Essex cleverly uses many of the characters from Stoker's novel and completely retells the tale with Dracula not as a monster, but as a protector and lover of Mina.
I enjoyed the historical detail of the time and period. Essex has done a great job with bringing 1890 to life. Her descriptions of the asylums and 'modern' psychiatric methods in women's care were chilling, even more so as they are fact based. This theme is in direct contrast to Mina's awakening sexuality and plays a pivotal role in Essex's re imagined Dracula. The sex scenes read as very mild erotica.
I was completely caught up in this altered tale and actually liked Dracula, hoping he and Mina would finally end up together. But Dracula is not the focal point of Essex's novel. Rather it is Mina and Lucy who take centre stage. The depictions of all characters were strong though and fairly leapt off the page.
Essex has taken great pains to research eternal life through the ages with an eye to explaining the presence of vampires in the world. It's very well done, but I found myself glossing over a bit during these pages. I was in a rush to see what the final outcome would be.
Not your usual vampire fare - instead an intriguing mix of history, romance and the paranormal that combines for a pleasurable read.
Try it for yourself - read an excerpt of Dracula in Love. You can find Dracula in Love on Facebook too.
**** You've got until Saturday Sept 25th to enter to win one of two copies.***