Dracula in Love by Karen Essex has potential as the story of Bram Stoker's Dracula from Mina Harker's point of view. And in fact, the first part of the novel is well written, with a definite feel for the original as it traces the steps of Mina through her engagement to Jonathan Harker and his absence on the business of the mysterious Count. The atmosphere is right, the setting is right...and then...it all explodes in a confusion of lust, myth, reincarnation, and insane asylums. Did I mention lust? Because that's probably not the right word...more like prurient sexual escapades that do nothing to advance the plot but everything to leave the reader feeling icky.
Possible spoilers ahead...The title Dracula in Love is a misnomer; Dracula himself only appears in small glimpses until around page 250, when there he is, obsessed with Mina and becoming her savior, her lover, and her cruise director all at once. While the story up until this point has its moments, it is when Dracula appears that the whole thing goes south. Lots and lots of myth, reincarnation, and immortal beings suddenly arrive, and none of them do anything to enhance the storyline. Mina transforms from the do-gooder Victorian we've known for much of the book, and it's not a good transformation. At this point I might've wall-banged the book had I not invested so much time into it. And while I'm certaily no prude, the author's attempts to shock the reader with wild no holds barred sex felt like just that--an attempt to shock, nothing more.
Dracula in Love is not all bad news, with the first two hundred pages, while devoid of the Count himself for the most part, ripe with atmosphere and fairly true in spirit to the original. Once the "reunion" between Mina and the Count occurs, however, it's as though Ms. Essex had no idea how to reconcile her world with Stoker's and started throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the mix. The more I think about it, the more ludicrous the story becomes (and that's saying something since we're dealing with vampires here). Maybe I'd best stop this review while I'm still rounding up from the 2.5 stars I'd decided upon. My generosity can only extend so far so I'll just say this is one to avoid.