Original date of publication: 2010
My edition: 2010 (Avon)
Why I decided to read: it was offered on Amazon Vine
How I acquired my copy: Vine, May 2010
Dracula, My Love is a retelling of the Dracula myth. It’s been a long time since I read the original, and my memory is a little hazy about whether or not this book stays true to its inspiration. But I really enjoyed this novel, covering Mina (Murray) Harker’s experiences from her time at Whitby (where she meets a man named Mr. Wagner, obvious to everyone but her that he’s Dracula), her love affair with Dracula (even though she’s married to Jonathan) up through the time when she must make a difficult decision regarding her personal happiness.
I’ve read Syrie James’s other two books (one based on the life of Jane Austen and her inspiration for Sense and Sensibility, the other about Charlotte Bronte), and this one is just as enjoyable. The author’s prose flows very smoothly and the plot moves along quickly. James’s Mina Harker is a believable character, strong in the face of he difficulties she experiences. She’s a bit too modern at some points in the story, but I found that that didn’t interfere too much with my enjoyment of the story.
Normally, I don’t read much Dracula and vampire-inspired fiction—and those that I do read, I find disappointing (take Deanna Raybourn’s The Dead Travel Fast as an example—I love her writing normally, but I thought the plot of that book was rather ridiculous). But with Dracula My Love, the author doesn’t go overboard with the vampire stuff. In fact, I though Dracula was quite a sympathetic character. At the same time though, you can’t totally trust him. Is he telling the truth? Or is he just feeding Mina what she wants to hear? I remember Stoker’s Dracula as being pure evil, so it was interesting to see a new side to him.
Although Mina and Dracula’s characters were well-drawn, however, I thought the other men faded into the background at times—Mr. Morris and Lord Godalming say about five sentences between then, and Van Helsing comes across as being a bit of an idiot. James uses British spelling in order to make Mina’s voice more authentic, but her use of British spelling is often inconsistent. She also uses footnotes to explain some terms and foreign phrases, but thankfully these occur infrequently. Nonetheless, I thought that was an likable retelling of the Dracula myth, definitely worth reading if you’ve enjoyed Syrie James’s other two novels.