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Review: Stoker’s Wild – Stephen Hopstaken & Melissa Prussi

Review: Stoker's Wild - Stephen Hopstaken & Melissa Prussi

Genre: Historical, Paranormal

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, Bisexual

Reviewer: Maryann

Get It On Amazon

About The Book

Longlisted for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize 2019.

Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop, a mysterious madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will.

With the help of a European vampire expert, a spirited actress and an American businessman, our heroes fight werewolves, vampires and the chains of Victorian morality.

The fight will take them through dark forests in Ireland, the upper-class London theater world and Stonehenge, where Bram and Oscar must stop a vampire cult from opening the gates of Hell.

The Review

One evening in Ireland, Lady Jane Wilde is giving an informal dinner party. Captain Charles Burton (aka Ruffian Dick) and his wife Isabel have come for an important visit.

Burton is known for his wild adventures. He tells his tales of giant serpents, vampires and now werewolves. Oscar Wilde, his older brother Willie, and Bram Stoker are also in attendance.

Oscar doesn’t think very highly of the Irishman, Stoker, and the feeling is mutual. Oscar and Stoker are both writers, and neither thinks the other is very good. Stoker also thinks the multi-linguistic Oscar is a “poof.” Hardly a moment goes by when they are not in conflict.

As Burton continues, he tells his tale of a werewolf that has already killed two people. He explains by the request of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, he is going to Greystones to protect her subjects and find the werewolf. Lady Jane Wilde (aka Speranza) is ecstatic, as she dabbles in the supernatural and is working on writings about werewolves. She wants to join Burton on the werewolf hunt, and Oscar says he’s is willing to go too.  Reluctantly, Willie and Stoker join them, but Stoker feels like he’s being kidnapped.

As they arrive in Greystones and get immersed in the hunt for the werewolf, Oscar and Stoker pair off in the investigation. Oscar witnesses Stokers “spell” – a trick that lets Stoker see what has already happened. The situation becomes chaotic as they discover that the Order of the Golden Dawn, The Black Bishop and a horde of vampires are gathering to take over the world.  

Some of the most unique individuals will join the group of vampire hunters. Henry Irving, Dr. Hesselius, Robert Roosevelt, Ellen Terry, and even Bram and Oscar, who put their differences aside to join in a fight for their lives and their loved ones.

What is the White Worm Society’s part in all this? What are their intentions? And why are they spying on this group of vampire hunters?

Stoker’s Wilde is an expertly executed tale of supernatural happenings in the 19th century, and the historical and fictional figures involved. There’s drama, action, andhorror from the supernatural world, along with a touch of humor.

There are also developments that revolve around Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker’s personal lives that create conflicts between them. The authors bring the novel to life as the many characters relate their stories to others through diaries, telegrams, letters, notes and journals. It’s amazing the amount of research that the authors must have put into this novel, and how they have so many fictional and factual figures woven together throughout the tale. It’s a magnificent novel by two brilliant authors, Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi.

In the way of fictional characters, I found Doctor Martin Hessilius to be the most interesting, but I also appreciated all the female figures in this novel: Florence Balcombe, Lucy Mayhem, Lilly Langtry, Ellen Terry and Lady Jane Wilde.  

I’ve been researching Oscar Wilde for a while. He was a famous poet/writer, and did go to prison because of his “predilections”, but there were others who were not so innocent too. I’ve read several fictional/factual series that address the 19th century Victorian age and famous figures, and recently read a supernatural novel where Oscar Wilde was the main character, along with some other historical figures, and they too were battling the “Order of the Golden Dawn”.  

I love audio books, and read this one along with the narration by  William Hope – it’s also spectacular. Each character is clearly distinguishable, and the variety of voice changes work out well, especially with female characters. Hope also does a marvelous job with the variety of emotions here. I love the British/Irish/Cockney accents – it’s one of the best I’ve listened to. Both the novel itself and the narration are splendidly done.  

I highly recommend Stoker’s Wilde, especially if you’re looking for a well-written, twisted supernatural tale with a touch of historical fact. I especially appreciate novels like this, it’s what I love to read most. I’m excited for the next adventure, as Hopstaken and Prusi send Wilde and Stoker to the American West in Stoker’s Wilde West.

The Reviewer

Hi, I’m Maryann, I started life in New York, moved to New Hampshire and in 1965 uprooted again to Sacramento, California.  Once I retired I moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2011 and just moved back to Sacramento in March of 2018.  My son, his wife and step-daughter flew out to Florida and we road tripped back so they got to see sights they have never seen.  New Orleans and the Grand Canyon were the highlights. Now I am back on the west coast again to stay! From a young age Ialways liked to read.

I remember going to the library and reading the “Doctor Dolittle” books by Hugh Lofting. Much later on became a big fan of the classics, Edgar Alan Poe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and as time went by Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury and Stephen Kingand many other authors.

My first M/M shifter book I read was written by Jan Irving the “Uncommon Cowboys” series from 2012.  She was the first author I ever contacted and sent an email to letting her know how much I liked this series.  Sometime along the way I read “Zero to the Bone”by Jane Seville, I think just about everyone has read this book! 

As it stands right now I’m really into mysteries, grit, gore and “triggers” don’t bother me. But if a blurb piques my interest I will read the book.

My kindle collection eclectic and over three thousand books and my Audible collection is slowly growing.  I have both the kindle and audible apps on my ipod, ipads, and MAC. So there is never an excuse not to be listening or reading.

I joined Goodreads around 2012 and started posting reviews.  One day a wonderful lady, Lisa Horan of The Novel Approach, sent me an email to see if I wanted to join her review group.  Joining her site was such an eye opener.  I got introduce to so many new authors that write for the LGBTQ genre. Needless to say, it was heart breaking when it ended.

But I found a really great site, QRI and it’s right here in Sacramento. Last year at QSAC I actually got to meet Scott Coatsworth, Amy Lane and Jeff Adams. 

 

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