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

Published: October 4, 2022

Publisher: Redhook

Series: N/A

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

My Rating: 3.5/5.0

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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.

A Dowry of Blood is written in the form of a letter from Constanta, Dracula’s first bride, to Dracula. As the synopsis states, it’s more of a confession or explanation than anything because it is obvious that Dracula is no longer stalking this world. It begins with Constanta’s change into a vampire and continues on over her centuries of life, as Dracula acquires new lovers and grows his coven and ultimately illustrates what leads to his downfall. 

Constanta’s story is one of emotional highs and lows, with her creator’s manipulations front and center. He makes emotions soar and then cages his lovely birds until they wither. Just before his brides fade away, he gives novelty in the form of a new coven-member to love and fawn over. It was quite obvious to the reader that dire emotional manipulation and abuse were taking place, but it was interesting to see how Constanta became wise to these ploys over her centuries of life and how she endured jealousy and replaced it with love when new vampires were added to their dysfunctional little family.

The story is vivid and full of lush prose and the narrative style made it a quick read. I enjoyed the book but ultimately I did not love it the way so many others seem to have loved it. I would like to give a shout out to the epilogue, which I did love. It was a brief look into the lives of the brides many years later in more modern times and was extremely satisfying and somewhat heart warming. Overall, an entertaining and quick read, but not a favorite. I would like to check out more of S.T. Gibson’s work in the future, because she can write some serious angst into such a short tale!

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