Opium and Absinthe
New York City, 1899. Tillie Pembroke’s sister lies dead, her body drained of blood and with two puncture wounds on her neck. Bram Stoker’s new novel, Dracula, has just been published, and Tillie’s imagination leaps to the impossible: the murderer is a vampire. But it can’t be—can it?A ravenous reader and researcher, Tillie has something of an addiction to truth, and she won’t rest until she unravels the mystery of her sister’s death. Unfortunately, Tillie’s addicted to more than just truth; to ease the pain from a recent injury, she’s taking more and more laudanum…and some in her immediate circle are happy to keep her well supplied.Tillie can’t bring herself to believe vampires exist. But with the hysteria surrounding her sister’s death, the continued vampiric slayings, and the opium swirling through her body, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a girl who relies on facts and figures to know what’s real—or whether she can trust those closest to her.

Opium and Absinthe Details

TitleOpium and Absinthe
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 1st, 2020
PublisherLake Union Publishing
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fiction, Fantasy

Opium and Absinthe Review

  • Kat Valentine
    January 1, 1970
    Vampires aren't the only monsters!How good and thoughtful he is; the world seems full of good men—even if there are monsters in it. —Mina HarkerA couple of weeks ago Amazon had this book in their first looks section and I was drawn right away to the cover and title! In the blurb it mentioned vampire murders and if you follow my reviews you know I'm a vampire junkie! I was pleasantly surprised with how well written this book was,it had mystery and suspense and a cast of unusual characters that br Vampires aren't the only monsters!How good and thoughtful he is; the world seems full of good men—even if there are monsters in it. —Mina HarkerA couple of weeks ago Amazon had this book in their first looks section and I was drawn right away to the cover and title! In the blurb it mentioned vampire murders and if you follow my reviews you know I'm a vampire junkie! I was pleasantly surprised with how well written this book was,it had mystery and suspense and a cast of unusual characters that brought this story to life. This read is set in the Victorian era,which is one of my favorite times. Tille is a smart and well read young lady who has always been curious about how things work and is forever asking questions,but on the day she breaks her collar bone on a horse while taking riding lessons her beautiful sister Lucy is murdered by what the papers are calling a vampire killer. Tille won't stop til she finds out who or what killed her sister. With a list of suspects and Bram stokers book Dracula and help from Ian and his band of newsies the only thing standing in tille's way from finding the monster that killed her sister and two others is her opiate addiction,what started out as relief for her broken collar bone has become also a way of dealing with the loss of the one person who loved and cared about her.But as she needs more and more she goes from opium to shots of morphine to heroin and plays right into the killers hands. With twists and turns and a fabulous storyline this book will keep you guessing to the very end,because just about the time you think you figured it out it throws you for a loop again. Lydia kang is a fabulous storyteller and I can't recommend this book enough!!! Ty! Amazon for putting this book on my radar!!! Until next time Luv's💕💋You’ll learn how to survive this, Mathilda. No woman lives a life unscathed. It’s what makes us strong. We are broken and mended, remade every time. We must, or it destroys us.”
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  • Juliana
    January 1, 1970
    I have to say, I really enjoyed this book despite not being a huge fan of the gothic genre in general. Usually gothic novels are very stiff in my opinion, and are somewhat challenging to read. Opium and Absinthe however was very fast-paced, enjoyable, and kept me turning pages until the end.Although I enjoyed it, I feel it may not be for everyone. The murder-mystery aspect of it wasn’t the biggest draw, as I had figured out the “why” and was very close on the “who” at about 60% in. I don’t think I have to say, I really enjoyed this book despite not being a huge fan of the gothic genre in general. Usually gothic novels are very stiff in my opinion, and are somewhat challenging to read. Opium and Absinthe however was very fast-paced, enjoyable, and kept me turning pages until the end.Although I enjoyed it, I feel it may not be for everyone. The murder-mystery aspect of it wasn’t the biggest draw, as I had figured out the “why” and was very close on the “who” at about 60% in. I don’t think that really hindered my enjoyment of the story though, because I was so invested in the journey and the way the novel was narrated. I also thought that the characters were not the most lovable; the only one I really liked was Ian, and maybe the newsies, though they were not a large part of the story. Tillie was incredibly naive, almost unbearably so. I understand that as this took place in the 1890s, Tillie leads a very sheltered life as one of the elites, but it still was a bit unbelievable. I was constantly torn between feeling great pity for her because of the way her family treats her, and anger at some of her decisions. Despite that, I did greatly admire her perseverance, and desire to pursue knowledge despite her family’s views on a woman’s place in society. In the end, I can’t quite put in to words why I enjoyed this as much as I did. Nothing about it stuck out, but the writing/story flowed in a way that was very pleasant to read. For now I am giving this a 3.5/5 rounded to 3/5, but I may round up after thinking about it more. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC! Content warnings: assault, murder, death of a loved one, mentions of rape, drug abuseIntended audience: Adult
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  • Kimberly Antill
    January 1, 1970
    "Her grandmother sighed. 'You'll learn how to survive this, Mathilda. No woman lives a life unscathed. It's what makes us strong. We are broken and mended, remade every time. We must, or it destroys us.'" (pg.30).When her sister is found murdered, Tillie must find the strength to overcome her addictions and find who is responsible for her sister's death.Opium and Absinthe is a slow burn mystery, but I never found it to be dull. The traditions and superstitions of the Victorian era bring this nov "Her grandmother sighed. 'You'll learn how to survive this, Mathilda. No woman lives a life unscathed. It's what makes us strong. We are broken and mended, remade every time. We must, or it destroys us.'" (pg.30).When her sister is found murdered, Tillie must find the strength to overcome her addictions and find who is responsible for her sister's death.Opium and Absinthe is a slow burn mystery, but I never found it to be dull. The traditions and superstitions of the Victorian era bring this novel to life. And although flawed, Tillie is a likable character. I liked seeing her journey as she grew from a timid girl to a confident and determined young woman.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    As much as I wanted to like this book, it was just not for me. The story rambled and there were occurrences where it just really stretched one's ability to believe to the ultimate. I do like a good vampire story, but unfortunately, this was just not a very good one. Although, that cover is just stunning, too bad what was contained inside it just missed the mark.So sad to say, no recommendation for this one.Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this story.
