Carmilla & Laura is a sexier, faster-paced retelling of Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu.
In her isolated castle, Laura isn’t unhappy, but she’s lonely. When a carriage accident brings a young woman to the schloss, Laura is immediately entranced by her new companion. Carmilla is beautiful and full of wit, despite the strange disease she suffers from. The attraction between them grows every day, undeterred by the plague that seems to be killing young women around them.
S.D. Simper’s version is pretty close to the original, with two main exceptions: the relationship between Carmilla and Laura is explicitly physical and Simper’s ending goes further than Le Fanu’s. The tone is different too, Le Fanu’s novella a cautionary tale, Simper’s a celebration.
While I would have loved it even more if Simper had drawn further away from the original, added more of her own imagination, she created a delightfully eerie atmosphere, which Lois Ridge carries seamlessly into her narration. Her Carmilla is charming and seductive, Laura couldn’t have resisted even if she had wanted to. I enjoyed Laura’s discovery of her desires, her journey to acceptance, and all the angst and yearning and longing…
Carmilla & Laura is a rather short listen, which readers of dark fantasy and lovers of lesbian vampires should enjoy.