Tuesday 4 October 2022

A DOWRY OF BLOOD by S. T. Gibson

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

A deliciously dark retelling of Dracula, A Dowry of Blood is a sensual story of obsession, desire and the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love. 

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.

This is actually my second time reading this lovely book, and I enjoyed it just as much. 😍

Left for dead on the battlefield, Constanta captures the attention of a mysterious man who saves her life by turning her into something else. And so begins her life as one of the three brides of the cunning Dracula. A vampire tyrant who hides cruelty behind love, and strips freedom away from everyone who crosses his path...

I love how lyrical and beautiful this story is. An addictive tale that kept me glued to every page.

Told from the POV of Constanta, as she confesses, via a series of intimate letters, to the vampire who gave her a second chance at life and shaped her world, I was captivated by the vivid imagery and strong emotional impact of her words.

This story captured my imagination and swept me off my feet. Everything that unravels within the pages of this wonderful book is seductive, dark, filled with lavish excess, and features many historical settings. It also features unquenchable lust and a shared love capable of hurting those involved as much as it pleasures.

Every character in this family is fascinating in their own way. Magdalena is sweet and vibrant, an independent woman whose fire slowly dims. Alexi is a shining beautiful young man with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, who finds himself stifled. And Constanta is a gentle soul full of love and belief, even after her transformation. I was drawn to these amazing characters, and felt plenty of sympathy because of everything they go through.

The narrative doesn't shy away from bloody violence, abuse, and dares to tread into some very dark places. It's also sexy, passionate, romantic and so lovely.

This edition has an epilogue called An Encore of Roses, which reunites Constanta, Magdalena and Alexi. The story is told in the needy POV of Alexi. It was nice to catch up with the trio.

A Dowry of Blood is everything a vampire story should be.

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy.

A Dowry of Blood, October 2022, ISBN 9780356519296, Orbit

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