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FANGirl Book Reviews: Stories to Sink Your Teeth Into – “RELUCTANT IMMORTALS” by Gwendolyn Kiste

Sunday, September 18, 2022 | Uncategorized

by LINDY RYAN

Release Date: August 23, 2022
Publisher: Gallery/Saga
Rating: 5/5 Bites

Upcoming from three-time Bram Stoker Award®-winning author Gwendolyn Kiste, Reluctant Immortals is a stunningly spellbinding gothic horror novel featuring two of history’s most notorious, if overlooked, female characters – Dracula’s Lucy Westenra and Jane Eyre’s Bertha Rochester (née Mason) – to finally give these two forgotten women the opportunity to rise from the ashes, tell their tragic truths, and fling away the trappings of their tormentors.

Still eluding the men who ruined them – Dracula (whose ashes enjoy confinement in a collection of urns) and Mr. Rochester – Lucy and Bertha (Bee, as she prefers), exist as undead immortals joined together by shared misery and trauma. Currently residing within the “Summer of Love” heyday of late-1960s Los Angeles, both women have so far survived in their own way – namely, by keeping their secrets to themselves as Lucy struggles to keep the remains of a temporarily-bested Dracula contained while denying her bloodthirst. For Lucy and Bee, theirs is a tortured existence spent alternating between cowering in their always-decaying ramshackle home, evenings spent at a crumbling drive-in, and alternating a windows-open, curtains-closed system of sisterhood. 

That is until Jane Eyre – Bee’s long-lost love – appears, and another layer of untold history is revealed. Dracula’s Renfield still wanders too, unable to break the shackles of his bounds to the vampire.

As the horrors of their past collide with the present, the two women discover that they aren’t the only unlikely partnership around. Dracula – or, his ashes, always whispering from their urns – and Mr. Rochester have also found their way together. like Lucy and Bee’s mission to avoid their former tormenters, these rotten men are eager to reclaim that which once belonged to them. 

A manifesto of the forgotten, the cast aside, the quiet, resilient strength of the female spirit, no matter how many times she’s been forced to die, Reluctant Immortals is a world unto itself. A fresh take on vampires, a look at the powers and torments of what’s it like to be a woman in a horror story, and a reminder to always hold true, Gwendolyn Kiste’s newest is one destined to be at the top of the charts for some time to come.

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