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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2020 Lydia Kang (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about Opium and Absinthe

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

2nd Book — High Society in New York in 1800’s

My 2nd book by this author. It was awesome. Tillie Pembroke is a young woman trapped by tradition. She is the 2nd daughter of a wealthy family living in New York during the gilded age of the late 1800’s. She wants to be her own person but her grandmama and mama want her to be traditional. When her sister, Lucy, is murdered, Tillie decides to find out who killed her and why. She sneaks out of the mansion to investigate. She gets hooked on opium after she falls off a horse and breaks her collar bone. The descriptive writing of her addiction makes for touch reading, especially knowing what we now do about opium and its uses at that period. It was common for rich women to be addicted to it. The author is a physician and knows her stuff. I listened to the audible version as well and liked the narrator, Bailey Carr. A lovely book.

14 people found this helpful

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Great historical crime book!

This book has many twists and turns in it so that you never know exactly who the bad guy is until the very end. I had never heard of this author. This was a treat to find.

I should also mention that I have trouble staying with a book if it's not moving at a good pace as soon as it starts with a decent hook to reel me in. I was getting a little bit put off at the beginning because I'm impatient like that and that's more me than the rider.. But I stayed with it for a couple of more pages and it took off and kept moving steadily throughout the rest of the book.

Great read.

13 people found this helpful

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Not All Cages Have Bars

This is a great read if it's what you're looking for. It is not the latest, greatest vampire hunter book, so if that's what you're after you will be disappointed. It is, however, a great mystery/thriller set at the turn of the 20th century when the great robber barons still maintained their mansions in NYC and elsewhere. The main character, Tillie, is an engaging and intrepid heroine who is vastly ahead of her time, and trapped by her gender. She is the proverbial square peg being pounded relentlessly into a round hole not of her choosing or desire. Tillie is a woman whose mind wants to soar, who seeks adventure and education, and who wants desperately to do something that will make people's lives better. We, in modern society, can't really relate to Tillie's plight from a few simple words. So much has changed in the last century.

There were so many layers to this story, it will be a repeat listen for me. The mystery itself was tightly woven and had me edging through the last quarter of the book, convinced I had the answer. I did not. But the mystery of the killer is only one part of the story. The very title of the novel tells the reader that dark things await, for "chasing the dragon" was not unlawful in that day, merely frowned upon in some circles, or simply hidden from others. The entire story seems to focus on the myriad ways one could be caged without bars in those days, as our heroine Tillie seems to struggle through them all. Interestingly enough, she's not the only one. She's just the only one that seems to be struggling for freedom.

9 people found this helpful

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This book is not about hunting vampires.

This book is more about addiction and recovery than about vampires. The story was intriguing and fun enough to keep listening. The narration was ok.

8 people found this helpful

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Great story, performance mediocre

I am loving this book. Not done yet, but truth be told, the narrator has only two voices. The most natural one being that of the main character. However when she speaks other parts, be it male voices, an elderly grandmother, and a few others, they all take on the most annoyingly stiff, somewhat forced and fake British upper crust tones with some vocal fry mixed in. Very very annoying. I want to read Lydia Kang's other books, but if the narrator is the same, I will have to think twice. It rather ruins the listening experience.

6 people found this helpful

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Narrator not suited to this book

This book wasn't my favorite. The story was okay but the narration was awful. Just awful. I should've stuck to the kindle e-book. I won't be getting anything else narrated by this young woman. Perhaps she should try juvenile and child fiction to narrate. It would suit her very young voice much better.

5 people found this helpful

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Great story but not a vampire story

I thought I would as listening to a vampire story but instead I found out it was not which was disappointing however it was a fantastic written and performed better book. I think it had a very interesting and kept my attention the whole time . If your looking for a vampire story this isn’t it. I though think it as extremely important the subject matter that was brought throughout the book and the murder is someone you’ll never ever guess!!!

