Oct 20, 2011

Karen Essex - Dracula in Love - Contest

To celebrate the month of Halloween Karen Essex is offering three lucky PVN readers a copy of her terrific book Dracula in Love (Doubleday, 2010). This is one of my favorite paranormal novels from last year. Not only is it an imaginative retelling of the Dracula story, but it gives a credible description of the often difficult position of nineteenth century women. Below is my review.

[see contest info at the end of the post]


Dracula in Love A Review

The red-haired Irish writer  (aka Bram Stoker) had it all wrong when he wrote his turgid tale of a vampire aristocrat.

From Mina Harker's perspective, her relationship with Dracula brought with it an alternate reality. Although certain characters have the same or similar names as found in Stoker, the "true story" is quite different. It is instead an exquisite timeless tale of love and passion. Mina, while engaged to solicitor Jonathan Harker, has recurring visions of a lover very familiar to her although her memories are so hazy she cannot identify him. He carries her to a world in a place and time not connected to our own and begs her to remember the endless years they have had together. Often he appears in the real world as a protector when she finds herself in danger. Always he is an incredibly attractive and powerful presence.

For those who have read Bram Stoker's Dracula you know that Jonathan was sent to the Castle where he eventually becomes the Count's prisoner. Not exactly true the reader and Mina discover. In Mina's account she receives a note, unsigned but with very familiar handwriting, that of her dream lover, telling her of Jonathan's whereabouts. He's been ill and is confined to a small hospital in Gratz. Mina travels there and finds Jonathan suffering from psychic wounds he is loath to talk about or remember.

He finally confesses to Mina the truth about the luxurious life at the Count's home and the passionate nights spent with Dracula's enchanting and beautiful nieces. Then, without warning, he finds himself wandering fields not knowing where he is or even who he is until someone finds him and brings him to the hospital where the doctors and nurses endeavor to bring him back to health. All the darkness and foreboding of Stoker's Castle Dracula is nonexistent.

Familiar characters such as Lucy, Arthur Holmwood and Dr John Seward are present, so are Morris Quince and Dr. Von Helsinger - names similar to those used by Stoker. In Essex' novel their personalities and agendas differ in the extreme. Additionally there is Kate Reed, a friend of Mina's and Lucy's and a strong minded reporter. The three women attended school together. Mina stayed on after graduation as a teacher, a job she loved.  One of the reasons Mina writes her story is to have the truth available, if only for her children, in case they should ever come across the hack novel of the red-haired Irishman.

What comes across quite strongly, other than the expected story, is the limited life choices of upper class Victorian women, and their treatment as lesser beings. At one point Mina suffers greatly at the hands of all the men around her including Jonathan, simply because as a female she cannot be expected to know what is best for her. It is Dracula who finds and saves her.


* Karen is offering a copy of Dracula in Love to three lucky readers.

* Leave a comment about this post for a chance to win. 
* Be sure contact information is included with your comment. 

* Contest ends October 31, 2011 at 11:59pm EST

* Contest is limited to US and Canadian residents only.


SiNn said...

I had this book at on time and was in my i aveeeto read this but someone ese wnated it more thenme iv been dyingg to readthis benw aiting for my lib to get it in just ove that cover count me in please and ty


SandyG265 said...

I've had this on my TBR list for a while but haven't had a chance to get a copy. Thanks for the chance to win one.

sgiden at verizon.net

Tanya1224 said...

I thought you had mentioned this book on your blog a while back...I had added it to my TBR list. It did sound interesting to read it from Mina's POV. I'd love a chance to win this. Thank you =) I love the cover also...very nice.

Tore said...

I really want to read this book. I have wanted to since it first came out. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

Julie S said...

Awesome! Thanks for the giveaway. I've been wanting to read this.

catslady said...

Just knowing this was one of your favorite books last year is good enough for me - I'd love to read it!


tetewa said...

My kind of read, count me in! tWarner419@aol.com

Dot S.(ladeetdareads.wordpress.com) said...

I read this book awhile back, I think when you first mentioned it. I liked it...a lot... and reviewed it on my blog too. don't enter me in the contest; I just had to say how much I liked this book.

alainala said...

this looks really good! new to me but i would love the chance to read it!

alainala AT hotmail DOT ca

Anonymous said...

Oh, this is really interesting! I'd love to get a copy.

Alicia0605 said...

I read great reviews about this book but for some reason I never got around to picking up a copy. Thanks for bringing it to my attention again!


Romantic Fool said...

Oh, how exciting! I've been wanting to read this one since I first saw it on your blog!


Patricia Altner said...

Hi Dot

So glad you enjoyed this book!

Denise Z said...

You know I have been ambivalent about this book for some reason and today I decided to hop on over and see what you thought. You have changed my mind and would very much like to read Dracula in Love. Thank you for sharing and for the lovely giveaway opportunity.


Sandy Rainey said...

Hi, Patricia! Because of the emphasis on Mina's lack of rights and regard due to her status as a Victorian woman--with Dracula as the only one who respects her as a full person--I was wondering whether this novel reminds you in any way of Yarbro's Saint-Germain books. Women's rights are a constant focus for Yarbro, but it sounds as if the treatment/approach might be a bit different here.


LoriStrongin said...

Sounds interesting. I usually enjoy reading alternate takes of well-known stories, like Kenneth Oppel's new book about Viktor Frankenstein.

Thanks for the giveaway opp!


Linda C. McCabe said...

I started reading Karen's novel "Leonardo's Swans" and am enjoying it. Please enter me in your contest. My email is linda (dot) mccabe at gmail.com


Lisa Richards/alterlisa said...

I love reading a man's story told from the female POV.


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

booklover0226 said...

The review was great; I enjoyed reading it. I'm adding Dracula in Love to my must have list.

Tracey D
booklover0226 at gmail dot com

Charleydog said...

I love Dracula stories. I remember seeing Dracula on Broadway in NY many years ago. Frank Langella was the star.

pboylecharley AT hotmail DOT com

Kalex said...

I would love a chance to read this book.


Susan Blexrud said...

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book cover. In fact, I love it so much that I entered it as my pick for this month's Cover Clash on my blog, Embrace the Shadows. So, best of luck with what looks like a terrific book. I'd love to read it.


Karen Essex said...

Hi Patricia and readers. I can't wait to see which of you will get bitten! Happy Halloween, everyone, and thanks for entering the contest.

Yours in chills & blood—

kimmyl said...

read great reviews about this book and i would love the chance to read it!