I was sent this book as an advance copy by author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.
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.
This book is many things, but it’s mostly a book about monsters. The kind of monsters who suck you dry, who see you being alive and decide that doesn’t sit well with them, who promise an eternity of pleasure but it’s their pleasure only.
It’s also about vampires.
Narrated like a confession written by Constanta to her abuser, this is by no means a light book. But it flows so easily it feels much shorter than it is, despite being emotionally heavy. The beautiful writing fits the story perfectly without shying away from gruesome and unpleasant details. It’s a honest and accurate look at the spiraling into an emotionally abusive relationship, at what happens in someone’s mind when they have to start making themselves small, and the way different people will react differently to the same abuse: someone will try to become invisible, someone will fall into depressive episodes, someone will try to bite back as hard as they can. This book gets it.
It would be reductive to say to read this because of the bisexual and polyam rep when this is so much more and when it will mean so much to so many abuse survivors. But if you go into it because of the queer rep then you definitely won’t be disappointed either.
TWs: emotional abuse, domestic violence, character death & resurrection, BLOOD (seriously), gore, murder