Verdict: Breaking free from the traditional vampire tale to create Rosedale, Raphael has left room for new ideas about these creatures of the night who we thought we knew fairly well—yet are always delighted to meet again.
At the turn of the century in New York, Simon Rosedale is grieving the death of his wife, Florence and their newborn son. Working at an investment bank by day, Rosedale feels trapped and on edge daily. His assistant, Strauss seems to be the only one who notices his distress but remains discreet about it. Rosedale finds release in the evenings—with whores.
Traveling from his posh apartment that sits on Central Park, Rosedale visits the Tenderloin district where vices of every kind are available. Basking in the flesh of these bought women, he is able to forget his utter despair for a moment. Yet as soon as he departs, he is almost immediately torn apart again as he remembers his beloved Florence. Though there is solace in sex, Rosedale arrives home to stare at Florence’s portrait forlorn and alone.
One night upon leaving a bordello he has been frequenting, Rosedale is bitten and becomes a vampire. While uncertain of what is happening to his body, Rosedale does see a difference in his spirit; which is renewed as life unfolds around him in amazing sensory detail. Along with his new perception comes a man named Walpole, who will be somewhat of a guide to this fledgling vampire Rosedale has become.
Unlike any common vampire tale, Rosedale the Vampyre is a novella that compels readers to finish in one sitting. Raphael’s descriptions are synonymous with the wonder that Rosedale himself undoubtedly feels as he encounters this new life as a vampire. Rosedale is discriminated against as a human because he is Jewish, yet as a vampire this heritage makes him unique in a startling way. Uncertainty and grief melts away as this newly made vampire discovers his many unexpected talents.
Raphael unravels the vampire tale in an extremely original way in Rosedale and paints a startlingly bold, sensual portrayal of a man discovering life through death. As readers, we can appreciate Rosedale’s rawness and see a man transformed literally and figuratively. There is a refreshing quality about this rich yet compact tale that leaves you wanting to know more. In an intense journey of self-discovery, Raphael touches on myriad topics including the struggles of class and ideology, sexuality and new found courage, love and loss.
Breaking free from the traditional vampire tale to create Rosedale, Raphael has left room for new ideas about these creatures of the night who we thought we knew fairly well—yet are always delighted to meet again.
Reviewed by Keri English for Indie Reader