Karen Essex transports readers to the Victorian age, a time of genteel women and men. Enter Mina Murray, an orphan teaching girls how manners, and how to land a husband. But Mina is not as calm as she seems. Beneath her tranquil face lies secrets. Nightmares, Sleepwalking, a mysterious ghost man who always comes to Mina in times of trouble. Mina hides all this behind an elaborate facade for she is in love with the wondrous Jonathon Harker. What would the love of her life think if she told him of her deep dark secrets?
Jonathon leaves Mina in London to attend to business in Styria. Lonely Mina travels to Whitby to visit her dear friend Lucy. Mina is scandalized to learn that Lucy is carrying on an affair with her fiancee's friend, Morris. Mina is also pursued by Dr. Seward, another friend of Lucy's fiancee, much to her distaste. To add to Mina's worry, she has not received word from Jonathon, and is doubting his love for her. Surely a wonderful fiancee such as Jonathon would write?
As Lucy spirals downward, all hell breaks loose. Jonathon is hospitalized in Germany with brain fever and Mina must go to him. When she arrives, she finds her fiancee to be a broken and different man. Gone is the loving Jonathon, and he is now replaced with a man who is suspicious, paranoid and unfaithful. Mina conceals her heartbreak to the best of her ability and travels with Jonathon back to London. Upon her arrival, she learns of Lucy's failed battle with psychosis and her death in the assylum ran by Dr. Seward.
And life keeps unraveling. Mina takes Jonathon to the same asylum to cure him, but ends up a patient herself. Mina, in the depth of misery, is rescued by her tall, dark stranger. The Count. The Illustrious Count. He sweeps Mina out of the asylum and races her to Ireland to help her remember their shared past. And remember they do.
I must confess, I have never read Stoker's Dracula. Never. I know I should have, but somehow, I never have. So, this is my first foray into the infamous legend. Now that I think about it, I've never really even heard the story. As a result, I was amazed by this story.
This book is delicious. Love, ahem, abounds. And this love that I speak of is very detailed. Not for the faint of heart. The Characters are well drawn.
Let me say, I read this book in two days. Two. That should be enough said.
In the end, I found myself wanting Mina to be her old self, her super old self.