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  • Elisabeth
    January 1, 1970
    What a fantastic read! I absolutely loved this Victorian Murder Mystery with a paranormal touch and a sprinkle of romance. The New York City in 1899 was painted so vividly and accurately, I felt immediately immersed in the culture and the environment. I was amazed with the detailed and fascinating medical parts, too. The main character Tillie was a delight with her forever curious mind, resourcefulness, ambition, and her devotion to her sister. Her persistence and bravery to find her sister’s ki What a fantastic read! I absolutely loved this Victorian Murder Mystery with a paranormal touch and a sprinkle of romance. The New York City in 1899 was painted so vividly and accurately, I felt immediately immersed in the culture and the environment. I was amazed with the detailed and fascinating medical parts, too. The main character Tillie was a delight with her forever curious mind, resourcefulness, ambition, and her devotion to her sister. Her persistence and bravery to find her sister’s killer despite the harsh obstacles such as her injury, spiraling into a drug addiction, and being a prisoner of a strict household and Victorian era etiquette. This book made me weep, smile, laugh, and think. It was a perfect blend of Sherlock Holmes, Penny Dreadful and a Dress For The Wicked. Bonus points for the gorgeous cover!
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  • Fran
    January 1, 1970
    "Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and here after she may suffer-both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams."-Van Helsing"It was a strange thing to be awake within a nightmare".Tillie Pembroke had an inquisitive mind asking endless questions, although, in the New York of 1899, eighteen year old Tillie was being evaluated by the yardstick of "marital and societal utility". Lucy, her older sister "...would buffer Tillie from their "Even if she be not harmed, her heart may fail her in so much and so many horrors; and here after she may suffer-both in waking, from her nerves, and in sleep, from her dreams."-Van Helsing"It was a strange thing to be awake within a nightmare".Tillie Pembroke had an inquisitive mind asking endless questions, although, in the New York of 1899, eighteen year old Tillie was being evaluated by the yardstick of "marital and societal utility". Lucy, her older sister "...would buffer Tillie from their family's disappointment when she made occasional gaffes in public". "It was nearly the turn of the century, a lady could speak for herself sometimes", thought Tillie. Lucy, twenty-one years old, was "the very image of a Gibson Girl", soon to marry well-connected James Cutter. Back-to back shattering events changed everything. A horseback riding accident. Tillie broke her clavicle and was immediately given laudanum..."a soporific cloud settled over her mind"...oppressive pain...morphine followed."Get your WORLD for a penny", a Newsie cried. Headline- Vampire Strikes Manhattan, Kills Lady Near Museum...Woman Found Dead in Shadow of Metropolitan Museum of Art...Vampire-like Punctures Found on Neck....Empty Absinthe Bottle Found with Body...Victim Last Seen Wearing a Lilac Silk Dress....Cause of Death: Exsanguination. No blood found at the scene. Oh no! It was Lucy! Bram Stoker's Dracula had just been published. Lucy's death seemingly imitated Count Dracula's lust for blood. Tillie was determined to get her hands on a copy of Dracula...ASAP!"I cannot live without my Lucy...Tillie drank her medicine...More. Another dose. I cannot be awake...Numbness would do...and so opioid addiction began. In moments of clarity, Tillie questioned...why would Lucy walk unaccompanied to the museum? Lucy seldom imbibed, why absinthe? Newsie Ian Metzger had a "keen interest" in murders. Both Ian and Tillie had the same burning curiosity over Lucy's death "...a dark, deep hole that begged to be filled with reasons and facts". How would Tillie circumvent the restrictions that kept her locked at home except for sanctioned social events? Was Lucy's death a vampiric killing? Count Dracula had feasted on the blood of a "Lucy". Two Lucys dead, hmm. Two bite marks on the neck, four inches apart...not a drop of blood on or near the victim. If not a Dracula-like murder, what other theories might exist?"Opium and Absinthe" by Lydia Kang is a gothic mystery with amateur sleuths, Tillie and Ian as investigators. While there are enablers who keep Tillie supplied with opiates, she finds ways, albeit while sometimes in a fog, to dole out just desserts, some literal, others edible, as she tries to unravel the truth. This riveting tome stagnated a bit midway with too much emphasis on opioids. It picked up speed unmasking characters with dubious agendas then barreled to a surprising and satisfying conclusion. A mystery lover's delight.Thank you Lake Union Publishing and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • jenny✨
