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Yellow Jessamine

3.72  ·  Rating details ·  469 ratings  ·  179 reviews
Powerful shipping magnate Evelyn Perdanu lives a tight, contained life, holding herself at a distance from all who would get close to her. Her family is dead, her country is dying, and when something foul comes to the city of Delphinium, the brittle, perilous existence she's built for herself is strained to breaking.

When one of her ships arrives in dock, she counts herself
Paperback, 131 pages
Published September 5th 2020 by Neon Hemlock Press
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  469 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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Miranda Reads

New Month, New Tierlist BookTube Video is up - click the link to check out my August Reading Vlog!

The Written Review

2.5 stars
Evelyn Perdanu runs a tight ship.

She's beyond wealthy, surrounded by loyal servants and is just-so-happening to be harboring the darkest of secrets.

She returns from her latest voyage and almost immediately her crew begins to act erratically before slipping into a deathless state.

Fearful that she's brought a plague upon the (crumbling) city, she begins
Lex Kent
3.25 Stars. This was an oddball little book. Parts of it I liked quite a bit, others not so much. I’m glad I read it but it wasn’t really what I was looking for. However, I do see myself reading more of Starling in the future. While I didn’t love all her story choices, she impressed me in her writing skills so I will be keeping my eye out for her new books.

I wanted to read this story because of two words, sapphic and horror. I didn’t realize that this was also a historical fantasy? and a novell
Edward Lorn
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Video Review:

YELLOW JESSAMINE is a deliciously creepy read, full of characters you can love and hate, and just dripping with dread. Starling has a true gift for fleshing out codependent relationships, something I first found out in her astounding debut The Luminous Dead. It's going to be hard to pick a favorite for my top book of the year, because both are books by her. I might just take the easy way out and call this one it, because TLD didn't come out this year, I
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Wow I actually really enjoyed this! Fast paced and I was interested the entire time. I wish this was a full length novel because I would've given it 5 stars if that were the case. I would have loved to see more character development and world building and more background information. I enjoyed this nonetheless but it left me wanting more and curious. That cover is amazing too.

thank you Netgalley and to the publisher!
Sep 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Yellow Jessamine is a queer gothic horror novella following shipping magnate, poisoner and pretend-widow Evelyn Perdanu as a terrifying plague of mysterious origin devastates her already dying city.

I will start by saying that I'm not completely sure I got this. Horror endings are some of the most polarizing things to read for me, as them not resonating can break the book, and I think that's what happened here. The ending made sense, and it wasn't necessarily underwhelming, but I still finished t
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
The other merchant lords avoided death, but Evelyn knew its contours and its character intimately, marking its creeping progress day by day.

On my blog.

Rep: lesbian mc

CWs: drug abuse, murder, gore

Galley provided by publisher

Yellow Jessamine is like if you took The Monster of Elendhaven and made it sapphic. That’s the easiest way to describe it. It’s almost scarily similar in vibes, in fact (which is to say, small town, creepy goings-on, a cabal of powerful people who will sacrifice whatev
Juliana (Midnight Book Blog)
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I started out really liking this book, but there were a number of things that really bothered me about it.

First, it was listed in the LGBTQ+ category, which I would not file it under. If I had not been told this was an LGBTQ+ novel, I would never have known that was the way it should have been read (and I still don’t really see it, even after being told).

Secondly, I felt there was both so much filler, and so muc
Stephanie (That's What She Read)
This was a gothic novella with an interesting protagonist. I liked Evelyn's character and how my perception changed once I found out more about her story. I will say that for a story claiming to be LGBT, I wanted more of those elements. Starling proved once again that she can write a story with few characters, claustrophobic settings and tension. ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yellow Jessamine was my first adventure with author Caitlin Starling and it will not be the last. I love eerie and creepy and dark (and even depressing), and this novella has it in spades.

