Review- A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Goodreads Synopsis: A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation. Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets. With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, LGBT

Date of Publication: January 31st, 2021

Publisher: Nyx Publishing

Length: 248 pages

My rating: 5/5

Thanks to Nyx Publishing and the author for the e-ARC copy of this book!

“This is my last love letter to you, though some would call it a confession. I support both are a sort of gentle violence, putting down in ink what scorches the air when spoken aloud”

S.T. Gibson puts the sexy back in vampires! This might be a contentious statement, but I have found that personally, vampires lost their lustre somewhere in the middle of the Twilight/True Blood craze. This gothic tale brings us back to the old school vampires, who are deadly and sensual and eternal. A Dowry of Blood is a Dracula retelling, but from the point of view of one of his brides. Fairly one-dimensional in the original story, Dracula’s brides get their own personalities and are the main focus of this book, which is a welcome change of pace.

The story is told by Constanta, written in the form of a letter to Dracula. The plot follows their travels across Europe through the ages, and how they came to find the other members of their unconventional family. A Dowry of Blood features lust, love, and deep connections between the members of the family, but by no means is this a love story. Dracula is not a loving husband or caring partner, and the book explores his explosive, manipulative and narcissistic personality in great detail. The better love story comes from the connections between Constanta, Magdalena and Alexi, and how their relationship develops despite Dracula’s ruthless control. 

There are a lot of content warnings for this book, including descriptions of manipulation, toxic relationships, and graphic depictions of blood and extreme violence. This book is not for the faint of heart, but that should not deter you! A Dowry of Blood is beautifully written, and really captures the essence of vampires in a way that so many other books lack. The characters are engaging and well developed, and they fit together so well in this polyamorous family. In some ways I wish the book could’ve been longer, but only because I want to experience more of Constanta and Magdalena. This book is a great choice for lovers of horror and romance, and anyone who yearns for a good old fashioned gothic vampire story. 

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