4 out of 5 stars
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The Blood of the Vampire by Florence Marryat is a work of fiction that revolves around Harriet Brandt, a mixed-race, independent, and wealthy woman who was traversing Europe, hoping to make some friends. You see, she had spent a good portion of her time in a strict convent and relished her newfound freedom. At the beginning of this story, Harriet finds herself in Heyst, Belgium. While she is stunning, friendly, and blessed with the gift of singing, there is something mysterious about her: anyone she spends time with and shows love to falls ill. Her questionable background is brought to the forefront, as this condition not only affects her ability to make friends but also prevents her from being with the man of her dreams.
The author has expertly explored historical, supernatural, and romantic elements in this novel, and I must commend her for putting together a piece that evokes emotions and makes readers think. As the story is set in the 1890s, we are thrust into a world where there are certain expectations of how women should behave, and Harriet, as a more modern and sexually liberated woman, does not conform to these standards, instantly making her stand out from other characters. I also liked that the author does a wonderful job of portraying life in those times, from the way people spoke and acted to the events that occurred, including slavery and racism, and this set the tone for the rest of the story perfectly.
The strongest point of the book has to be the author's execution of the diverse characters. From the vengeful, controlling Baroness Gobelli and her son Bobby, who was always left frustrated by his mother's antics and wanted to prove himself as a man, to the handsome Ralph Pullen, who sought excitement in his boring relationship, the author ensures that you clearly understand each of the supporting cast's perspective. You can expect a love triangle as well. There was never a dull moment in this story.
Also, Harriet is loving, kind, and innocent, still learning a lot about the world, and these attributes will draw readers to her. In the same vein, she is dangerous, even though she doesn't realize it early on. As the reader, you are aware of this from the start and will be kept in suspense while events play out as she cares for her unsuspecting victim. Therefore, the read was an emotional rollercoaster at times, and in the end, what I could feel for Harriet was compassion.
The only issue I have with the book is the number of errors I found in the text, which indicated that the book was not professionally edited. Therefore, I will settle for rating The Blood of the Vampire by Florence Marryat four out of five stars. Besides the errors, I have no other complaints and would recommend the book to lovers of historical fiction as well as romance.
The Blood of the Vampire
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