What would Dracula look like from Mina’s point of view? Syrie James takes this question and twists it, causing Mina to fall in love with Dracula before she knows he’s Dracula. Just as in the original book, she goes to visit her friend Lucy and her mother in Whitby, but what we don’t see are her secret meetings with a mysterious and attractive man, because she doesn’t mention them. And when she discovers that his true identity is Dracula, the story changes, to accommodate Mina’s new truth.
The original Dracula is one of my favorite books, and as a result I seem to have a lot of trouble with any book that modifies the story in any way. And so it happened here, for a variety of reasons. Some things made sense told James’s way – like how the four men actually killed Lucy because of the danger of blood transfusions – but some don’t.
First of all, I felt like there was too much explaining on Dracula’s part. Every single move in the original novel is carefully explained and turned around by Dracula himself when Mina starts to ask questions. It happens every time the men discover something and, though I know it’s a novel, I honestly had just had enough of his excuses. If I were Mina I’d have chucked him out immediately, simply because there comes a point when you get tired of hearing the same story. Plus, I found it crazy that she’d trust the word of a mysterious stranger over that of the husband she’d known and loved her entire life. Maybe passion makes people crazy, but I often wanted to smack her around. And even though she and Dracula have plenty of intelligent conversations, none of these are actually explicit in the text – we just learn about all the things they had in common. I didn’t feel the connection or the spark between them.
Other than that, the book mainly follows the original’s plot, with some diversions explaining more of Mina’s backstory. These did give the book an interesting angle, going into more detail about how she and Jonathan met and the origins of her parents, but overall weren’t really enough to justify the whole basis of the book as a love story between Mina and Dracula. It didn’t help that I felt Mina was a surprisingly weak character. Her intelligence, for me, was belied by the fact that she never really questioned Dracula. She just went along with his explanations and continued to fall in love with him – she never considers that he might be manipulating her, as she knows he can do. She starts to wake up in some respects by the end of the book, but for the most part I just didn’t like her, which is a disappointment given how fond I am of the original.
In all honesty, I do think my fondness for the original has stopped me enjoying more modern takes on it as much as I might had I never read it. As a result, I just didn’t really connect with this book.
Plenty of others have felt differently about Dracula, My Love. If one of them is you, please let me know in the comments and I’ll feature your review here.
I am an Amazon Associate. I received this book for free for review from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.