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May 9, 2019

Stoker's Wilde by Stephen Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi ~ a Review

by MK French


Long before they became literary legends, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde had to team up to fight the Black Bishop. He wields supernatural forces with the intention of taking over the British Empire, so the two have to work together and with experts in the supernatural to battle werewolves and vampires in Victorian England.

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May 2019; Flame Tree Press; 978-1787581739
ebook, print (256 pages); horror
Rather like the novels of the Victorian age, this one is told in epistolary format. The White Worm Society had collected letters and diary entries from both men, and the "entries" are told in a similar vein to that of the time period. I find the language to be far less daunting in these entries than in the massive run on sentences that you can find in some Victorian texts, which makes this so much easier to read. We still have some untranslated phrases and sentences here and there, particularly in Bram's journal entries, which adds a bit of character flavor to them. As much as Oscar's letter puts down Bram as boring, I find he has a very dry sarcasm that is actually really fun to read. He also has a supernatural talent of his own, despite being a very vocal skeptic in the beginning of the book.

There are letters and memoir fragments from other characters, as well as references to "missing" letters or entries, which adds to the external framework to the story that this was pieced together in archive records. I like those little touches, as well as the different voices that come with each external source of information. There are also historical figures named, such as the actress Ellen Terry, which adds to the feeling that this very well could have been an actual history that could have influenced the authors' later works. It's fascinating to see echoes of Dracula in this story, as well as what could be namechecks of other works of that period.

I was rather disappointed in some of Bram's behavior, though he openly condemns himself for it as well. He blames it on the "demonic influence" but also acknowledges his own failing as a man.

Buy Stoker's Wilde at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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