A nightmare, a blood-soaked ecstatic love story, a confession told in letters in the dark. A Dowry of Blood surprised me with its consuming reading experience.
Narrative style: ★★★★★
When this book simmered its way onto the radar of the online community during the pandemic, I initially ignored it.
Let's finish digging myself that hole: I completely and utterly ignored this book.
My reasoning for completely refusing to listen to people's pitches and reviews of this book came from sweeping assumptions that I made based off of the title and limited description. Dracula? Pfft, no thanks, that story's been done. A bloody, toxic, gothic love story? Again, no thanks, I've read that book and seen that vampire movie.
A Dowry of Blood was something different, something much more engaging. A series of letters written to "you," a male creature we all know by name and yet deserves no autonomy in this story—because he gave our narrator none.
"This is my last love letter to you, though some would call it a confession..."
Constanta was the first, the most loved of his brides. But that doesn't mean she had it good. Love can be cloistering, cloying, and caustic as much as an all-consuming desire. Constanta knows this more than anyone.
How long would it take you to understand the difference between possessive and possessed? Amid consuming passion that spanned decades and countries and wealth beyond imagining, how long would it take you to reflect on the true monster lurking in the dark?
Immersive, lushly described, and dreadly romantic, this series of letters bound into a novel was a truly interesting reading experience. I recommend it broadly to those who hate the origin story, and to those who find vampire novels dull. This is not a vampire novel—okay, it is, but it also ISN'T—and it's definitely not a rosy interpretation on toxic love that we're meant to swoon over.
This was something fresh and lovely, as terrible as that is to say about something absolutely soaked in blood.
Amy Imogene Reads
Just someone looking for her own door into Wonderland.