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
ISBN-139781542017794
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, Fiction

Opium and Absinthe Review

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    I started the first chapter of this book during the work-week, then had a chance to read more over the weekend and pretty much devoured it within a 24-hour time period. The story is set in New York in 1899 and follows a young woman named Mathilda, AKA Tillie. Tillie starts off as a sheltered and privileged rich girl with her head in the clouds—always searching for answers to her curiosities about the world—and as a result unintentionally ignoring her own world and the plights of others directly I started the first chapter of this book during the work-week, then had a chance to read more over the weekend and pretty much devoured it within a 24-hour time period. The story is set in New York in 1899 and follows a young woman named Mathilda, AKA Tillie. Tillie starts off as a sheltered and privileged rich girl with her head in the clouds—always searching for answers to her curiosities about the world—and as a result unintentionally ignoring her own world and the plights of others directly around her. She is used to being a disappointment to her mother and grandmother for her eccentricities and dogged pursuit of knowledge. Her character development begins after her sister, Lucy, is murdered, all blood drained from her body and with bite marks on her neck. It’s as if Tillie is forced into the real world with her sister’s death, and she retreats into an opium and morphine addiction to cope. Despite this, she begins to search for answers related to Lucy’s death alongside a newspaper peddler/aspiring journalist living in poverty, Ian Metzger. I really enjoyed the budding, organic relationship that developed between Tillie and Ian, although romance is actually a pretty minor part of the story. Tillie feels trapped by familial expectations and societal roles thrust upon women and struggles for her freedom as she hones her passion for knowledge and journalism during her investigation. Throughout this, she overcomes her addictions, discovers shocking revelations about the lives around her, and recognizes her privilege and ignorance. She develops into a focused young woman fighting for her independence and defying the societal norms for women at the time (no education, married off, complacency, protected, caged at home). In short, this had such great character development and was a fun, immersive mystery to boot!!I’ll definitely be buying the hardcopy once it’s released and plan on checking out more of Lydia Kang’s work.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    A fantastic readI had the opportunity to read this book before publication due to amazon first reads. I am so glad that i came across this, i was not sure what i was expecting but this is honestly one of the best that I have read in a long time, what caught my attention was the title ‘Opium and Absinthe: A Novel’ not some thing that i wouldusually be interested in as i do not beleive in the use of dugs (whether medially used or recreational) or alcohol consumption. However, I caught my attention A fantastic readI had the opportunity to read this book before publication due to amazon first reads. I am so glad that i came across this, i was not sure what i was expecting but this is honestly one of the best that I have read in a long time, what caught my attention was the title ‘Opium and Absinthe: A Novel’ not some thing that i wouldusually be interested in as i do not beleive in the use of dugs (whether medially used or recreational) or alcohol consumption. However, I caught my attention none the less, and i can never say no to an opportunity to read a free book. I did not have high hopes for this book, as i mentioned this is not a book that i would typically read, however, when i began i simply could not stop, the plot was enticing, a mystery surrounding a murder, Tillie injured from an accident while riding, tries to deal with her grief turns the the use of opiates, which within the era was not considered to be unlawful as they were prescribed by doctors as simple pain relievers, not knowing what modern medicine knows now regarding the dangers of such medications, the thought of heroin being used for a cough is simply fascinating. The plot of the novel also fascinated me, at first i thought ‘oh dear, another vampire book’ but i was soon mistaken, a murder which looked like a vampire attack was simply committed by a person, and not by the person who you thought it would be. There is a little romance also, but not the centre of the story, which is refreshing entirely on it’s own. I would defiantly recommend this book, 10 out of 10. I am so glad that i gave this book a chance and i encourage others to do so as well.
