A Dowry of Blood is a dark and twisted reimagining of Dracula’s Brides as told in a final love letter to him from his first bride Constanta. We follow them around the world and bare witness to their lives and relationship which along the way includes two more brides they develop an m/f/f/m polyam relationship with.
Title: A Dowry of Blood by S.T Gibson
Date of Publication: January 31 2021 by Nyx Publishing
Length: 248 pages
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Favorite Quote: “You could have kissed me or slit my throat and either would have made as much sense.”
Content Warnings: There are a lot of trigger warnings in this tale including gaslighting, spousal verbal, physical and emotional abuse, and depression, sexual content to name a few
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.
Firstly, I received a copy of this for review from the publisher and NetGalley (thank you so much!) This is the first story I’ve been approved for on Netgalley that I ABSOLUTELY fell in love with. All opinions are my own.
Heartbreaking and heartwarming! I went through some emotions with this one.
Characters: Constanta’s words, grief and passion have sewn themselves into my heart. I felt everything as if it was my own. I found I was able to connect with her so well. Perhaps because I have been in a similar relationship in the past? Even so, I feel like so many people will be able to connect to her. Constanta was well developed and realistic in her changes throughout the centuries. Who wouldn’t change?!
You (Who we can only assume is Dracula) is exactly how I expect him to be. Hollywood has romantasised him for so long which, yes, sells at the box office but does not embody the true Gothic essence of what Dracula was supposed to be. I really liked this take.
I really enjoyed the addition of the second and third brides and how they all formed a polyamorous relationship. The characters were each unique and consistent and added to the plot instead of being there to add words to the manuscript.
Atmosphere and World Building: The world building was effortless to me. Almost lyrically described, I could feel the dark vibes of the time, hear the echoes of footsteps in the cavernous mansions, and taste the fear of victims that had no chance.
Plot: As a love letter and recollection of centuries together, this book was more character driven than plot driven. We know at the start how it ends, we are simply guided through the events that resulted in the final conflict. This made the story telling so much better for me and really allowed me to be in the moment Constanta instead of wondering what would happen.
Intrigue: It’s Dracula’s Bride! How could you not be intrigued? But really, this was so well done. Although I knew the conclusion, I was dying to know what was the ‘straw that broke the camels back’?
Logic and Relationships: If it’s not clear by now, I loved the relationships in this story. They were sincere and genuine even in their abuse and toxicity. I’m not usually one to read fantasy without a fast plot, or real world abuse and relationship dynamics. But, if could get my hands on more like this…I would read it in a heartbeat.
Enjoyment: I clearly enjoyed thos very much and as a speculative fiction, it tends to stick with you for a while after reading. The more I think about it, the more elements I realise I enjoyed. Not quite a 5 star read but pretty freaking close
I read this as part of the Trope-ical Readathon and people seemed tolike these graphics so thought I would post this here as well. It includes my favourtie quote and aesthetic too.
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