books, reviews

Book Review: A Dowry of Blood – S.T. Gibson

S.T. Gibson’s sensational novel is the darkly seductive tale of Dracula’s first bride, Constanta. 

This is my last love letter to you, though some would call it a confession. . .

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.

“Love is violence, my darling; it is a thunderstorm that tears apart your world. More often than not, love ends in tragedy, but we go on loving in the hope that this time it will be different.”

My thoughts: narrated by the first of Dracula’s infamous brides, Constanta, this is a tale of blood, love, obsession and hate.

Living centuries, familiarity of course, famously, breeds contempt. And being one of the only creatures of their kind, living in darkness, in fear, with no friends or companions except one another, breeds a seething and powerful mix of strong, conflicting emotions.

With her fellow bride Magdalena, and Alexi, the male member of their triad, they plot their master’s downfall and their escape.

Written as a letter, a mea culpa, to Dracula, this is a clever, disturbing and sex drenched novel, little references to the famous novel, a mention of the Harkers, slip into the text as the macabre family criss cross Europe, always one step ahead of the mob, with their torches and pitchforks. Can these children of darkness survive into a new century without their sire and lover? Perfect for fans of Bram Stoker’s original novel and the many, many retellings, spin offs etc.

Thank you to Orbit and Nazia for my ARC. A Dowry of Blood is available to buy now.

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