My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love vampire books. I admit it that their sexy, tortured souls call to me. However, regardless of how many times I have tried to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I find that version of Dracula’s story boring and lacking any emotional connection to any of the characters. Stoker’s novel reads like a historical documentary with dry facts and one-dimensional view points of its characters.
Not so with Syrie James’ “Dracula, My Love: The Secret Journals of Mina Harker.” This retelling of the classic vampire story is rich with emotion, feelings, and passion. I found myself huddled late at night trying to read one more chapter before sleep claimed me knowing full well that I would pay with blood-shot eyes the next day.
Vampire vs. Man
“Dracula, My Love” is a page-turner of a book that describes an intelligent, lonely man trapped in a life-style not of his choosing. This Dracula struggles to control his compulsion and struggles to win the love and respect of a woman who could share his existence with him – forever. Unlike the images portrayed in the vampire movies of Bela Lugosi, James paints Dracula as a man filled with love and compassion that struggles to contain his lust for companionship before it becomes an all-encompassing and deadly obsession.
The focus of Dracula’s attention is the beautiful yet unassuming Mina, fiancée of Dracula’s solicitor, Jonathan Harker. James again sketches a complete picture of this young woman as she leaves behind girlhood fantasies and matures into a woman with intelligence and lust for life. On the verge of her marriage, Mina begins to experience doubts about her role in life as a wife (and future mother). Is the management of her household going to be enough to settle her active mind after a lifetime of fending for herself? Jonathan, concerned about his law career, wants to put Mina in the typical housewife box with nothing more than household management and tending children in her future. Although that is a dream that Mina shares of her future, she also knows that having lived as an orphan with no ties to anyone else she may be too independent to play the docile wife.
It is that crack of doubt in Mina that opens up a world of adventure and exposes her to the power of Dracula. As I read this first-person memoir of Mina’s time with Dracula I found myself often wondering about choices. Mina’s retelling of her romance with Dracula asks that age-old question of “should I stay with what is safe? Or risk it all for something more?” Could a life filled with endless learning, world travel, and the passionate love of Dracula replace what Mina had thought was the perfect life with Jonathan?
This novel is an excellent choice for book club readers. The publisher and author have provided an “A+ Authors, Insights & More” section at the back of the book providing an interview with the author and a list of thought-provoking questions for your book club to discuss. Ask your book club explore this new tale of vampire lore and rethink everything you ever thought about vampires.
This is a must read for any vampire booklovers. You come to crave the heat of Dracula and Mina’s passion while shivering from the cold and lonely torment of Dracula’s eternal existence.
Be sure to check out SyrieJames.com for bonus material from the author and an amazing photo gallery supporting “Dracula, My Love” and her other books.