Oh, my, another vampire novel? You may find comfort in The Lonely Vampire, a throwback to horror classic folklore, which has a ground-breaking take on the vampire, paying homage to the literary vampire standard and standing singularly within it. A stand-alone intimate story, that guides the reader through many of the vulnerabilities in association with loneliness, with past tense writing, short (five-or-six-page) chapters, writing in first-person from Myrna Ivester’s perspective on how she becomes a vampire, and third-person point-of-view for the other characters in the novel. Perhaps a bit risque but Ann Greyson explores the enigmatic bond between vampires, that transcends such trivial distinctions as compatible personalities and interests, centering instead on a common desire for a supernatural existence.
In December 1539, fifteen-year-old Simona Bellu visits Ileana Amanar’s home in Toplita, a commune in Hunedoara County, Transylvania and turns her into a vampire. Simona takes her to Turcu Castle, 16 miles southwest of Brasov, Romania, where she receives the name Ileana Vladislava by Ruxandra Tepes. For the next thirty-eight years she stays at Turcu Castle with other vampires such as Karelyna the Seer and Morsus the Elder.
In 1578, Transylvania, Romanians and Hungarians everywhere unite for the sole purpose to remove the vampires from society by cutting off their heads or driving a wooden stake through their hearts. Ileana Vladislava flees to the town of Gheorgheni in the Szekely Land in eastern Transylvania. From there Ileana escapes to Constanta, a city on the shores of the Black Sea, where she boards a ship for England. Claymor, the werewolf, unique because of a pinch of gray fur on the left side of his face near his ear, plans to go after missing vampires.
2017, Newcastle upon Tyne, a city where the weather is mostly cloudy to rainy, in Tyne and Wear, England, Ileana Vladislava is perpetually a lonely vampire in her castle, Wightwick Hall, overlooking the valley of Jesmond Dene, a public park. At forever thirty-one, her pale complexion, striking raven hair and enticing brown eyes, make her a beauty of the first order. Ileana doesn’t like the idea of killing other people in order to survive, rather she feeds on the blood of wild animals or helps herself to bags of blood from the Blood Issue Rooms in the hematology units of hospitals. Watching the silent film Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror on television, Ileana amuses in the inaccurate depiction of vampires when the character Max Schreck portrays disintegrates from exposure to sunlight. Most true that Ileana thrives in darkness and is sensitive to sunlight, but only long-term exposure will inflict severe burns to her body. At times in the novel, Ileana manipulates energy being that she is an energy feeder that can display various levels of psychic ability, affecting electricity which cuts on and off in her presence in places like a subway car, hospital corridor and the public library.
The mysterious and alluring Ileana manages to keep her vampire identity a secret in the city of Newcastle upon Tyne, but everything changes in her humdrum eternal existence when all the stars in the galaxy line up for her. That magical moment she sees Myrna, who is a lonely soul herself, at the Newcastle City Library, she has her fangs set on her because there is something about Myrna that sets her apart from anyone else. Myrna, a beautiful twenty-four-year-old with blue eyes, long dirty blonde hair, a fair complexion and slim figure is a nursing assistant at Longwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where she helps elderly residents with all aspects of their daily care, but is soul searching for something better which Ileana senses right away. Longing for a vampire family again, Ileana emerges from sadness and loneliness to make an eternal connection by appearing as a bat in Myrna’s dream. In all actual, Myrna is under hypnosis, in a state of deep trance, spell-inducing sleepwalking into the woods for a rendezvous with Ileana who turns her into a vampire without her full knowledge and consent knowing that it is Myrna’s destiny to want the vampire life. One can almost feel the heat rising from the pages while reading of the physical sensations occurring during Ileana’s seduction of Myrna.
Unlike her best friend and roommate Siobhan Mulcahy, whom she met while attending Northumbria University and who is satisfied with her status in life obtaining all the things she wants, ever since the death of her parents at the age of five Myrna has been longing for something better out of life and feels her life isn’t progressing along. In the midst of a life-shaping event, the reader will feel Myrna Ivester’s joys and pains, and will appreciate how her relationship with Ileana develops. An astonishing attraction that teases her at just the right time in her life, Myrna embraces her endless immortality without giving a second’s consideration to her bloodlust. Leaving her old life behind (only family aunt Eowyn Dymtrow, her job, and friend Siobhan) is sad enough to make you cry or hold back a tear or two, especially for anyone with experience of a heartbreaking fall-out between best friends, but Myrna finds what she has always been looking for in the vampire’s life, and it doesn’t get much better than this. Her senses heighten, and her dreams evolve into something premonitory as she develops the gift of second sight. Join Myrna as she truly discovers who she is and the truth of her destiny. And in the end when she battles Claymor the werewolf, it’s one seat-jumping scare after another.
Nothing can prepare you for Lorraine Krag, a nosy busybody neighbor, who lives in a house on Jesmond Dene Road, a road that is dusty and gloomy like a cemetery, within the spooky atmosphere of Wightwick Hall, the castle dwelling of Ileana. A former schoolteacher of twenty years from Norwich, this haughty redhead in her mid-sixties nags at her husband Arthur with a never-ending stream of meddling that may lead to the discovery of the truth about Ileana or reach the wrong conclusion entirely, making things fall out-of-your-chair funny.
