This book is bloody good!
Alright, I am sorry for that godawful pun. I had to get it out of my system somehow.
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson is a queer gothic retelling of Dracula, written from the perspective of his first wife, Constanta. The story starts on that fateful night when he “saved” her, turning her into his undead bride. She must learn to adjust to her new surroundings, but things aren’t too bad. That is until he adds two more to the marital bed. Things are less than ideal, but Constanta and her fellow spouses Magdelena and Alexi bond deeply, and she voes to defend them from him. Constanta might have to get more blood on her hands when push comes to shove to protect those she truly loves.
The novel is written as a confessional letter which discusses how everything played out. In terms of the smut, it is very tame. Something I am grateful for, as I am a total prude. It does not skimp on the blood and gore though. It is gothic and dramatic with a good helping of horror. Not to mention so much queer yearning.
The horror comes more from the abuse of power he has over Constanta. Not knowing when he is going to snap yet knowing fine well what he is capable of.
I was a bit worried it was going to devolve into a catty fight for Dracula’s love, but nope! Constanta is jealous of Magdelena for a minute but then falls for her too. In fairness, they both fall for each other pretty hard and fast, which happens again when Alexi is brought in. The three of them have such a beautiful bond that grows over the course of the novel. You grow to care for them and fear for them.
I loved A Dowry of Blood. The three lovers are charismatic and charming beyond measure. The story also spans several centuries yet moves at a quick pace. I loved watching Constanta grow from a meek girl into a strong-willed protector.
With references to Dracula, queer protagonists and gothic passion it is perfect for vampire fans looking for something with a little bit of spice.