“If you can still hear me wherever you are, my love, my tormentor, hear this: It was never my intention to murder you. Not in the beginning, anyway.”
On a cold winter night, after watching her entire family massacred by bandits, Constanta lay dying in the snow. She had no idea what would be in store for her when she agreed to let the beautiful stranger save her life.
Constanta’s “life” has been forever altered. Unable to navigate these changes on her own, she becomes a ward of this stranger… More specifically, she is Dracula’s bride. Though his name is never once mentioned, and Constanta opts to speak directly to him through the novel, his name is written clearly between the lines. At first, she is drunk on his desire for her, but even in immortality, all good things must end. Eventually, Constanta realizes that any humanity this wight once had has siphoned out over the many centuries he’d spent as one of the undead. Constanta is not an equal, but a mere possession. His cruelty replaces much of what Constanta had once mistaken for love. Over the next several hundred years, he collects two other companions, and the couple becomes a quartet. Constanta quickly grows to prefer this new arrangement. The newcomers bring her contentment, and they quell his ferocity… for a time.
Spanning centuries, Constanta reckons with her own immortality and the inevitable loneliness and ennui that come with it, hopes she is capable of finding some type of purpose, and wonders if she and her newer companions will be able to one day escape his clutches.
This is an excellent work of gothic horror. It has that je ne sai quoi other vampire novels wish they had. Every sentence is a beautifully written piece of lyrical prose. Gibson’s words are blood-drenched velvet on a page.