Dracula In Love
by Karren Essex
Published by Doubleday
Review by Dionne Charlet
World-traveled New Orleans native Karen Essex is an award-winning essayist. She’s written articles for Vogue and Playboy. With the release of “Dracula in Love,” this international best-selling New Orleanian has endowed the iconic vampire with the full enchantments of masculinity, cultural refinement, intellect and rich taste one would likely require to survive an ages-long existence.
In this sequel to “Dracula,” the undead pursues his lover with dedication comparable to Richard Collier of Matheson’s “Bid Time Return” (made into the cult movie sensation Somewhere in Time). The actual people and events made famous by Stoker are reset through Mina’s eyes, her third-person narrative written to right what Mina considers a fiction concocted by Bram, himself a character in Essex’ novel. The original Draculean author is revealed as an antagonistic reporter per Mina’s account, as she describes his published work to be no more than a fiction he imagined after reading a story in the Whitby paper.
Mina is explored within the contextuality of a female literary character of her time, often reminiscent of Kate Chopin’s Edna Pontellier. Stoker’s capable yet vulnerable Victorian lady is taken off the shelf and empowered with Essex’s vision of a woman experiencing rich depths of sensuality, both natural and superhuman, in vast contrast to what is acceptable for her time and place.
Hopeless romantics out there longing for a female voice, folklore, Gothic imagery and Victorian settings, put this on your summer reading list.