Dowry of Blood is a shadowy, spooky, sultry story imagining Dracula's wife Constanta and their relationship, in which he exerts control and constricts her actions--until she dares to dream of exploring the world outside in the centuries of life she has left.
I wonder if you would have wanted me if you found me like that: vibrant and loved and alive.
Constanta is the sole survivor of a brutal medieval massacre in her village--but she's drawing her last breaths.
Then a mysterious stranger arrives--seemingly drawn by her wavering between life and death--and promises her eternal life as his bride.
Dowry of Blood is a spooky, sultry, shadowy story of Dracula's first wife, and in Constanta's point of view we witness her horror as the full impact of her husband's power and cruelty becomes clear.
After years under his strict control (he is not named as Dracula here), the forced isolation begins to grate upon her. New members of their group are brought in, intimately connected to each other yet trapped in the same claustrophobic circle of hell. Constanta flirts with moments of joy and begins to imagine an alternate path to freedom and discovering the wonders out in the world.
When Constanta breaks into her husband's private sanctum and discovers his significant studies, hidden knowledge, and vulnerability, Constanta and her precious allies debate whether to attempt to gather the significant courage to act against him or to continue on for centuries more under his confining, constricting thumb.
But they have stayed too long in their fortress in the country; her husband's self-assured confidence and careless actions have led murderous villagers to their door. This could be the end of the "family"--or a sudden opportunity to fight for their freedom.
I listened to Dowry of Blood as an audiobook.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?
You might also want to check out these gothic-feeling stories.
For a more playful take on vampires, check out Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series; you can read my review of the witty, fun Soulless here and my take on book two, Changeless, here. I plan to finish this great series at some point.
For a very different take, you might check out The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires, in which vampires mainly serve as catalysts for change.