Laura and her father live a quiet life in their remote castle in the dense forests of Styria. It is a solitary existence for young Laura, who has no companionship except for her governess and the occasional visits of neighbouring gentry. Into this lonely life comes the mysterious house guest, Carmilla.
Slowly Laura falls under Carmilla's spell. While she is both attracted and repulsed by Carmilla, she seems unable to find the energy to resist her.
A spate of sudden wasting deaths afflict the peasants in the countryside around the castle and Laura herself falls ill. Will they manage to work out the cause of her illness in time or will she just be the latest victim of the vampire Carmilla?
ABOUT THE READER: Tracey has just finished a sell-out run playing Martha to Matthew Kelly's George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at London's Trafalgar Studios. Tracey is best known for playing Lynne Howard in the popular 80s drama Howards' Way, and Linda Cosgrove in the long running Born and Bred.
Public Domain(P)2009 Fantom Films
Before Twilight, before Dracula, there was Carmilla.
Laura, a lonely young woman lives with her father in a lonely castle in the lonely Austrian countryside. Along comes a mysterious young woman, a long-term house guest: Carmilla. Laura finds Carmilla strangely attractive yet repellent at the same time. Who is she? What connection does she have to Laura's strange dreams, the attacks on children in the countryside, the sudden death of Laura's friend?
Carmilla was written in 1872 (25 years before Dracula) and is not at all explicit, but this reader definitely gets the impression that Carmilla's seductive pull on Laura has romantic, if not erotic, overtones. So, as much as one could write a "lesbian vampire" story in 1872, J. Sheridan LeFanu did just that.
I think that Carmilla is a more direct ancestor of the "Twilight" saga than, say, "Dracula." We see Laura being seduced by Carmilla's mysterious charm and yet disturbed by the fact. By contrast, Bram Stoker's Dracula focuses on the violent and evil aspects to the vampire's nature.
Tracey Childes' reading was quite good. She told the story well and acted out the part of Laura as the narrator convincingly. The story is told from the first person as a journal, and it is a fitting choice for an audiobook.
If you've read Dracula, Carmilla is an interesting counterpoint.
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