Meanwhile back in England, Mina Murray, Harker's fiancee, is left to wonder what has become of him as his communications become less and less. To distract her from her worry, she travels to Whitby to visit her friend, Lucy Westenra, who has just received 3 marriage proposals from a Dr. John Seward, who oversees a sanatorium, an English lord named Arthur Holmwood, and an American by the name of Quincey Morris. While she is there, a Russian ship wrecks on the shore near the town with no survivors except a large dog which escapes and disappears. Shortly after that, Lucy begins to sleepwalk and her health begins to deteriorate. Her fiancee, Arthur, and her other suitors call on Professor Van Helsing when two puncture marks are discovered on Lucy's neck. Van Helsing deduces that Lucy is the victim of a vampire attack. Despite the valiant efforts of her male protectors, Lucy dies, but Van Helsing fears that her soul is not at rest. Mina, having finally received word that Johnathan has been in Budapest suffering from a brain fever, rushes to his side and is ignorant of the fate that has befallen her friend Lucy. The couple, now married, return to England and Jonathan is determined to put the whole ordeal behind him, until one day he see the Count in London. When Mina learns that fate of her friend, she and Jonathan join forces with the others to seek out and destroy Count Dracula.
My love of "all things vampire" began when my mother recommended that I read Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. I loved the book and quickly read the rest of the series. From there I read a myriad of vampire series and became a fan of TV shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, The Vampire Diaries, and True Blood. The character of the vampire quickly became a favorite - from the evil, sexy, dark ones to the brooding, troubled ones fighting their nature and seeking redemption (this type being my personal favorite - Stefan, Angel, Edward). Dracula has long since been on my to-read list, but for some reason I never got around to it and it kept getting pushed to the end of the queue in favor of other books.
I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was surprised that Dracula himself was largely absent from the majority of the book. For some reason I thought he would be a much more prominent character. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that the story was told through various diary entries and observations of the various characters hunting Dracula. I found myself wanting a little when it came to Dracula himself. I'm so used to seeing inside the vampire's head and catching glimpses of their former humanity, it almost felt one sided to me as we only see Dracula as a monster through the eyes of his pursuers. Not that I don't think he is a monster, his character just lacked some of the complexity and dimension of his later counterparts. I did like how the book continually changed perspective and it was remarkably well done. The story was woven together well and it did not feel disjointed as it sometimes can when switching perspectives.
For a classic published in the 1890's, it is an easy read. There were a few times when the cadence or the vernacular was a little hard to follow, but it wasn't often and didn't deter from being able to understand what was happening. I'm not sure that my love of "all things vampire" would have been sparked had I started with Dracula. He is just too absent from the story. If you are not a fan of classics, or at least have an appreciation for them, I would probably recommend skipping this one. Although there is a lot of action in the book, I think that the vampire draw might be lacking for some modern readers. If however you are like me and happen to enjoy reading classics and stories about vampires, then I recommend picking this up as it artfully combines the two.