Book Review: Reluctant Immortals by Gwendolyn Kiste

Publisher: Titan Books
Format: ebook
Release Date: November 14th 2022
Genre: Horror

Lucy Westenra. Bertha Mason. Pushed aside for the women who came after them – Mina Harker and Jane Eyre. But Lucy and Bee have their own stories, stolen by the men who turned them into immortal creatures, women who have existed on the side-lines for decades, resisting the pull of the men who made them what they are. In Los Angeles, 1967, Lucy guards the urns which house Dracula, ensuring he cannot become whole again. Bee hears Rocester’s call but resists, the two women living side by side in a house succumbing to the rot and decay that follows Lucy. They spend their lives hidden, but to completely reclaim their stories they must face the monsters who have tormented them through the years.

Throughout, Lucy and Bee witness the way these two men have manipulated others, drawing them under their spells, using them as their own personal playthings. The men are shown as charismatic, alluring, difficult to resist, until we get close enough to see beneath the façade. Both women battle against their own traumas, too, learning to co-exist and protecting each other.

No woman escapes their encounters with Dracula and Rochester without some sort of transformation. Kiste is a talented writer who excels at bringing these characters to life, and showing the very real experience of abuse against this fantastical backdrop. Lucy continuously tries to push forward on her own, seeing it as just her fight, but she learns the value of having others at your back, too.

I really like Kiste’s take on these two characters, the strength and importance she gives them, and the way they’re used to show how men erase the stories of women, turning themselves into the focus. Overall, this is a really well written, utterly engrossing tale of pushing back and standing up, and I loved every second.

Thank you to Titan Books for providing an ebook. Views remain my own.


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