Horror Corner: February 2024

Horror Corner

Caught in a Bad Romance

By Christina James

The month of February is a time for love! But maybe you’re the type of reader who likes a little danger in their romance. Though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, there’s still plenty of time to scratch that itch for a good romantic read–one tinged with longing and suspense and maybe a bit of blood! No, I’m not talking about Twilight. I’m referring to author Delilah S. Dawson’s horror romance novella Bloom.

Rosemary “Ro” Dutton has been trudging through the pain of a recent break up when she stumbles upon the stunningly radiant Ash at a farmer’s market. The woman practically has hands of magic– whipping up mouth-watering cupcakes, creamy perfumed soaps, and beeswax candles, all crafted from natural ingredients and sold at her quaint apothecary booth. She also has a green thumb and a knack for growing lush green plants. Ro is surprised to find herself instantly in love because she has never had such strong feelings for another woman before. Everything about Ash is a new and exciting experience. But as Ro is caught up in the whirlwind of infatuation, readers will start to suspect Ash might be too good to be true.

Bloom is both a delight and shock to the human senses. You can smell the prose in this book, taste it, practically touch it. Every word is tantalizing, the imagery vivid and delicious. And this, I think, is done purposefully by the author as she lures readers by the hand down a gradually darkening path to danger. This is a quick read that somehow still takes its time in the best way. Horror lovers need to patiently take in every page like literary foreplay. You have to let it simmer like soup over the stove, let it steep like a tea bag in hot water. And then when the time is right, you're in for the perfect terror.

I first fell in love with Delilah S. Dawson’s storytelling when I read her dystopian thriller The Violence, but this newest book has solidified her place in my dark heart as a new favorite author. If you're looking for a Sapphic romance with an insidious touch, grab this book and make it a belated Valentine's Day treat!

Want to pair it with a romance-turned-deadly film to add to your experience? Fresh (2022), directed by Mimi Cave, is the perfect movie for you. Similarly to Bloom, a young woman is enamored by a very attractive, seemingly too-good-to-be-true man who sweeps her off her feet. Her infatuation leaves her blind to some unsettling red flags, a danger she couldn’t have seen coming in her wildest dreams–or nightmares.

This book-film pairing will leave you ravenous in spite of its dark and sometimes grotesquely upsetting content. So be sure to eat before reading or viewing—maybe a fancy home-cooked meal for two, handled with love and care! BONE appetit!

Christina James (she/her) is a part-time Bookseller at the Raven Book Store and a Readers’ Services librarian at Lawrence Public Library. She is extremely passionate about spreading the gospel of horror fiction far and wide and you can find her on Instagram at @the_wandering_reader where she's known by her coven of creeps and ghouls as The Spooky Librarian.


Staff Pick Badge
Bloom By Delilah S. Dawson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781803365756
Availability: In stock at our distributor’s warehouse; will be at the Raven in 3-10 bus. days! More at ravenbookstore.com/ordering-faqs
Published: Titan Books - October 3rd, 2023

A sweet sapphic romance takes a deadly dark turn in this sharp-as-a-knife novella with the slow build menace of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber—from a New York Times-bestselling author hailed by Chuck Wendig as "a storyteller working at the top of her class.”