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 is the best reimagining of Dracula’s Brides ever. It’s written as an open letter from Constanta, his first bride, explaining the why’s, what’s and how’s of their tale dating centuries. It’s beautiful, haunting and it grips you from the very first page.
In a way you can also see it as a fantasy tale revolving around Stockholm syndrome. The way Constanta describes their relationship with her lord and how it is born and develops, I think it also fits that view.
Constanta is her Lord’s first bride and so she is completely devoted, only seeing the bright side of him. But slowly, with some centuries and with the addition of an aristocrat and an artist to the family, she manages to see through the facade. She starts noticing who he really his and how much everything she knew until now is a lie. And what she has to do to make it all stop.
I absolutely loved the writing in this book. Is so lyrical and beautiful! It totally fits the era from which Constanta is and of which she talks about.
There’s a lot of queer representation in this book which makes it even better. I loved seeing their relationships and how fluid their love was. It really felt beautiful and strong and I was definitely glued reading about it. Each of their relationships is different, you can see how their love is different but as intense for each other. Of course we are seeing it from Constanta’s point of view but I believe that’s true from all of them. They say no love is the same and it was never truer than in this book.
This is a dark and gruesome little book all about raw emotions, relationships, mental health at a time that wasn’t yet understood, lust and power. And it’s utterly glorious. It was breathtaking and mesmerising. I was hanging on every word and couldn’t put it down. For you to have an idea, I read this on scribd, on my computer sitting in an office chair in two sittings, my eyes were being murdered. That’s how incredibly gripping this was for me.
I loved reading about Constanta, Alexi and Magdalena and about their ever-changing, ever the same life. Loved seeing their love change over time and how much power it had on their lives. Just fantastic.
TW: violence (verbal, emotional and physical), assault (both physical and emotional), blood, gore, depression, mania and a lot of murder
What did you think of it? Have you read it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!