Dracula in Love: Letter to the Reader

Dear Reader,

“A brave man’s blood is the best thing on this earth when a woman is in trouble.”

Bram Stoker wrote this line and many like it in his novel Dracula without a trace of irony. Today, the book is often read as a cautionary tale against the unbridling of female sexuality at the end of the 19th century. At that time, some women were taking to the streets for emancipation, while the majority clung feverishly to Victorian ideals of purity and piety, which were considered the female norm.

In Dracula in Love, I wanted to turn the original story inside out, exposing its underbelly or its “subconscious mind.” My research turned up two themes for my book, which I explore in depth: 1 ) Vampires have a long, rich history dating back to pre-biblical times, in which many of the blood drinkers of myth were female, symbolic of feminine magic and power. 2 ) Women in Victorian England had a lot more to fear from their own culture than from vampires.

I decided to portray Mina Harker’s life as it would have been at this time of great change, when technological advances allowed women to consider previously unimaginable choices, but also a time in which the choice between purity and desire could have deadly consequences.

Like Santa Claus and the tooth fairy, the vampire is here to stay. No longer a craze or a fad, s/he is now firmly embedded in our cultural lexicon. While humankind has always sought magical fountains of youth, today’s generations are downright insulted by ideas of aging and death. Our own technologies, from genetic and stem cell therapy to cosmetic procedures, give us the hope that we, too, will soon be able to transcend the human condition, and, like our glamorous vampires, remain forever young. This is why we cannot get enough of them.

And let’s face it: what woman does not dream that she will remain an object of love and desire for all eternity?

With warm wishes,
Karen Essex


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