    January 1, 1970
    There was an untold story that had to be found and wrested from the shut lips of New York City itself. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨I kinda really wish time travel existed so I could traipse around New York's Gilded Age with Tillie as my guide.Opium and Absinthe is SO evocative. It only takes a few paragraphs of Lydia Kang's lush prose (and spot-on diction; anachronisms, whomst?) before you find yourself immersed in a city that is a character in its own right—NEW YORK CITY, 1899: It's the turn of the century! High There was an untold story that had to be found and wrested from the shut lips of New York City itself. ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨I kinda really wish time travel existed so I could traipse around New York's Gilded Age with Tillie as my guide.Opium and Absinthe is SO evocative. It only takes a few paragraphs of Lydia Kang's lush prose (and spot-on diction; anachronisms, whomst?) before you find yourself immersed in a city that is a character in its own right—NEW YORK CITY, 1899: It's the turn of the century! High society is booming, even as the immigrants and working class strike and struggle. Paperboys hawk wares, Italian men bang pianos on street corners. Horse-drawn carriages fill streets that've begun to glow with electricity. Speakeasies and saloons belch opium smoke. Meanwhile, the moneyed elite luxuriate in Fifth Avenue mansions, tended to by French servants. It's a time of change. And inquisitive, insatiable Tillie Pembroke wants to know—devour, research, analyze—it all.Tillie's meek and clumsy, nothing like her beautiful and charming sister, Lucy. But when Lucy is murdered and all clues point to a vampire killer, Tillie's life will never be the same. She throws herself into breaking free of her stifling birthright as a New York heiress. She chases leads and becomes an investigative journalist, addicted to knowing and learning everything about the world around her. All the while, she discovers the only thing that dulls her pain, awkwardness, and grief is opium. And as she hunts her sister's killer, Tillie is consumed by an equally insatiable addiction—to morphine. ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️My biggest issue with this book was that I personally couldn't connect with the characters. I didn't find any of them particularly likeable, which is fine, but the grievous sin was that I didn't find them compelling, either. Tillie was spoiled and selfish and acted like such a brat sometimes that I just wanted to THROTTLE her. The love interest was nice but kinda forgettable imo. Tillie's mom is a wet rag. Her grandmama piqued my interest (the old lady's seriously a viper) but her backstory is never examined. I also struggled to engage with the mystery—the hunch I had by page 20 was pretty much proven correct by the end, while the bulk of the story just felt like a series of red herrings that came outta left field and felt totally unnecessary and unconvincing? When we finally received explanations for why xyz occurred, it was PALTRY. (Like, can someone explain to me why a meticulous killer would cavalierly leave their used-up absinthe bottles at the crime scene???) And (view spoiler)[what was up with the exhibitionist-y scene where John O'Toole SMILES when he catches Tillie watching him feel up Ada? We're later told it's because he's nearsighted. What?? (hide spoiler)] ◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️ CONCLUSION: Though Opium and Absinthe's mystery and characters weren't altogether compelling for me, I absolutely ADORED its vivid depictions of New York City's Gilded Age.◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️◻️these are the songs I listened to while reading Opium and Absintheshout-out to Mary and her PHENOM book playlists for inspiring me!Thank you NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an e-copy of this book for review!