The author has done a lot of research on plants and their uses. That was impressive. I also loved her style of writing. It was lush in detail with an engaging plot and interesting characters. Permanently veiled Evelyn Perdanu is not the kind of woman who will warm your heart. Death clings to her like a lover.
Sep 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to preface my review by stating that I received an ARC through Netgalley, however the copy I received was very flawed. Luckily enough Starling saw a comment I had posted on Twitter stating the file was messed up and reached out and sent me another file. Super thankful that she took the time to reach out to me and send the second copy! Yellow Jessamine was my first Starling book but it will not be my last. I already have her first book on my radar and you should too ( The Luminous Dead).

I only read one book by her and it was enough to know Caitlin can't disappoint. She doesn't have it in her to write anything shitty; she's way too cool and she doesn't even have to try. ...more
Nov 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
There are a lot of cool, creepy ideas in this wee little novella, and I am especially a sucker for the eccentric lady with a greenhouse and a secret room full of plant clippings and cuttings and tinctures, some of which heal and some of which harm. But I wish Starling could've had at least 100 more pages to flesh some things out. She throws a lot of plot ingredients into the mix and I feel like several of them - the town of Delphinium and the rebellion in particular - weren't developed enough to ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was ok
I got this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

CHILE...this book was not it.
I'm start with the positives:
1. The writing in this book was very nice. I quite like how the author described little aspects of the setting and the characters.
2. The premise is very interesting. Strange illness that seems to be following the main character around? Sounds interesting to me, but sadly the execution was not it.

Now for the negatives.
1. This book is tagged at LGBTQIA+. Now that isn't entirely
Clara ✨
Jun 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you, NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book, in exchange for my honest review!

"Something had come back on her ship, looking for her. And it was spreading."

My fourth main read for The Olympic Games Readathon, created by Ishi; as a daughter of Aphrodite. This book fills the following prompt:
🕊️ As his lover, Aphrodite spends a lot of time with Ares. Complete a prompt that honours
him: Read a book featuring a morally grey character.

This novella tells the story of Evelyn, a woman that had t

El Hyrst
Full review on my blog, February 11th 2021:

Everyone knows I adore Caitlin’s work, and The Luminous Dead was one of my favourite books that I read last year (see the rest of the list here). I read Yellow Jessamine for the first time in November as the first book in my clearurshit readathon TBR, and decided to read it again this month so that I could review it. Definitely wasn’t just an excuse to reread Evelyn’s atmospheric and creepy story about a travelli
Thank you to NetGalley and Neon Hemlock for the ARC of this book.

3.5 stars. This novella was a step outside my comfort zone, since I don't usually read horror, but I'm glad I read it, as it was an interesting read. It started out a bit slow, with some of the descriptions hard to understand. It's hard to keep track of the relationships between the characters at first, and I kept having to reread passages to solidify my understanding. The second half of the novella, in my opinion, is where the st
Landice (Manic Femme)
Yellow Jessamine was an excellent horror novella with sapphic undertones. It was incredibly well written, and the ever escalating tension and paranoia were palpable.

I’d like to echo what several other reviewers have said - this was a good novella, but would likely have been an excellent novel. The pacing made sense for a novella, but just as I'd begun to feel invested in the characters and their relationship, it ended.

I'm definitely planning to check out Starling's novel The Luminous Dead and
Jan 03, 2020 marked it as to-read
Well, this was an interesting one!

I haven’t read much by Caitlin Starling, but she’s one of those authors whose concepts I’m generally interested in, and this is one that I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Finding good queer gothic and horror stories is frustratingly difficult, which is particularly annoying because I think the themes of those genres (gothic especially) can really resonate with queer experiences.

