By: Syrie James
Publisher: Avon A
Publication Date: August 2010
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: May 14, 2010
In 1890, Mina steps off the train eager to begin her summer months with her best friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy and Mina are living in a blissful world at the moment, for they are both engaged to great men and are looking forward to beginning the next phase of their lives…as blushing brides.
Lucy has always been a stunning girl; a young lady who men worshiped whenever she walked into the room. She has always been a part of the wealthy, aristocratic crowd, and loves the attention of it all. Mina’s life has been the opposite. She was abandoned at a young age and lived in an orphanage where she met Jonathan Harker. She and Jonathan became fast friends when they were children, and now they’re getting ready to walk down the aisle into their future. Of course, the future can’t begin until her beloved comes back from his business trip in Transylvania. Jonathan has become a brilliant mind in the business and financial worlds, and is currently doing a real estate deal with a nobleman by the name of Count Dracula.
As Lucy and Mina enjoy their holiday, things start to get very strange. Mina has taken to walking up the East Cliff of the island to an old abandoned castle. Sitting on a bench overlooking the sea, she begins to write a great deal in her diary. One day, a fierce gale pummels the land and a Russian ship appears out of the mist, running aground on the rocks. As the men of the town race to the ship to help anyone aboard, all they can find are many crates filled with dirt, and a dead man at the wheel. A big black dog bounds off the deck – the only survivor of the horrible wreck.
Soon, Mina meets up with a handsome stranger who seems unbelievably taken with her beauty and brilliance. Walking the island with the man, she feels the monumental attraction that is building between the two of them. If not for her immense amount of worries, including the fact that she has still not received a letter from her missing fiancé; and, her sleepwalking friend Lucy, who is becoming more pale, drawn, and distant as the holiday wears on, the stranger would’ve been all she could think about. Upon receipt of an urgent letter, telling Mina that her beloved Jonathan is currently in a hospital in Austria acting like a raving lunatic, she puts down her journal and turns her back on the enchanting stranger, choosing to rush to Jonathan’s side.
This remarkable story twists and turns with every page. As Mina embarks on her married life with Jonathan, who is finally coming back to himself, people she loves begin to die all around her. When a man by the name of Van Helsing suddenly appears in her life and tells her a story, for some reason Mina completely and utterly believes that he speaks the truth. From the eerie, dark streets of London, to a psychiatric hospital that houses a man named Renfield, the story unfolds with fast-paced action, well-written dialogue, and historical events mixed in with a truly remarkable love story that keeps the reader glued to every page.
Syrie James is the author of the fantastic work, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. Here, one again, she doesn’t disappoint. Mixing history with a fantastic, well-known mystery has certainly given this author another hit…right out of the park.
Quill says: The vampire publishing juggernaut has finally turned its eye on the most beloved of them all. Readers will bury themselves happily in this book, because the one and only Count has truly been gone for far too long.