The book cover for “A Dowry of Blood” by S.T Gibson. A veiled woman holding a skull rests in a gilded frame design centered on the cover. Photo courtesy NYX Publishing.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T Gibson (2021)

Trigger Warnings for A Dowry of Blood

Vampires are a pop culture staple, with Dracula reigning supreme among these creatures of the night. Many have played with the concept of vampires, from Twilight’s sparkly take on the vampires in the romance fantasy camp to the introspective “Interview With a Vampire.” Dracula himself has featured in many retellings since Bram Stoker brought him to life in 1897, but to date, there is only one popular novel told from the perspective of one of his wives.

“A Dowry of Blood” is an epistolary novel written from the perspective of Dracula’s first wife, Constanta. She recounts her experience with Dracula from the moment he turned her into a vampire, detailing a love doomed from the start. The account only becomes more complicated when Dracula begins taking on new consorts, enmeshing the reader within a web of relationships acutely affected by the dubious blessing of immortality. Dracula is manipulative and cruel; the source of the psychological horror that runs throughout the book. Gibson depicts Constanta’s secret desire for freedom mingled with weary longing for a husband that may exist only in her mind in rich prose that keeps the reader hooked from start to brutal end.

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