A dowry of blood by S.T. Gibson

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Constanta is saved from the brink of death by a stranger, and is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride for a undying king, Dracula. Her life changes drastically, most of all, it is not her own. Their lives are long and relatively uncomplicated for many years, but when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat into their lives, Constanta begins to realise there is more to their long years than she thought. When he draws another in, this time a starving artist, she realises that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Now, finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband's dark secrets...

Definitely not for the younger readers, this retelling of Dracula outlines an obsessive spouse, filled with desire that cannot be contained. The book comes with a content warning at the beginning, outlining that it has many dark places and there are too many to list here, suffice to say it is not for readers under 18. This is particularly so for the frequent sex scenes. While the book is well paced, it is not an overly compelling book - it is simple in its writing and has no sense of urgency or enthrallment. While there is much action and many things happen, it did not feel as though there was any real movement in the book. Having not read Dracula, I cannot compare it with the original, perhaps it was meant to mimic this.

Themes: Historical, Romance, Obsession, Desire, Control, Europe, Vampires, Death, Life, Morals.

Melanie Pages