The Blood of the Vampire by Florence Marryat
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It just goes to show -- sometimes we all ought to go into our books with zero expectations.
I started this one looking at that interesting cover and looking at that interesting title and heard things like sexual mores and seduction and when it became clear that this was the OTHER vampire novel that came out the same year as Dracula (and fifty years after Varney the Vampire popularized the hell out of the meme) I kinda expected something sensational and daring and shocking for all those ladies with their swooning couches.
INSTEAD, we get something like a cross between Jane Eyre (quality as well, mind you,) and Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, but set as something like a psychological and even broad-scientific rebuttal to Gilman's story's theme.
The main character, a fish out of water, exploring her budding sexuality and feeling out of sorts with the stifling Victorian society, blames herself for all the strange tragedies going on around her. She takes it on herself, believing herself to be some kind of monster. A vampire.
We get an interesting mix of reasoning around genetics, social mores, psychological damage, expectations, and even a rather destructive and reactionary take on women's rights -- if we read rather deeper into the tale.
All those Freudian neuroses. This is a novel about turning the blame upon oneself. And it does a rather good job of convincing the reader, too.
For that, it's pretty scary. But while it DOES take on so many of the similar kinds of issues of the day, of the OTHER, of sexuality, like Dracula, it keeps the tale much closer to home and perhaps, for that reason, it might have been a bit more disturbing. Still, it is its own tale. :)
This is NOT something I'd recommend for, say, Spooktober.
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