4 people found this helpful

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Surprisingly great

It's not the usual book I read. im usually fond of Urban Fantasy, some psychological thrillers, things like that. It came up when I was browsing and I bought it for my mother in law, thinking it was something she would enjoy, and grabbed a copy for myself so we could discuss it. Then about a quarter into the book I didn't want to put it down. You fall in love woth the characters and don't know till the end who really to trust. I was surprised at the killer. The story showed a lot about addiction, but also people's demons and struggles, with a great mystery intertwined. I don't review often, but this was a really great book, and I highly recommend giving it a read.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing!!!

This was an amazing perspective of heiresses in Manhattan in 1890's. I was blown away at the flippant drug use in the time period! With a hint of Sci Fi and Mystery. great read!!!!!!!!

3 people found this helpful

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Wow!!!

This book kept me always trying to figure out what was going on and who did what!!!

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Claire
  • Claire
  • 01-23-21

Superb, highly recommended

wonderfully descriptive, this book had me guessing through to the end who the perpetrator was.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erssie
  • 01-21-21

Love A Gothic Novel

I'm disappointed that I can't read this on daylight and listen to Audible in darkness despite it being listed as Whispersync/Narration ready. The kindle and audible versions don't sync as promised between the versions. Other than that it's a great story I'd like to continue, but annoyingly I'll have to return the audio and wait until it really is available. You think it'd be easy to fix but Amazon would rather take back a book and refund you, losing goodness knows how many sales for authors than make it work.

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  • Laura C
  • 12-03-20

not a great first audible experience

I didn't enjoy the narrator, I couldn't believe some of the mispronunciations made it past editing, I assumed it might be a computer generated voice.

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Profile Image for K G L T
  • K G L T
  • 11-30-20

Enjoyable

i quite liked the story, but did not care for the audio performance. The "voices" used were a bit stiff and the pacing too slow at times. It was a great book otherwise.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Norma Miles
  • 11-24-20

"A carnal catastrophe of crumbs."

No, doesn't sum up the content of this book: it is simply a line the main character thinks of which I actually found enjoyable.

I really expected to like this book. Drawn by the lovely cover, fool that I was, and intrigued by the brief resume, I bought it despite already having reservations about the narrator from the four minute excerpt. Sadly, the twelve and one half hours of this miserable tale felt more like double that time as the 'heroine', a spoilt, wealthy, clumsy, petulant and immature young woman drooled, regurgitated and craved either laudenham, opium, morphine or heroin in the final few months of the nineteenth century. Had she been a child of twelve or so, her character would have made far more sense, (asking constant questions such as how an elephant smelt?) but she had to be much older for the slow burn romance to take place. Theoretically a murder mystery, it was much more a series of not very well drawn character studies as seen by this silly woman as she doses herself with ever increasing drug usage following her breaking her collar bone after being thrown from her horse because of total incompetence, an accident which had occurred at the same time as the killing of her older sister.

Although of marriage age, Tillie is silly, emotionally but a little girl, even if she does like to read and find out about things. The narration emphasizes this. Lydia Kang's voice is perfect for children's stories. But in this book, which requires the listener to form a picture of a fully adult woman for the character to stand a chance of succeeding, she only makes the main character sound childish. Again, nothing wrong with her actual narration other than being totally wrong for this book (although her individual are limitted, and the accent of the British Lady Remington is a cross between Irish/Scottish and Australian - awful).

So, definitely not a book I would recommend, despite the lovely cover. It is well written, hence the three stars, and, being set in an earlier time frame - a little over one hundred years ago - attitudes and circumstances were certainly different from today. I am sure many people will fully revel in the plight of the poor, plucky little rich girl whose elders wanted her to conform to the social modes and which she did not want. But the author would have done better to remove the time frame still further into the past, except then she would have been unable to use the frequent Dracula quotations at the beginning of the chapters. Ah, well...

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  • Domenik
  • 07-23-20

Fantastic story.

I loved this story and I was surprised to gain motivation and deep understanding with my own battle with alcohol. Not that I am an alcoholic. More the physical symptoms such has head pains and tension. So I will practice mindfulness instead now, instead of picking up a bottle of wine at the supermarket.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-15-20

Brilliant!!!

Just incredible. I praise the writer for this story and the wonderful characters! Can't wait to see this story reach other people.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-11-20

gripping

Fantastic book and good narration, until she does a 'British' accent then it goes wrong!