Dracula in Love
In the opening pages of Dracula in Love, Mina Murray Harker states that the documents and letters used in Bram Stoker’s Dracula were forgeries created to hide the “dark deeds” of a “cabal of murderers.” Wanting to explain the truth of what happened between herself and the Count, Mina begins her story.
The original Dracula storyline is followed, but the changed viewpoint illuminates the repression, cruelty and madness of Drs. Seward, Von Helsinger and Lord Godalming. The doctors’ “understanding” of the female psyche is terrifying. The changed viewpoint also shows us the Count in a new light. He has loved Mina for more than 700 years, his passion, power and vibration singing to her from afar and through the ages. He is a most delicious character, but that creates a problem because Mina’s fiancé, Jonathan, is a most likeable character. Jonathan is kindness and innocence; the Count is pleasure and power. I found the middle part of the book uncomfortable, unsure where the story was heading and if I wanted to go there.
Without telling you the ending, I will say that I liked where I went and I want to go back. Essex’s twisting of the original ending, weaving it with folklore, magic and passion, is pure ecstasy. Additionally, there is a complicated irony to Mina and the Count’s relationship which is, in a literary sense, deeply satisfying.
If Essex hasn’t thought of it, she should consider a sequel. I want more.