Constanta was born the day she died. Given a new life by a certain vampire with whom we are all familiar. A Dowery of Blood by S. T. Gibson is a love letter, a diary, and a goodbye to her love. To call this book a retelling of Bram Stokers Dracula would be underselling it, this story takes place over centuries, and the Harkers are a footnote in a much larger story. This book is poetic and lyrical, full of passion, love, and fear.
I’ve never cried over a vampire novel but this one was close. Constanta is one of three ‘brides’ of Dracula. Reading her account of years of isolation, abuse, and pain was difficult at times. Reading as she came up with yet another excuse for him or a reason he truly loved her was heartbreaking. A Dowery of Blood is more than just a vampire book or a gothic retelling, it’s a story of abusive jealousy and a controlling partner. Not to say that it’s all depressing and a complete downer of a book, there are wonderful moments of joy in the story too but the heights of happiness seem to make the darker periods even more emotional.
The only thing I wanted from this book that I didn’t get was a real feeling of the settings and the periods we were in. Sometimes it was difficult to tell what year or even century we were in and I would have loved to see the characters in the thick of life a little more often. They were perfectly placed, living in the heart of the cities all over Europe, but the descriptions of the cities and the people they were meeting felt vague.
A Dowery of Blood would be devoured and loved by a lot of different readers in my opinion. If you love gothic novels, not even just the spooky ones but Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, you’ll love this book. Any fan of a classic retelling should add this book to their TBR immediately. I look forward to reading another novel from Gibson soon.