Title: Opium and Absinthe
Author: Lydia Kang
Review by: Dani Hoots
From the bestselling author of A Beautiful Poison comes another spellbinding historical novel full of intrigue, occult mystery, and unexpected twists.
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.
I haven’t read any historical mysteries in quite a while, but when I saw this one had the folklore of vampires, I couldn’t resist. From page one, I was hooked on this story. It started off with Tillie getting injured from a horse-riding accident. She gets treated with some opium, and slowly the opium addiction Tillie faces starts to develop. I could tell Kang did a lot of research on the history of medicine during this time. I loved how it was weaved into the story and had a big part of what challenges Tillie faced.
The mystery of her sister’s death was also well set up. There were a lot of twists and turns, and I didn’t know who to trust. I really loved how much suspense and mystery there was. Although there were some parts that felt a little slow, I felt it was good pacing overall.
If you enjoy Historical Fiction and Amateur Sleuths, I highly recommend!