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  • OLT
    January 1, 1970
    (2.5 stars) This is the third novel by Kang that I have read and it is my least favorite. It has the bones to be a good read. The author is a medical doctor and is versed in the medical, health, and anatomy aspects of the story and has also done some acceptable research about late 19th-century New York City and the Gilded Age. She has also shown us an interesting parallel between the over-prescription causes of opioid addiction now in the 21st century and in the 1800s.This is a medical murder my (2.5 stars) This is the third novel by Kang that I have read and it is my least favorite. It has the bones to be a good read. The author is a medical doctor and is versed in the medical, health, and anatomy aspects of the story and has also done some acceptable research about late 19th-century New York City and the Gilded Age. She has also shown us an interesting parallel between the over-prescription causes of opioid addiction now in the 21st century and in the 1800s.This is a medical murder mystery, Kang's specialty. However, the time spent on the murder and the heroine's investigation of it is much less than the endless time we must spend reading about Tillie's downward spiral into opioid addiction. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this story anyway, in spite of the many wasted pages, if the writing had been better and the characters had been developed more skillfully. As it was, I found everyone to be superficially developed, almost caricatures, and unappealing and unlikable.The plot tries to be interesting and compelling. Tillie is a creature of her era, born to a rich family of the Gilded Age Four Hundred and brought up to marry well, not to have a mind of her own or to have any interests beyond the socially acceptable ones. She is repressed, awkward and uncomfortable in social situations, and, in private, a person with a thirst for knowledge. She wants to know the answers to all life's questions, even those most people wouldn't even think about, such as what elephant excrement smells like.Only her sister Lucy understands and loves her and when Lucy is murdered on the same day that Tillie is badly hurt in a riding accident, Tillie's life begins to unravel. Lucy's murder appears to be vampiric in nature, with puncture wounds on her neck and her body drained of blood. Is this in imitation of the new book by Bram Stoker so popular at the moment or do vampires really exist?Inquiring minds (Tillie's, that is) want to know, but her growing addiction to the laudanum and then morphine prescribed by the doctor for her pain gets in the way. It gets in the way so much that the story drags. In addition, I find it hard to enjoy a book with few redeeming characters, lots of puzzling behavior, and a writing style that is rather amateur, lacking polish. This is not literature. It's basic storytelling. I guess if you enjoy gruesome medical details and annoying human behavior, Kang's books will appeal.
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  • The Artisan Geek
    January 1, 1970
    2/3/20I historical fiction with death and possible vampires?? **Starts to feel alive again**You can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website 2/3/20I historical fiction with death and possible vampires?? **Starts to feel alive again**You can find me onYoutube | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Website
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  • Roz
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsMy main issue with this book was that it read like a ya novel.. and halfway through the main character started to annoy me way too much.. It was an okay read, though. Not bad just meh.
  • Yvonne (It's All About Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Finished reading: July 3rd 2020 "A vampire was shackled, it seemed, to the lusts and needs of his body. Tillie, too, felt her world as a closed casket, always around her, always constricting her." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***(view spoiler)[I admit that it was cover love at first sight when I saw Opium And Absinthe, but I was completely sold as soon as I read the blurb. I've enjoye Finished reading: July 3rd 2020 "A vampire was shackled, it seemed, to the lusts and needs of his body. Tillie, too, felt her world as a closed casket, always around her, always constricting her." *** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***(view spoiler)[I admit that it was cover love at first sight when I saw Opium And Absinthe, but I was completely sold as soon as I read the blurb. I've enjoyed Lydia Kang's books, including The Impossible Girl, in the past, and another historical setting with a medical twist sounded simply fantastic. On top of that, Opium And Absinthe promises to present us with a fantasy/horror retelling element involving Bram Stoker's Dracula, which had me even more excited. I know I'm basically allergic to vampire stories, but I did actually enjoy the original Dracula classic and I have to say that I really liked how Lydia Kang decided to incorporate this element into her story. It definitely ended up being one of the things that stood out for me!That said, despite having high expectations for this story, somehow it didn't work as well as I thought it would for me. I'm struggling to point out exactly why, but I'll try to explain below. Part of the reason probably has to do with the slow pace as well as a bit of a repetitive plot with surprisingly dull moments. The slower pace made it harder to stay focused, and the lack of surprises and dull moments didn't help either of course. I know that the book is set in 1899 and things were different back then (I actually enjoyed those historical descriptions), but the plot was just too repetitive and dull for me and it didn't manage to engage me as I thought it would.I also struggled with the constant repetition of the opium, morphine and even heroin use as well as the focus on just how dependent the main character Tilly becomes on it as it starts taking over her life and actions. While in a way realistically portrayed, I felt like it was turned into too much of a cliche and I didn't feel like I was able to get to know the character too well due to this focus on Tillie's spiralling addiction and the other characters both reacting to and fomenting said addiction. The characters themselves are not likeable at all (with the exception of Ian maybe) and as a result I struggled to connect to them. The main focus is on Tillie, and I found her to be too frustrating to really care for her and once again I found the focus on her substance abuse to be too much of a cliche and it took away the focus from more interesting elements such as the investigation into Lucy's death, the medical details and the vampire element.I confess that I saw most of the plot twists coming from a mile away, although I did manage to stumble upon one or two surprises. This wasn't enough to make up for the things that didn't work for me though. I liked the historical setting, the Dracula element and the investigation into Lucy's death as well as the medical details... But the slow pace, the repetitive and sometimes dull plot and constant focus on the substance abuse instead of a proper focus on character and plot development ended up being mostly a letdown for me. (hide spoiler)] P.S. Find more of my reviews here.
