Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Opium and Absinthe” as Want to Read:
Opium and Absinthe
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Opium and Absinthe

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  16,885 ratings  ·  1,447 reviews
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 wo
Paperback, 379 pages
Published July 1st 2020 by Lake Union Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Opium and Absinthe, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Kelly B I would classify it as adult, though YA readers might also enjoy it.
Kate I would not say this book is inappropriate in any way. Trigger warnings for abuse and drug use.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasThe Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne CollinsThe Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. SchwabChain of Gold by Cassandra ClareBlood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin
Can't Wait Books of 2020
1,072 books — 2,893 voters
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne CollinsChain of Gold by Cassandra ClareOne of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManusA ​Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa TahirImagine Me by Tahereh Mafi
YA Novels of 2020
806 books — 3,017 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  16,885 ratings  ·  1,447 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Opium and Absinthe
Kat Valentine
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Harker

A 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
Juliana (Midnight Book Blog)
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 so love the cover and title of this book! I was intrigued by the blurb and was saving it for the "Halloween" season. 🧛🏻‍♂️

It is 1899 in New York City. Bram Stoker's book, "Dracula" is all the rage to read. Mathilda "Tillie" Pembroke's sister, Lucy, has just been found dead. Lying in an alleyway drained of her blood and with two puncture marks around her neck. They look like vampire bites. Tillie herself has just had a bad fall from a horse and is convalescing in bed trying to cope with her pai
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
"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
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
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.
There was an untold story that had to be found and wrested from the shut lips of New York City itself.

these are the songs I listened to while reading Opium and Absinthe!


⭐️⭐️⭐️✨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
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
"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
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(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
Monica Montrose
Aug 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
•I’ve received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for a review•

Opium and absinthe is a really well written book. The idea behind it is fascinating for sure and unique.
The writing style is smooth and keeps you hooked, I’ve finished it all in one afternoon because I could not wait to know everything.
Although I guessed the reason behind the murders, the person who did them was unexpected; so that’s a bonus.
The only negative thing is that the beginning was a little slow.

3.4 stars
Bea Villaflor
Enjoyed this.
A slow burn mystery and well written.
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Picture this...

Its 1899 in New York City, and a young woman lies dead, her body drained of its blood AND she has two puncture wounds on her neck. There is a new book that was just released, its called Dracula. Surely the murderer couldnt be a vampire..could he?

Opium and Absinthe follows Tillie Pembroke on her quest to solve her sisters murder and it is one HELL of a quest. Tillie plays amuteur slueth with the help of a newsie named Ian. Not only is she pushing towards justice for her sister she
DNF - 20% plus adventitious skimming. I will never be in the mood to read about a wide-eyed ingenue making shitty decisions, regardless of the cool setting (Fin de Siecle England) or beautiful cover (Art Nouveau style opium poppies). My skimming revealed that I guessed wrong about the murderer, but not about the shitty decisions, and (view spoiler) ...more
Ankit Garg
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang is a gothic mystery novel that involves a young protagonist trying to solve her elder sister's murder mystery, while trying to make a name of her own in the world where her family wants her to get married and settle like other 'ladies' of their stature.

The central theme of the book includes the newly released Bram Stoker's Dracula, since the story is set in the same year. The modus operandi of the murders appears to be a lot like the fictional dracula, and the pr
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Review coming soon.
2.5 Stars

This book had some good moments but overall it didn't live up to my hopes.

I didn't connect with the characters, the plot was a bit scattered and the solving of the mystery was too convenient to be believable. The main character's addiction problem seemed to be wholly out of place. It was mentioned at every turn and nearly every character enabled her along the way. I was sure it would play into the mystery or have a major role in the resolution of the story. Nope. It was just so very od
Yvonne (It's All About Books)

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'm pretty sure I had high expectations for Opium and Absinthe before diving into it. Once I did, it started off okay - a bit slow - but I still had hope that it would pick up and be amazing. Just like the cover looks. Unfortunately, the cover is amazing but the book sort of fell flat for me.

Some parts were pretty enjoyable and others felt a bit repetitive. Plus Tillie was way to easy to give drugs to. I get that she was addicted due to an awful injury but she just took whatever from whoever wit
2.5 stars

My 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.
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 ...more
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
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.
Bookworm Extraordinaire
Jul 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
First thing first, the cover on this one is GORGEOUS. I love it!

