As much as many of us love our classic novels, there are often problematic elements that were not considered to be problematic at the time of publishing. It is only in hindsight (and modern eyes) that we can see that these elements require a second look.
Reluctant Immortals, by Gwendolyn Kiste, was published in August. It is set in the late 1960s in California. The gist of the novel is that Bertha Mason of Jane Eyre and Lucy Westenra of Dracula are undead immortals trying to get away from their respective tormentors. Both Edward Rochester and Dracula would love nothing more than to get back at their former paramours.
I enjoyed this book. Kiste takes two characters who have been written off by most readers and have given them the voice that they were initially denied. Granted, the original texts were written in the 19th century, when women lived more restricted lives than they do today.
What sold it for me was that Bertha and Lucy are more the victims that they were made out to be. Kiste has given them agency, and the will to survive when their individual trauma could have easily destroyed them.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Reluctant Immortals is available wherever books are sold.