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  • Teresa
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, my, what an unusual book. Set in gothic Victorian times in New York City 1899, it focuses on eighteen-year-old Tillie Pembroke whose older sister Lucy has been killed, drained of blood, and left with two puncture wounds on her neck. Tillie immediately is sure her sister has been murdered by a vampire and sets out to prove it. Before her sister’s death she is injured in a riding accident and is given laudanum and opium for the pain. This was common for the times for wealthy women to receive d Oh, my, what an unusual book. Set in gothic Victorian times in New York City 1899, it focuses on eighteen-year-old Tillie Pembroke whose older sister Lucy has been killed, drained of blood, and left with two puncture wounds on her neck. Tillie immediately is sure her sister has been murdered by a vampire and sets out to prove it. Before her sister’s death she is injured in a riding accident and is given laudanum and opium for the pain. This was common for the times for wealthy women to receive drugs for various ailments and in the process of the book the drug use increases. For some strange reason I kept having the recurring thought that I was glad I came from poor, hardworking people who just worked through their issues by forging ahead sans drugs.There are so many characters in this book that I didn’t know who to suspect. Several new people come into her life to assist her on her quest for justice which made me immediately suspicious. The story became tedious at times especially around her escalating drug use, but I was impressed with her tenacity and dedication to the truth. Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. I gave this it 2 ½ stars rounded up to 3.
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  • Jamie Jack
    January 1, 1970
    Surprisingly New (and Wonderful) Take on “Vampire” Stories ;-)This novel is hard to box into a category, but I think that is a good thing. When I first saw at a book review site that this book would involve vampirism, I initially shied away. But I am so glad that I chose this story because it is quite unlike anything I have ever read—and as I read over a thousand books a year, that’s saying something! Truly, it is an immersive read that pulls you right into the Gilded Age in New York City and to Surprisingly New (and Wonderful) Take on “Vampire” Stories ;-)This novel is hard to box into a category, but I think that is a good thing. When I first saw at a book review site that this book would involve vampirism, I initially shied away. But I am so glad that I chose this story because it is quite unlike anything I have ever read—and as I read over a thousand books a year, that’s saying something! Truly, it is an immersive read that pulls you right into the Gilded Age in New York City and to the peculiar but wonderful and brilliant mind of the main character, Tillie.I absolutely adored Tillie. The author has pulled off deep characterization in a third-person story, which isn't easy to do, but she makes it look effortless. I loved following the unconventional twists and turns of Tillie's mind. You never knew what sort of brief tangent she might go off on, and I loved the tiny surprises that came on every page. She revealed much about herself and also sly commentary about her somewhat contracted world and society. As she came to struggle with laudanum (the 1800s form of opium), I couldn't help but feel for her and want her to break free. The author did a marvellous job of showing how someone could become addicted (both back in the day and now) and how that could alter the person’s life. But she didn't do so in a heavy or disturbing way. She let Tillie, so to speak, tell her story. As a nurse, I appreciated the starkness and honesty about something that is even more of a plague today. Fiction sometimes shows more truth than nonfiction, and that happened here.The vampirism aspect comes in when Tillie's sister is found dead with what could be construed as vampire teeth marks. I loved that Tillie had such deep love and genuine affection for her sister that she wanted to get this sorted out, no matter what that meant. These disparate aspects I’ve outlined don't seem like they would go well together, but they do so—surprisingly well. The author made it work seamlessly. I think the author has an incredible talent to be able to pull this story off so masterfully. This is the first book that I have read by her, but it will certainly not be the last.The author has created a unique Gilded Age historical mystery with deep characterization, writing an immersive compelling thriller that you don't want to stop reading even if you have other things that you should be doing. I highly recommend this story.I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.My book blog: https://www.readingfanaticreviews.com
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  • ☕Brenda☕
    January 1, 1970
    I wish it didn't end.Such a wonderful mix of historical fiction and mystery.I read this book in 2 sittings, and when I wasn't reading the book I was talking about it, or just waiting to be able to get back to it.
  • Lady Delacour
    January 1, 1970
    Immature writing withan underlying perversion.Stopping mid Chapter 2.1 DNF Star.Listen with TTS.Not Clean.Crude & Mild Foul Language. Immature writing withan underlying perversion.Stopping mid Chapter 2.1 DNF Star.Listen with TTS.Not Clean.Crude & Mild Foul Language.
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  • Hannah Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    This was one of the most intoxicating reads I have picked up this year.Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book did not initially come off as a mystery; when I began it, I thought it was going to be a commentary about mental health before it was labeled as such or on women succumbing to marriage as the only accomplishment they should have in their life. Since I did not expect a mystery, this book wrapped me in from the first mention of This was one of the most intoxicating reads I have picked up this year.Thank you to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This book did not initially come off as a mystery; when I began it, I thought it was going to be a commentary about mental health before it was labeled as such or on women succumbing to marriage as the only accomplishment they should have in their life. Since I did not expect a mystery, this book wrapped me in from the first mention of a vampire. It comments on drug abuse, toxic families, marriage, and love. This novel had more depth and intrigue than I could have ever imagined. I highly recommend this book to anyone who will read it.
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  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this Victorian historical mystery. Tillie Pembroke, is not your typical Victorian female, she is downright shocking sometimes, with her consumption of drugs. Tillie, spends much of the books in an inebriated state of mystery. Thank you to Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for allowing me to review this arc.
