Reluctant Immortals

S. & S. Audio. Aug. 2022. 8:43 hrs. ISBN 9781797145433. $19.99. HORROR
From Gwendolyn Kiste (Boneset & Feathers) comes the continuing story of two women practically ignored in gothic literature. Lucy Westenra and Bertha “Bee” Mason lived beyond the stories in which they were merely plot devices. The two women lived for many years in a decaying house in Los Angeles circa 1967. Lucy vigilantly guards the urns holding Dracula’s ashes, while Bee does everything she can to ignore the supernatural siren call of Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre’s problematic husband. But Dracula and Mr. Rochester soon rear their devilishly handsome heads during the Summer of Love, and the women travel to the Haight-Ashbury District to stop them. This historical horror can seem like a kitchen sink of different ideas, but Kiste pulls it all together with her superb worldbuilding and focus on the two dynamic heroines. Narrator Carlotta Brentan’s voicing of Lucy, the tale’s narrator, is noteworthy, bolstering Kiste’s characterization of a woman who is cynical and slow to trust, but is endowed with a will that even Van Helsing would have admired.
VERDICT Fans of gothic horror will appreciate this complex tale, which is ultimately a story about two women drawing strength from each other so they can each write their own stories.
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