Review: Absinthe of the Heart by Monica James

Absinthe of the Heart
Series: Sins of Yesterday, #1
Author: Monica James
Publication Date: May 14, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Two households, unlike in dignity, in the City of Angels is where we lay our scene…

London Sinclair was the boy my mother warned me about for as long as I can remember. His name alone has brought my family nothing but shame and suffering, so it’s no surprise we’ve been sworn enemies since the first moment we met.

With his bedroom eyes and cocky smile, he has all the girls under his spell. I have one more year of school left, and then I’m home free because I’m guarding a secret, one I’m ashamed to keep.

The boy who is completely off-limits is the one who drives me, Holland Brooks, wild. I want London, and I think…he wants me, too.

Some may compare it to a Shakespearian tragedy, as our surnames have fated our future, but when a single night changes my life forever, I can’t leave the City of Angels fast enough.

Ten years later, I have atoned for my sins and return to Los Angeles a changed woman. I’ve come home to get married. But the moment London walks back into my life, one thing is clear. Ten years can’t undo that night—that single, sinful night when I gave into temptation—because I want to do it again.


Absinthe of the Heart was pure drama. There’s no other way to describe this book. It definitely has the whole Romeo and Juliet vibe. Holland and London’s parents began the saga with friendship turned to hatred. Holland and London weren’t exactly born of this hatred, but they continued the messed up cycle. Only thing — Holland and London didn’t truly hate each other. Their relationship straddled the thin line between love and hate. As they grew up and got to high school, the hatred they felt toward each other bloomed into attraction. Like Romeo and Juliet, Holland and London were destined to be together — and apart.

To get a little more descriptive about the story, Absinthe of the Heart was divided by years. It started back in 1977 with Holland and London’s parents’ story. Their story was a little nutty and unbelievable, but it did set forth an interesting tale. I liked that the past was put out there right at the beginning, and wasn’t some secret to unfold. After the prologue, the story switches to when Holland and London are in high school. It’s all about how they hate each other, but that attraction creeps up on them and then boils over. Then, we’re thrust into the present. Everyone is pretty much the same, with the exception of Holland. She’s returning home to get married, but coming home means facing the past she left behind.

My thoughts are all over the place with this book. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t dislike it. There were some fun twists and a great level of angst. The love-hate thing going on between Holland and London was palpable and exciting. It was just sort of frustrating for me. I think that’s because Holland was a frustrating character, and it was all told from her point of view.

Holland was super naïve. I could guess (correctly) what was going on. She could have, but she was too afraid to ask the right questions. She was in this bubble, and every decision she made drove me crazy. I ended up not liking her much. I wish some of the story had been told in London’s point of view because, despite being a jerk at times, I liked him more. He had this edge of mystery that was really cool. I would have liked to have gotten to know him better in this book.

My biggest complaint about this book, though, is that it ends with a cliffhanger. That frustrates me because it was pretty apparent what that cliffhanger was going to be (to me) about half way through the book. I would rather there be one book for this story. It could have been longer with a conclusion added on. It could have had less build up, be more about the cliffhanger, and then what comes next. I would have been fine with either of those. I just wanted a conclusion. I didn’t want another book about this same couple. It just feels like it will be drawing out the story. Maybe I’m wrong about that, though. I haven’t read the second book. It could be fabulous. Actually, it probably will be because it will be the part of the story I really wanted to read.

I know this sounds like a bit of rant because of my frustration, but I did like the gist of the story. The plot was a good one. I just needed more London, less Holland, and a the rest of their love story.

5 thoughts on “Review: Absinthe of the Heart by Monica James

  1. Nothing worse than the main character being super frustrating the whole time! I’m sorry that the story was dragged out so much that you have to read a second book to find out what happens.

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