Solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula, a gentleman who has purchased property in London and wishes to discuss his affairs with his solicitor. Seeing as Jonathan’s boss is ill, he goes in his stead, leaving his fiancée Mina Murray behind. While in Transylvania, Jonathan notices that the locals are rather peculiar, and all seem to dread him going to Dracula’s castle. Upon arrival, all seems well, though Jonathan notices strange things about the Count, such as the way he smells, the way he never eats, the lack of servants for the castle and so forth. It soon becomes evident that the Count is no mortal man, and Jonathan fears for his life, and rightly so. In a panic, he tries to escape and flee home, but is horrified to learn that he is, in actual fact, Dracula’s prisoner.
Back in England, Mina Murray spends time with her best friend, Lucy Westenra in Whitby, with Mrs Westenra, too. Lucy is much coveted by a trio of friends, but ultimately chooses Lord Arthur Godalming, the man she loves, turning down both his friends, Dr John Seward and Mr Quincey Morris, an American. Lucy soon starts sleepwalking, something she has not done in years, and progressively looks more and more ill. Mina receives news from Mrs Westenra that she is very sick, and probably won’t make it very long, but will not have Lucy told of the news. Mina is also extremely worried about Jonathan, whom she has not heard from in weeks. In Whitby, things get stranger and stranger, and it seems that on a sleepwalking expedition, Lucy came across a foreign man, who was gone by the time that Mina reached her. Mina receives word from overseas that Jonathan has been admitted to hospital, and is suffering from brain fever. Mina immediately leaves to go tend to the love of her life.
In Mina’s absence, Lucy grows sick enough that Arthur eventually calls John away from the lunatic asylum that he runs to look over Lucy. John is shocked at what he sees, and immediately reaches out to his mentor, Dr Abraham Van Helsing, to come and make his examination of her, which he promptly does. Van Helsing seems to be thinking along a line of thought he is not willing to share with John, who is worried about Lucy. Numerous blood transfusions have been done, though it is evident that she is not improving. Also, she has ragged little holes in her neck which John cannot explain, though Van Helsing has a theory on how to account for them, though he does not wish to share it so soon. Their struggle to save Lucy ultimately turns out to be in vain. Mina, meanwhile, marries Jonathan overseas, and returns home to receive the shocking news that Lucy is no longer with them. Van Helsing has shared his theory that Lucy had been preyed on by a vampire, and that she, too, has turned into the undead, and that they alone can stop her. Scepticism soon gives way to fear when Quincey, John, Arthur, and Van Helsing come together to right the wrongs. Getting in touch with Mina proves to hold some of the missing pieces, and her and Jonathan join in the hunt for the Count. The Harkers are adored by the group that avenges Lucy, and soon they become like a family.
Will the group come to terms with what the Count is? Can he be defeated? Will anyone else fall prey to him while he is in London? Will Arthur ever deal with the loss of Lucy, as well as the defilement that she suffered? Will they be able to figure out how the Count works, as well as his weaknesses, his strengths, and come up with a plan to end it all? How did the Count come to be?
This book is definitely a classic, and for good reason, too. I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which it was presented, as various diary entries, news clippings, letters, etc. It gave a sense of seeing the story from each and every one of their perspective. It was interesting, and it was old school English, which was so lovely to read, everything was so proper. The characters, too, were interesting. Sometimes I was unsure if the times have changed or if people truly made friends that quickly and became so loyal, effortlessly almost? It’s like rash decisions all over the show as to who they would trust, and why. Then point two, I laughed because it clarifies more of the time it was written in, which is still not right, how they said Mina had a “man brain” because she was smart. Way to go history, so chauvinistic at the best of times. None of the women were ever written about in a degrading sense, it was just that it was made clear in the book that women are precious, but not the intelligent species. Such as when Mina was being preyed on by the Count… it was never considered (though they were right next door and all saw what happened to Lucy) that the Count could be responsible, it was just accepted that she was severely stressed out trying to be strong for them, or getting a little hysterical as women do. I mean seriously guys? I thought you were supposed to be the smart lot. Dracula really showcases the original vampire story commercially, and is well worth the read.