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  • Louetta Waters
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting historical fiction/ murder mystery. Very well written! Once I started reading, I found myself fully engaged and couldn't put it down! I loved the well written characters and the plot was great!4 stars.Thanks to Netgalley the publisher and author for an ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Crenarei
    January 1, 1970
    A fun historical medical murder mystery that was enjoyable despite not being what I thought it would be. With depictions of addiction alongside the difficulties of a woman who desperately wants to solve her sister's murder against her families wishes, it was a fascinating story.Tillie is an upper-class woman who recently had a riding accident that broke her collarbone. She was given opium as a way to keep her relaxed as the bones healed. Waking up after the incident, she learns from a newspaper A fun historical medical murder mystery that was enjoyable despite not being what I thought it would be. With depictions of addiction alongside the difficulties of a woman who desperately wants to solve her sister's murder against her families wishes, it was a fascinating story.Tillie is an upper-class woman who recently had a riding accident that broke her collarbone. She was given opium as a way to keep her relaxed as the bones healed. Waking up after the incident, she learns from a newspaper that her sister, Lucy, has been murdered by what appears to be a vampire. Her family don't seem to care, placing harsher restrictions on what Tillie can do. Tillie is desperate to solve her sister's murder as further victims lead to suspicions surrounding a serial killer. Unfortunately, she finds herself moving from opium, to morphine, to heroin in a desperate fight to keep her painful grief balanced with the need to investigate.The major issue I had with the book was Tillie and how young her voice seemed. I was expecting a slightly more adult feel to it. Don't get me wrong, it does address serious content matter, but the naivety and childishness in how Tillie originally came across stumped me. As the novel progressed I did find myself putting this aside and enjoying the story, but it was a hurdle.Tillie is described as being inquisitive and clever. She's constantly reading, asking questions and generally getting disapproving stares from people who don't think women need an education. She's exactly the character I usually like. There's a sentence right at the beginning where she's wondering why, when cats have kittens, the milk doesn't just continuously pour out of them. I find it difficult to believe a woman who seems to know a great deal about science hasn't come across the idea of suction. Other than that her family were insufferable assholes which did add a lot of tension and I appreciated it. I want to understand more about the Grandma and why she was such a horrible character. There are hints to secrets in her past, but they're never fully developed. Forgetting is an act of survival. We are women, Mathilda. We endure to survive. Don't tell your own mother what she is allowed to remember or forget. Apart from this, I did enjoy the story and the setting. The historical atmosphere felt realistic and well done. I especially enjoyed when Tillie visited the working-class areas and interacted with people who weren't so insularly posh.The plot could have developed at a fast pace, but I was happy with where it went and the reveal of the murderer. I was on the right track but didn't get the answer completely right, which is always good from a mystery.I'm glad to see a story that doesn't demonize addicts, and I thought it handled Tillie's use of drugs very well. The ending also wrapped everything up nicely, especially considering the dark themes within the novel, I'm happy with how the book turned out.Overall, I struggled to connect with the characters and story at the beginning. However, by the end, the story had managed to capture my attention. I'd recommend this to people who enjoy a good historical mystery.(Thanks to NetGallery for providing an advance readers copy in exchange for an honest review)
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.Tilly Pembroke has recently lost her beloved sister and from appearances it looks as though a vampire has killed her and drained her blood from her body. Tilly (after suffering injuries from a riding accident) has developed an addiction for opiates mainly Opium and Morphine and under a cloud of addiction she decides to hunt down her sisters killer herself since her family seem I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.Tilly Pembroke has recently lost her beloved sister and from appearances it looks as though a vampire has killed her and drained her blood from her body. Tilly (after suffering injuries from a riding accident) has developed an addiction for opiates mainly Opium and Morphine and under a cloud of addiction she decides to hunt down her sisters killer herself since her family seem to have just accepted her murder and moved on.This book is fantastic! I love gothic historical fiction and this book didn't let me down! The book opens your eyes to early medicine, early vaccinations, opiates and pain relief and how addictions can become severe very quickly and just as quickly get out of hand, murder, mystery, family history, family skeletons and friendship all in one book. I look forward to reading more from Lydia Kang.
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  • emma (pagesofachilles)
    January 1, 1970
    The ARC of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley.First of all, can we talk about this gorgeous cover quickly? It's a stunner and it perfectly reflects the theme of the book. This novel had me hooked from the first paragraph, the writing style was wonderfully poetic in scenes and harsh and gritty in others, Kang was able to perfectly balance the mix of these. The mystery kept me enthralled, just when I thought I had figured it ou The ARC of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #NetGalley.First of all, can we talk about this gorgeous cover quickly? It's a stunner and it perfectly reflects the theme of the book. This novel had me hooked from the first paragraph, the writing style was wonderfully poetic in scenes and harsh and gritty in others, Kang was able to perfectly balance the mix of these. The mystery kept me enthralled, just when I thought I had figured it out another plot twist was thrown at me and I was left as clueless and interested as before. I especially enjoyed how the secondary characters progressed throughout, their development was realistic and I loved the small scenes we got with them. I've become of a fan of Kang's writing after finishing this and I'll be reading more of her works in the future.