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  • Sabine Bamber
    January 1, 1970
    This was the best 2020 first read picks so far. I enjoy historical fiction and mystery but almost abandoned my read after the first few pages as setting and characters suggested romance or "Taming of the Shrew" literature: Socialites on a foxhunt, an unruly young woman, a wealthy gentleman and a hunting accident. I am so glad I quashed that initial notion and read on. I was swept up into the mystery of Lucy Pembroke's death in 1899 and her sister's attempt to leave no stone un-turned to find the This was the best 2020 first read picks so far. I enjoy historical fiction and mystery but almost abandoned my read after the first few pages as setting and characters suggested romance or "Taming of the Shrew" literature: Socialites on a foxhunt, an unruly young woman, a wealthy gentleman and a hunting accident. I am so glad I quashed that initial notion and read on. I was swept up into the mystery of Lucy Pembroke's death in 1899 and her sister's attempt to leave no stone un-turned to find the guilty party. As in any good mystery, there are some red herrings, interesting historical context, amazing insights to the use of opiates, and wonderfully crafted characters. I could not put the book down and read it in one sitting. Like Tillie, I was unaware of the real culprit or reason until the very end. A thoroughly well executed murder-mystery.Tillie cannot emulate her grandmother and mother's stiff upper lip on the violent death of her sister Lucy. She's not inconsolable either but intrigued if vampires are real and bucks convention whenever someone tries to restrain her. She has an active mind, asks many "inappropriate" question and seeks answers any way possible. In the midst of her developing drug addiction, she manages to unearth clues of a serial killer while fighting off her family's attempts to marry her off to James Cutter, her sister's finance to keep the money in the family.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    I'll admit it. The plot was good. Kang has woven a deeply interesting, historically-based book that draws the reader in and makes you want to read more. However, I have several complaints with this book.1. The main character is entirely unlikable. Tillie Pembroke is annoying, to say the least. She uses people to get what she wants, lies to her family and friends, and ultimately had the happy ending that I don't believe she deserved. She ignored every warning she ever gets and often gets into tro I'll admit it. The plot was good. Kang has woven a deeply interesting, historically-based book that draws the reader in and makes you want to read more. However, I have several complaints with this book.1. The main character is entirely unlikable. Tillie Pembroke is annoying, to say the least. She uses people to get what she wants, lies to her family and friends, and ultimately had the happy ending that I don't believe she deserved. She ignored every warning she ever gets and often gets into trouble because of it. She seemed so far away from reality and was ultimately a character that was unable to be related to.2. The author appears to be obsessed with bloody, gory events and details. Long descriptions of needles, blood, vomit, broken bones, and other nasty things occur frequently throughout the book. If you're into getting injected with high levels of morphine while a man tries to bite and rape you, then this is the book for you.I3. A lot of time was spent on things that didn't really matter in the long run. I believe this book could potentially have been 100 pages shorter and been the better for it. Will I read this again? Never. Will I read Kang's work again? I think I'd give her another shot. The plot is genuinely good. She is not a hopeless case.
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  • Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    *June 2020 First Reads Pick*This took a while to get moving, but once it did I had a hard time putting it down. I only stopped because I fell asleep on it three times. I was thoroughly captivated by most of this novel. The characters were well developed and interesting. There were characters I loved. There were characters I hated. Tillie is a refreshing female character who was well ahead of her time. The murder of her sister was the catalyst for her to assert herself outside of societal and it *June 2020 First Reads Pick*This took a while to get moving, but once it did I had a hard time putting it down. I only stopped because I fell asleep on it three times. I was thoroughly captivated by most of this novel. The characters were well developed and interesting. There were characters I loved. There were characters I hated. Tillie is a refreshing female character who was well ahead of her time. The murder of her sister was the catalyst for her to assert herself outside of societal and it was thrilling to follow her as she grew. This is a character that I would love to see more of.Here is how it breaks down:Chapters 1-2 ... Meh.Chapters 3-12 ... Moving along nicely now.Chapters 13 ... ... Holy smokes... 😳😱Chapters 14-15 .... Overdrive... 😮😨😱Chapters 16-22... Meandering along again. Chapters 23-26 ... Holy smokes again.😵😱😨Chapter 27-End ... Nice wrap-up without being perfect.I look forward to reading this author's other works.Warning: It covers some very serious topics drug addiction, attempted rape, family secrets, child labor, patriarchal society of late 1800s, marriage arranged for the family connection etc.