Disappointing seems like a loaded word, though I don’t know if I enjoyed thi
4.5/5 Stars

I really enjoyed this sapphic gothic horror - I think gothic horror is maybe my favourite kind of horror - and I think the narrator did an amazing job! I was a little confused by the ending which is why I'm definitely going to try re-reading it as a physical copy, but I really recommend this to everyone who wants to try out horror but doesn't want anything too intense or too gory!
Jordan Shiveley
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Yellow Jessamine which is due out from Neon Hemlock in 2020 and it is beautiful. A novella that leads you down it’s many knotted and snarled branches with a steady hand and the beautifully quiet voice of a graveyard overflowing with new and unnatural blooms. This story of witchery and death unfurls itself one petal at a time until you will be happy to lay yourself amongst its whispering tendrils and just breathe it in. A truly haunting and captivating story Starling shows ...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
2 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

At just over 130 pages in print form which is about 4 and a half hours in audio, Yellow Jessamine is a lightweight novella—which probably isn’t always the best format to judge a writer, I am aware. Still, I think it’s pretty safe to say Caitlin Starling’s style isn’t for me; I wasn’t too crazy for her debut novel The Luminous Dead either but was hoping that this one would strike a better chord with me, but in some ways it
Caidyn (he/him/his)
I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

CW: plague/disease, death, and killing to prevent disease spread

The second I heard Caitlin Starling was publishing a new book, I hopped on Netgalley and saw that it was there to request. I was so excited when I got it because I absolutely loved The Luminous Dead. I knew that this would be a creepy read. And it definitely was. There's a lot of death and some grieving in this book. The world Evelyn (our MC) lives in is dying and
Big Mexican Gothic vibes, so if you're looking for more creepy houses infested with sentient vegetation, here is a book for you, my friends.

I absolutely loved Starling's concept, but my big complaint here is that because this is a novella, there wasn't enough exposition or time spent setting a suitably sinister mood. Which is a shame, because, again: mysterious lesbian poisoner haunted by a nefarious entity as her city crumbles around her ears is 100% my thing. Loved the writing, loved the concl
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
"She had earned this pain. She had earned this oblivion."


Yellow Jessamine is Caitlin Starling's second book, and I loved being able to see her range between this one and The Luminous Dead since they are different styles. This is a gothic novella, and the writing fits the story so well.

It took me a minute to get into the story, but once it got going, I was invested and curious. However, the story went in a direction that was confusing to me, and I ended up feeling like I never knew what was
Aaron Nash
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
My first book by Caitlin Starling and a great read.

I loved the character Evelyn. She was flawed and selfish, but likeable, making tough decisions throughout, especially towards the end as her entire world starts to crumble around her. Her relationship with her servant and right hand, Violetta was the highlight of the book.

There was a really creepy atmosphere throughout, the girl on the road and the empresses party being standouts. Its amazing how caitlin made me feel so much dread and paranoia
Grace W
Dec 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, horror, speculative
(c/p from my review on TheStoryGraph) 4.5 A dark story with a very morally gray queer woman is just what I needed after a lot of disappointing horror this year. Not overly scary but super tense with a very dark message that I cannot help but love. I enjoy the way the ending played out, I enjoyed the way the horror unfolded around the reader. I would have loved for this to be longer but I also think it was a good pace, it's just I never wanted it to end. Overall a really great, short read for peo ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I liked this but I definitely didn't like it as much as Luminous Dead. ...more
Jun 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
it was all that it promised: creepy, pungent and beautifully described. definitely a good one for thriller/horror fans, but not as much for people expecting an actual lgbt couple
A macabre and poisonous tale of a woman at heart of a mysterious plague which has taken over a decaying city. I loved how focused and well crafted this story which ultimately focused on guilt and how it can eat away at you. I can't not mention the stunning cover and the darkly beautiful chapter heading art. Thank you very much to publisher Neon Hemlock for giving me this ARC! ...more
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Caitlin Starling is an award-winning writer of horror-tinged speculative fiction. Her first novel, The Luminous Dead, won the LOHF Best Debut award, and was nominated for several others. She tweets at @see_starling and has been paid to design body parts. You can find links to her work at ...more

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