Renfield: Slave of Dracula, by Barbara Hambly
I don't know why I've never read this book before. Perhaps its because I just now recently picked up my own paperback-copy from an estate sale and didn't have ready access to it before. The story here remains true to Bram Stoker's, "Dracula," and expands upon that genius work, greatly, by making Renfield the protagonist.
In fact this book's conveyance practically begins with Renfield in the nuthouse and he's desperately seeking to save precious Lucy from certain death, either by Dracula and later by human-hunters. He watches everything that is happening to her through his mental connection to the vampire and as Renfield desperately intends to intervene, he himself is often found helplessly restricted by a straight jacket or is left spinning in the "swing," a dreadful "medical" device that's supposed to soothe mental patients but only serves to agitate them.
One fascinating development in Hambly's book is the visitation of Dracula's three brides early on. They are tired of their vampire-husband's cavorting ways and seek to stop all his waywardness, which means Renfield has the opportunity to defy his master Dracula and assist them, if he so chooses.
QUOTES THAT SHOW BARBARA's VIVID DETAILS AND FUN WRITING STYLE:
1. After being asked to sit down on a newly delivered chair: "Lady Brough scrutinized the seat of hers as if to make sure nobody had inadvertently left fresh pig entrais on it." (P. 23)
2. Renfield has many dreams. In one: "He had dreamed about Catherine, dreamed terrible things. Georgina and Lady Brough were going to take Vixie, take her and lock her up, send her away. Teach her shame and squeamishness. Teach her that everything she loved and felt and cared about was wrong." (P. 175)
3. Hoping to outsmart the aunts that Catherine always loathed, Renfield enters the dark house to find: "Only the smell of dust, and of mice, and of rooms unaired." (P. 177)
As you can tell, the author fully entertains with vivid details you cannot only visualize, but nearly hear and smell as well. I hope you get a copy. It's definitely a worth-while read.