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  • Clementine Sawyer
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating historical details highlight this slice-of-Manhattan-life in 1899 for both the poorest of the poor (newsies) and the most weathy living on Millionaire Row. Those two worlds collide very entertainingly when there's a mystery to solve, and the believably flawed heroine Tillie teams up with her unlikely sleuthing partner. Lots of red herrings to mull over as this unusual story travels all over the city from the most glittering parties to the rooftops of the slums. This is the first Lydi Fascinating historical details highlight this slice-of-Manhattan-life in 1899 for both the poorest of the poor (newsies) and the most weathy living on Millionaire Row. Those two worlds collide very entertainingly when there's a mystery to solve, and the believably flawed heroine Tillie teams up with her unlikely sleuthing partner. Lots of red herrings to mull over as this unusual story travels all over the city from the most glittering parties to the rooftops of the slums. This is the first Lydia Kang book I've read, but now I intend on reading the rest of her stories.Opium and Absinthe
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  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is perfect for historical fiction, giving a great sense of time and place. The characters are multifaceted and interesting. At first the main character annoyed me because she seemed really immature and weak, but her growth is evident and she becomes more likeable as the story goes on. Having multiple family members who struggle with drug addiction, I thought the portrayal of addiction in this book was both realistic and sympathetic, as well as highly r I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is perfect for historical fiction, giving a great sense of time and place. The characters are multifaceted and interesting. At first the main character annoyed me because she seemed really immature and weak, but her growth is evident and she becomes more likeable as the story goes on. Having multiple family members who struggle with drug addiction, I thought the portrayal of addiction in this book was both realistic and sympathetic, as well as highly relevant to the modern opioid crisis. I'm not sure if this is "officially" YA but it definitely reads like that genre, which will appeal to some more than others. For myself, I plan to read more from Lydia Kang!TW: Pretty detailed attempted rape, drug use
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Slow burn, great endingFinally a believable romance without too much fluff! Throw in the seemingly accurate period references, Bram Stoker quotes, and plot twists and you've got yourself a decent read. I've always had a soft spot for historical fiction and this time the romance didn't distract from the historical aspect. I will say Ms. Kang's writing style tests your vocab in a thesaurus-y kind of way that was a little distracting but kind of fun, especially with Kindle's dictionary feature at h Slow burn, great endingFinally a believable romance without too much fluff! Throw in the seemingly accurate period references, Bram Stoker quotes, and plot twists and you've got yourself a decent read. I've always had a soft spot for historical fiction and this time the romance didn't distract from the historical aspect. I will say Ms. Kang's writing style tests your vocab in a thesaurus-y kind of way that was a little distracting but kind of fun, especially with Kindle's dictionary feature at hand.
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  • Charlotte Broad
    January 1, 1970
    Addictive as the titleThis was a freebie had one review by someone else drawn to the fact it was free and had a catchy title. I started reading and was instantly drawn to the modern pacey writing style but in a historical setting. I loved the main character, her wit and intelligence, and how attitudes and uses of narcotics are so different to what we know now. A great story; I had an idea of 'whodunnit' midway but was proved wrong but wasn't disappointed by the outcome. Loved this book and would Addictive as the titleThis was a freebie had one review by someone else drawn to the fact it was free and had a catchy title. I started reading and was instantly drawn to the modern pacey writing style but in a historical setting. I loved the main character, her wit and intelligence, and how attitudes and uses of narcotics are so different to what we know now. A great story; I had an idea of 'whodunnit' midway but was proved wrong but wasn't disappointed by the outcome. Loved this book and would highly recommend.
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  • Shari Ring Wolf
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting bookLoved the historical accuracy and using Kindle's dictionary feature to look up words. I was also touched by the accuracy in which the author described the descent into addiction, which at first doesn't feel like descent at all. The story's plot was good, too, and kept me engaged, but I was most taken by the details of the story. It was rich with New York City's history, social history, and medical history. I find it interesting that the author is a medical doctor. She is also a t Interesting bookLoved the historical accuracy and using Kindle's dictionary feature to look up words. I was also touched by the accuracy in which the author described the descent into addiction, which at first doesn't feel like descent at all. The story's plot was good, too, and kept me engaged, but I was most taken by the details of the story. It was rich with New York City's history, social history, and medical history. I find it interesting that the author is a medical doctor. She is also a talented writer.
