My library is stocked with many books featuring vampires from Dracula to Twilight, and many lesser known titles. I say lesser known because I’ve met so few people in my life who have heard of them, though here that may prove differently.
One such book I recently picked up again as I was rearranging things is Blood and Roses by Sharon Bainbridge. On the cover is a woman who resembles Winona Ryder with a rose in her mouth. It reminded me of the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula in which Ryder had portrayed Mina Murry. As that came out in 1992 and Blood and Roses was published in 1994 there may be no coincidence in that.
If you are fond of vampires and Victorian England than this book may interest you. Like the lives of our beloved Austen characters this story is set in the small village of High Grimmire, a country village that could easily remind one of Meryton. We even begin with the familiar buzz of a wealthy, eligible gentleman in residence at a grand estate and a ball where everyone is to be treated to his presence. Though there is a little dash of Pride and Prejudice, this story does go off on its own to be something I found intriguing once again.
With some of the rules of decorum we have become accustomed to as Janeites and the interesting slant it puts on characters trying to function within these social restraints while dealing with problems of a supernatural origin there is plenty to interest those who want a little mayhem with their tea. There is enough adherence to period details that the historic license taken to allow for plot advancement and thickening are not a distraction. And the vampiric elements are of particular interest to me.
We get a bit of vampirism discussion as an illness versus a curse, and what repels a vampire is of interest too. I’m always intrigued by little tidbits of trivia and lore creatively used to create a world where vampires dwell. How do they hide? How do they feed? How do they infect or convert others? What repels them? How do you kill them? These are the questions that should be addressed in any good vampire story or one with vampires in it.
Have you read Blood and Roses, and what did you think? What are you most interested in when reading a vampire story? What vampire novels would you recommend?
*Photo: Love Purity by Cillian Storm, obtained through Flickr Creative Commons.