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  • Daniela
    January 1, 1970
    Hello, my fellow readers.People seem to have fun writing reviews therefore I decided to join the club.I've had a very peculiar relationship with this book, murderous at times, but a relationship nevertheless. I devoured it, such is an experience I was painfully missing in my recent journey and for reasons I still can't quite fathom, however I did so hoping for the whole duration of this bizarre adventure wishing the protagonist a painful and untimely death.It's a fast read, it's fun, it's someho Hello, my fellow readers.People seem to have fun writing reviews therefore I decided to join the club.I've had a very peculiar relationship with this book, murderous at times, but a relationship nevertheless. I devoured it, such is an experience I was painfully missing in my recent journey and for reasons I still can't quite fathom, however I did so hoping for the whole duration of this bizarre adventure wishing the protagonist a painful and untimely death.It's a fast read, it's fun, it's somehow engrossing and yet I've hated every minute of it with created quite a conundrum, wouldn't you say?I believe what makes this book so hurtling is the total, executive, excruciating idiocy of the protagonist. Examples:1) Although she's portrayed as a strong willed young lady, she often acts like a toddler teething or grumpy after a nap.2) The anachronism is at times astonishing, namely, the nonchalance with which she engage in inappropriate conversations or she downright questions like a NYPD cop figures of authority. There's no chance in hell that a young lady raised in an upper class family in that era would behave in such unfashionable manner. 3) Again, very unlikely that a low class guy would entertain a casual relationship with a lady of that station, ever speak to her that way. I know it's for the sake of the plot, but still. The leverage of a powerful and rich family would have been too strong and they would have had him arrested. No fucking outings at stupid o'clock at night with dope and rooftops picnics.4) There are several incongruous instances where the characteristics of an object or a situation change in a few pages, such as three missing teeth becomes two. 5) As I said at the beginning, you will want Tillie~what a fucking stupid nickname, by the way, although fitting~ to materialize before your eyes so that you can slap her senseless. No aquarium needed.Now, if you can turn a blind eye to all this, and I could although I'm one of those obnoxious websites who like to historical accuracy especially when it comes to customs and etiquette, I'm sure everyone can.In spite all the aforementioned flaws is quite fun and easy to read. Give it a try. Worst case scenario...you'll forget about your problems for a couple of days and Tillie is so deliciously stupid that you'll feel like a genius.Happy reading.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. This should have been also classified as YA. It was a pleasant enough though derivative story and I enjoyed its setting and details in turn of the century New York.
  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    This was a book club book. I was hard on it. It sat at a solid 3 stars until the last third of the book but most questions and storylines were wrapped up cleanly and it was overall well written and different.The real 'Dracula' is better though.
  • Addey
    January 1, 1970
    Oh. My. Word. This book was beyond good. I can’t believe it was a kindle first pick. I was drawn in right away and the imagery of the time period was very entrancing. I loved it so much I picked another one of Kang’s books. If you haven’t picked your kindle first book yet, grab this one.
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  • Tonstant Weader
    January 1, 1970
    Opium and Absinthe is a historical murder mystery featuring a heroine that is somewhat of a Cowardly Lion. She is timid in society and scared of new things and challenges. She’s a reader who wants to be left alone, but when her sister is murdered, her body drained of blood reminiscent of the newly released “Dracula” book by Bram Stoker, well, fear won’t keep her from finding out who killed her sister.Tillie Pembroke is quite smart and she has an ally with newspaperman determined to get the true Opium and Absinthe is a historical murder mystery featuring a heroine that is somewhat of a Cowardly Lion. She is timid in society and scared of new things and challenges. She’s a reader who wants to be left alone, but when her sister is murdered, her body drained of blood reminiscent of the newly released “Dracula” book by Bram Stoker, well, fear won’t keep her from finding out who killed her sister.Tillie Pembroke is quite smart and she has an ally with newspaperman determined to get the true story. But there are challenges, not just the proprieties that limit young women in that time, but she has broken a bone while horseback riding and has come to love the opium prescribed for pain just a little bit too much and there are far too many people willing to help her habit.I enjoyed Opium and Absinthe quite a bit even though I wondered how someone as sharp as Tillie could tolerate the fuzziness of thought that comes with opium. She slid quite easily into addiction and struggled hard against it. This was an intriguing mystery with fair clues that led readers to guess some of the solution, but not nearly all of it. The killer was truly diabolical and getting there was a touch combination of sleuthing and luck.Opium and Absinthe will be released July 1st. I received an early release from Amazon’s First Reads perk with Amazon Prime.Opium and Absinthe. at Lake Union | Amazon Publishinghttps://tonstantweaderreviews.wordpre...