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  • Jill Kalas
    January 1, 1970
    Very enjoyableThough addiction is a tragedy, this was a wonderful, exciting story to read. It's always interesting to learn about the different beliefs in medicine and how it has come along over the years. The main character of this story struggles through her addiction, the murder of her sister, and various other issues that prevent her from discovering the killer until she is able to get a clear head and finally find the truth.
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  • Angela Alice Jones
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating, poignant and grittyI was drawn into the book straightaway and found the characters realistic and likeable. A book on many levels; social mores and etiquette, repression, frustration and family secrets and machinations. The principle character is very likable and shows how easy addiction is, and not necessarily a character weakness. Looking forward to discovering more such books from the author.
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  • Lulu Parkman
    January 1, 1970
    This was my pick for June’s Amazon first reads. I love a good Victorian story...vampires are always a fun addition. Although this evolved into something unexpected, it was all the better for it. Originally, I was hoping for a story similar to The Historian. It wasn’t like that at all, although the Dracula quotes were fun. In the end, I’m glad it was different-light hearted and well paced. And the ending was fantastic.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting ReadI couldn't put this book down! It's well written and the mystery of the murders is unexpected. Only one caveat, the description of the narcotic use is vivid and I personally don't think this would necessarily be a good book for a recovering addict. Just my opinion.
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  • Valerie
    January 1, 1970
    did not finish. The further into the book I got into the book the more incomprehensible the main character's actions seemed to me. Even though she was touted as being eager for knowledge and always learning new facts, she seemed very self-unaware and showed little insight into personalities. The overall feeling I got from the book was "ick."
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  • mrs nicola cuckow
    January 1, 1970
    A really great read where the plot thickens.......!This book was an interesting story which I devoured pretty quickly. I read it changing my mind about the perpetrator many times , which I think is the sign of a good writer when they introduce lots of ways the ending could be!. If you read this book you won't be disappointed!
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  • Nicola Batty
    January 1, 1970
    A real page turner!When I first started reading this novel, I mistakenly assumed it was going to be about Vampires and was relieved when it was much more. Loved the characters, the pace of storyline and how it was written. Once started could not put it down.Very well researched and very enjoyable.
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  • Ana
    January 1, 1970
    A truly enjoyable murder mystery involving vampires, addiction, and mental illness (Munchausen syndrome by proxy, anyone?) in 19th century New York.Recommended to anyone who likes Penny Dreadful and - of course - Dracula.And... the cover is gorgeous! My favorite book cover (so far) from my 2020 reading.
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  • Illona Dubaldo
    January 1, 1970
    LOVED this book- accurately portrayed the time period, including use of opium, laudanum, morphine by society "ladies"- loved the descriptions of the housing, environment, characters, and use of actual events happening at that time e.g. release of Bram Stoker's book, Dracula; newsies.Especially appreciated the author's realistic portrayal/evolution of Tillie and societal values
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  • Stacy
    January 1, 1970
    AmazonI am a huge Dracula fan so when I came across this book I was excited. I read this within a day and could not put it down. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had to know how it ended. Loved Tillie and Ian!
  • Helen Weale
    January 1, 1970
    Riveting ReadI loved this book, really well written and I loved the characters. Kept me guessing right until the end and who'd have thought it was who it was. Off to find some more by Kang now 👍
  • Angi
    January 1, 1970
    Bram would be proud!Excuse the pun, but this book really stinks It's teeth and to you and does not let go. It's a book that addresses so many different topics from social expectation to addiction to perceptions of reality. If love Dracula and Prozac Nation , this book is for you.
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  • Neeraja Sankaran
    January 1, 1970
    Very ho-hum. It had some moments of pure fun, and some well researched factoids thrown in there (heroin being the product of Bayer, for example) but the protagonist's addiction seemed to develop far too quickly. On the whole the book dragged and went on for much longer than it needed to.
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  • Pamela
    January 1, 1970
    A good readI enjoyed this book and the connections behind the components of New York at the turn of the century, the ever fascinating world of quirky medicine and early scientific discoveries, and an intrepid, if immature heroine.
  • Diana
    January 1, 1970
    What a great book! I couldn't put it down.
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