I’d heard many exciting things about A Dowry of Blood before finally picking it up as part of Wilted Rose’s book club. S.T Gibson writes a re-imagining of Dracula’s brides in a lyrical style that gripped my attention from the very beginning. It is dark, thrilling and somewhat gory, with characters that I really enjoyed getting to know.
Star rating:: 4 stars
Constanta is our protagonist, the first of Dracula’s new brides in this time period that spans hundreds of years. Her character voice is strong throughout as she tells her story, reflecting on the past as her more mature self in various interludes. I really enjoyed this format – there was something really harrowing about Constanta reflecting on her ‘younger’ self. Dracula is also referred to as ‘you’, as if Constanta is writing him a letter she will never send explaining her actions.
Magdalena is the second lover introduced – a beautiful woman interested in politics. She agrees to be turned into a vampire and joins Constanta and Dracula in their escapades. The isolation of vampire life leads to her suffering from depression which was really heart-breaking as you see this contrast between an energetic, intelligent woman who becomes lethargic and lonely.
Our third lover is Alexi, a struggling actor who Dracula takes an interest in. Alexi is different to the women, he’s a lot younger for one and sees through to Dracula’s abusive side much faster. Even still, Alexi is still enthralled by him and doubts his own observations.
This is a beautifully written re-imagining that I only wish was longer so we could get to know the characters more. The beginning and ending are really strong, but the middle part lacked development to me. Overall, I loved the writing style the most – it felt really haunting, personal and emotional.