Okay, so onto the book...this was a fun read. Well written. Likable and itriguing charcaters. An autmospheric and interesting setting. A mystery that kept me guessing until the end. Just an enjoyable read overall. I'd love to see more books featuring these charcaters!
Nov 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tillie is a sheltered heiress living in New York at the end of the 19th century. On a hunt, she falls from her horse, breaks her clavicle, and begins to take opium for the pain. When her beloved sister Lucy is found dead with two puncture wounds in her neck, avid reader Tillie wonders if there could be a vampire roaming Manhattan. She forms a friendship with Ian, a poor Jewish newsboy from the Lower East Side, and they seek out the truth behind the murder of her sister and several others. What d ...more
3 Stars

*A great premise overshadowed by too much focus on substance abuse*

ARC provided by Lake Union Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed The Impossible Girl, so I was excited to read Kang’s latest book. I have been on a huge Gothic kick lately, and this book sounded right up my alley. Sadly, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

Ok, it should be obvious from the title that the story has drug use in it. I was expecting that. But I was not expecting the
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 e
nαомι αndιno
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
4.5 ⭐️

I need laudanum. Opium.

When I first saw the cover and title I decided I was going to read it regardless of what the story was about. Then I read the synopsis and I was hooked. I love the Victorian vibes, historical fiction, mysteries and vampires.

The beginning was a little slow but nevertheless the mystery and writing style keeps you hooked. Tillie is a great main character and I loved watching her interact with other characters, how she thought for herself and challenges her family’s r
Jul 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley
Rating: 2.5

I really liked the first half but it went downhill from there. I feel like it lost its plot and focused on too many things (most of which didn't really matter). It was also obvious to me who the murderer was. The characters were either boring or upsetting or, in Jame's case, both. The Dracula aspect was a little too heavy-handed for me. I feel like if the author took out a few unnecessary things and focused on the murder, it would have been a lot better.
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
With a cover as beautiful as this, I was really expecting a beautiful story too. Don't get me wrong, I loved this book, I just had one large problem with it. I loved the setting, the plot, and the atmosphere it brought you in to. I was completely immersed in this book from the first page, and could barely put it down.

Opium and Absinthe follows Tillie after her sister is brutally murdered, drained of blood, and left with only a bite mark on her neck. Soon after, another vampire-like killing is d
Trisha Tomy
Oct 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tb-oct-2020
I really wanted to rate this 5 stars, but I didn't love the ending as much as I wanted to, so....

This book is awesome!! I really don't like vampires, so this book had only the mystery part going for me.....but I really loved it?

I found this book in my GR feed, and I'd been seeing it a lot....but the cover was what made me shelve it....and the synopsis!

I have found a genre that I really like, and it's Historical Fiction set in Victorian London, or whereabouts. It's like the turning point, somehow
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Broken Promises (Past Imperfect Mystery Book 1)
  • Destination Wedding
  • In the Dream House
  • Olive Kitteridge (Olive Kitteridge, #1)
  • Hey, Kiddo
  • Shout
  • I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
  • Smailholm
  • Between Worlds - Ragnarok (Between Worlds, #1)
  • The Exiled (Dominion of Ash, #2)
  • In Five Years
  • The Girl in the Spider's Web (Millennium, #4)
  • The Tainted (Dominion of Ash #1)
  • Let it All Burn (From the Ashes, #1)
  • Wicked Appetite (Lizzy & Diesel, #1)
  • A Light Last Seen: When Jaynie Was...
  • What It Seems
  • Murder at Ochre Court (Gilded Newport Mysteries #6)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
I love salt more than chocolate. I'm somewhat small, yet deceptively strong. Sort of like an ant.

I'm a part time doc, full time family member, and if you offer me snacks, I'll be a friend for life.

My adult fiction centers around historical mysteries in New York City, with splashes of forensics, anatomy, apothecary medicine, and chemistry! A BEAUTIFUL POISON takes place in 1918 at the height of th

Articles featuring this book

Comforting cozies, courtroom theatrics, and cold cases that warm back up...mystery and thriller subgenres are bigger and better than ever these...
218 likes · 95 comments
“To be surrounded by books, by thoughts, by places and people and things that she had not yet met—it was a haven unlike any other.” 12 likes
“Stories are how the world evolves.” 1 likes
More quotes…