuthering Heights.

In addition to the eternal love story, Essex keeps on giving in the way of an incredibly detailed portrait of Victorian London including a thorough exploration of feminist issues of the time through the powerful female characters. Not to mention the horrific scenes in the asylum--the inspiration for which came from actual 19th century physician notes!

If love and history aren't enough to get your blood pumping, maybe vampires are... Dracula in Love will not disappoint in this realm, and instead will show you vampires you've never seen before.

I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a good read, and if you're looking for romance, history or vampires...it's an absolute must read.
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