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  • Lucretia
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed being taken away to a different time in this charming novel. Things get going right from the start with Tillie breaking a bone and her sister Lucy being murdered. Due to the broken bone, Tillie develops an addiction to laudanum and then morphine which makes her investigation of what happened to her sister complicated. However there is more than her addiction complicating things, her standing makes moving about and meetings with Ian even more difficult.I loved the vampire asp I thoroughly enjoyed being taken away to a different time in this charming novel. Things get going right from the start with Tillie breaking a bone and her sister Lucy being murdered. Due to the broken bone, Tillie develops an addiction to laudanum and then morphine which makes her investigation of what happened to her sister complicated. However there is more than her addiction complicating things, her standing makes moving about and meetings with Ian even more difficult.I loved the vampire aspect and how that fit in the setting and time. There are quotes from Dracula throughout that added to the charm and mystery. But the strength for me was in the characters. Of course Tillie was my favorite but all of the secondary characters had draws and motivations that made them come to life. The grandmother gave me the shivers, and I could imagine her presence making everyone shrink back. The pace was snappy making it a fast read for me that is easy to recommend.
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  • Margo Abramson
    January 1, 1970
    Great story!I love a story with a strong heroine... this did not disappoint! I found it interesting how this young woman found creative ways to fight the confines and limitations of her time for the greater good and to satisfy her very curious nature. I will read more from this author!
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  • Robert Intriago
    January 1, 1970
    A mystery version of the movie “Legally Blond”, cute but silly. Tillie, an 18 year old, decides to investigate her sister Lucy's murder. She was found with two puncture wounds in her neck and the body was devoid of blood. The events take place in New York circa 1899, which by coincidence is the year in which Bram Stroker’s Dracula is published. The writing is quite good and the characters are well portrayed. The historical fiction about New York at the turn of the century is delightful and women A mystery version of the movie “Legally Blond”, cute but silly. Tillie, an 18 year old, decides to investigate her sister Lucy's murder. She was found with two puncture wounds in her neck and the body was devoid of blood. The events take place in New York circa 1899, which by coincidence is the year in which Bram Stroker’s Dracula is published. The writing is quite good and the characters are well portrayed. The historical fiction about New York at the turn of the century is delightful and women's role in society is illuminating. In my opinion the story itself is geared more to a teenager than to an adult.
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  • Maxine
    January 1, 1970
    This mystery is set in the Gilded Age, the end of the 19th Century. In 1899, women didn't have freedom of choice over their own lives. Rich or poor, they were bound by rules. We're introduced to a unique heroine. Mathilda (Tillie) Pembroke comes from a wealthy family who mingle with New York's high society. With a brilliant mind, only average looks, and an older sister who's beautiful and the belle of society, what's an heiress to do? Bookish, awkward Tillie has few social graces. She wants only This mystery is set in the Gilded Age, the end of the 19th Century. In 1899, women didn't have freedom of choice over their own lives. Rich or poor, they were bound by rules. We're introduced to a unique heroine. Mathilda (Tillie) Pembroke comes from a wealthy family who mingle with New York's high society. With a brilliant mind, only average looks, and an older sister who's beautiful and the belle of society, what's an heiress to do? Bookish, awkward Tillie has few social graces. She wants only to be left alone to study and investigate her scientific interests. She hates going to balls, she's terrible at horseback riding, and her curious questions aren't well received in polite conversation. Fortunately, older sister-the lovely Lucy, is engaged to New York's most eligible bachelor. So for Tillie, the pressure is off. For now.Shortly before the wedding, Lucy fails to return home after an afternoon outing. Her lifeless body is discovered the next morning, and soon the city is abuzz with the news. The beautiful socialite was murdered in a very bizarre way. Tillie, who adored her sister, is crushed mentally, and physically, as she recovers from a painful riding injury. Unable to do much but stay in her room, taking the pain killers the doctors prescribe. Starting with laudanum, which most ladies carried in their reticules. Frustrated, and determined to solve the mystery of Lucy's death (her mother and grandmother, don't want gossip and speculation) Tillie refuses to co-operate with their insistence on letting the police handle things. The police AREN'T handling things to Tillie's satisfaction, and she vows to investigate the murder herself. Picking up some questionable allies along the way, and using more and more pain killers, Tillie progresses to morphine, (the dangers of opiates weren't understood then) as her pain continues, then opium, all easily obtained from doctors. To make matters worse, she's receiving unwanted attentions from her sister's newly bereaved fiance! Though at times, the plot seems more than a little unbelievable (the relative ease Tillie has in sneaking out of the family's well-guarded mansion at night, often returning home unscathed while walking alone in the city in the wee hours) the story is interesting enough that the reader can overlook such details. Can Tillie solve the murder? Do her newfound allies from the streets of New York prove reliable? Will she be forced to accept the attentions of her sister's former fiance? Will the secrets that Lucy kept from everyone help to solve the mystery? These are the reasons you'll enjoy this very interesting mystery!
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