It goes without saying that vampire-novels are not all the same and never quite that simple as The Lonely Vampire moves in a different direction. So much more believable and down to Earth, this story will appeal to vampire aficionados as well as anyone who’s fed up with what passes for horror today. Ann Greyson ups her writing game, digging deep into the quirks of her characters. You can connect to a vampire’s world chock-full of characters (such as April Fielding, a seventeen year old with bleach blonde hair, a platinum tongue ring, a graphic tattoo of a vampire chick with blood dripping from a fang on her right shoulder blade, and who likes to wear mostly black clothes, takes interest in Ileana who orders plants for her greenhouse from Pike Nurseries where April is a sales associate; and Viktor Pavlovic, a former headline act magician of a circus from Zagreb, Croatia now a street performer with his side act Jasper, a little brown monkey, performing usually at Old Eldon Square) whose strength comes from being different, outcasts that reclaim the concept of weird, wearing it on their sleeve like a badge of honor. Needless to say, it is another highlight of the book’s non-conformist aspects which will no doubt be of interest to vampire fans.
Who Myrna is at the beginning of the book is not the same person she is at its end. Despite that Ileana and Myrna find friendship and camaraderie together, it is for readers to decide whether Ileana’s bringing Myrna into the darkness of a vampire’s life changes Myrna’s fate for the better, or for the worse.
Lonely, but still surviving, she keeps herself hidden from Claymor while annoyed by a prying neighbor. Lorraine and Arthur Krag, the neighbors, provide the right touch of comedy as well as the tension added to Ileana’s safety with Lorraine’s snooping ... Readers will connect with Ileana and Myrna in this fast-moving folklore horror style novel feeling their needs, fears, and search for happiness.
Goodreads and Amazon 4-star review post September 20, 2021 from Angie Mangino Looks at Books 4-star review by Angie Mangino - September 20, 2021
Ann Greyson explores the inexplicable bond between her vampires’ characters showing readers just how broad a range her imagination can encompass.
The Lonely Vampire (RADIO SPOT) Voice Over by Patricia J. Rullo from Speak Up Talk Radio - January 26, 2021 [Broadcast on music streaming and podcast services such as iHeartRadio, iTunes, Sirius XM-Pandora and PlayerFM]
A surprisingly quick read despite its almost 400 pages, "The Lonely Vampire" is a simple story about companionship and self-discovery. The plot follows Ileana and Myrna, two women whose lives are missing something, and stays fairly straightforward for the duration of the novel ... The writing style is also uncomplicated and direct with much telling and light on dialogue ... Overall, "The Lonely Vampire" is a satisfying story about intimacy without being overly sexual and staying true to the classic vampire lore fans have always appreciated.
InD’tale Magazine online from InD’tale Magazine 3.5 star review by Arec Rain - December/January 2020-2021, pages 98 and 99
The Lonely Vampire is as mesmerizing as Ileana’s eyes ... Ileana has lived alone for so long, and Myrna may just be the cure for that. Dodging Claymor the werewolf and a nosey neighbor provides plenty of tension.
Goodreads and Amazon 4-star review post November 25, 2020 and Liliyana Shadowlyn from The Faerie Review 4-fairies review by Liliyana Shadowlyn Greer - November 25, 2020
This tale of a good vampire will hold up on its own and engage your imagination right up to the conflict with the werewolf, who at long last finds the missing vampire from Transylvania. Or does he? The stakes are higher than ever in this dark, engrossing story full of passion, humor, and such a good finish, people who read it will feel like they are waiting for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve and, when it does drop, you don’t see it coming and that’s the reason you’ll adore this book.
WE magazine for women Author Interview by Heidi Richards Mooney - October 25, 2020
Lorraine is inching closer and closer to the truth with her investigations and time is running out for Ileana ... Will she manage to court a new companion and make a getaway before Lorraine closes in on her? The Lonely Vampire is a chilling thriller with a horror undercurrent. I was so invested in the characters that I didn’t care who won between Lorraine and Ileana. The author, Ann Greyson, created a worthy nemesis for Ileana. I couldn’t decide who I was rooting for ... This is the closest I have gotten to finding a sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I recommend this to thriller lovers, mystery lovers and to anyone who is partial to a vampire story that pays homage to the original vampire, Dracula.
Booklife and Amazon 5-star review post November 13, 2020 from The Virtual Book Tour Company review by Maureen Muringo Wahu - October 11, 2020
The book is full of charm: Ileana and Myrna are fascinating protagonists, and the nosey neighbor Lorraine Krag provides lighthearted distractions. Readers will revel in Greyson’s moving depiction of Ileana struggling to come to terms with her lonely existence. The cliffhanger ending leaves hints of more dark tales to come with Ileana and Myrna in the lead. With its cinematic setting and dark intrigue, the book makes for a quick page-turner. Fans of urban fantasy will relish Greyson’s vivid portrayal of a lonely vampire’s life.
Goodreads 5-star review post by BooksCoffee from The Prairies Book Review Digital Magazine, Vol. 11, December 2020, page 94 and The Prairies Book Review review by Neena H. Brar - September 28, 2020
When there’s something that Lorraine wants to know, she is relentless. Will she discover Ileana’s secret or will Ileana succeed in scaring her off? ... Ann Greyson’s The Lonely Vampire starts with suspense and action. Amazing imagery brings the setting and characters to life instantaneously ... With an alluring yet calm tone, it draws the reader in ... It is also nice that the book is LGBTQ-friendly although Ileana’s decision to convert Myrna to a vampire so she can be with her might have some readers questioning it ... it’s entertaining enough to ignite the senses.
Goodreads 3-star review post September 23, 2020 and Feathered Quill Blog from Feathered Quill Book Reviews review by Risah Salazar - September 25, 2020