Miss Ada Quicksilver, a student of London’s Lovelace Academy for Promising Young Women, is spending her holiday in Ireland to pursue her anthropological study of fairies. She visits Dublin’s absinthe bars to investigate a supposed association between the bittersweet spirit and fairy sightings.
One night a handsome Irishman approaches her, introducing himself as Edward Donoghue. Edward takes absinthe to relieve his sleepwalking, and she is eager to hear whether he has experience with fairies. Instead, she discovers that he’s the earl of Meath, and that he will soon visit a mysterious ruin at Newgrange on the orders of his cousin, the beautiful, half-mad Queen Isolde. On learning about Ada’s area of study, he invites her to accompany him.
Ada is torn between a sensible fear of becoming entangled with the clearly troubled gentleman and her compelling desire to ease his suffering. Finally she accepts his invitation, and they arrive in time for the winter solstice. That night, the secret of Edward’s affliction is revealed: he is, in fact, a lord in two worlds and can no longer suppress his shadow self.
Little does either of them realize that their blossoming friendship and slowly kindling passion will lead to discoveries that wrench open a door sealed for centuries, throwing them into a war that will change Ireland forever.
Review of The Absinthe Earl
Edward’s internal conflict, brought on with bouts of sleeping walking threatens to ravage his life. Before he understands what it is, he believes he is insane. Hence the nightly absinthe nightcap to keep the monsters (insanity) away. But Ada thinks there could be a fairy reason. Ada’s scholarly interest in fairies has put her firmly in Edward’s path. Or is there some other reason fate brought them together?
The age-old story of star-crossed lovers through the centuries is not a unique story. This particular retelling of Irish folklore in the 19th century historical setting is compelling and elegant.
Reading The Absinthe Earl, I was fully immersed in 19th century Ireland due to the sights and culture and language written into the story. You might think, all authors use language don’t they? Well there is language and there is Language
Sharon Lynn Fisher’s story, told from the heroine’s point of view, is full of beautiful descriptions and phrases befitting a scholar from the Lovelace Academy for Promising Young Women. Without overusing 19th century colloquialisms, Ms. Fisher sets the atmosphere. Absorbed in the story, I rarely resorted to the dictionary on my Kindle, helping me feel like I was back in 1882 Ireland with Ada and Edward. It is this lush use of Language that is the first recommendation of The Absinthe Earl for me.
There is an abundance of fiction that incorporates the myth of the Irish Tuatha De Danaan, especially the fairy aspect of the myths. Rehistory, as told in The Absinthe Earl is a refreshing re-telling of the history of the fairy world as it interacts with the human world. This delicate interweaving of Irish history, folklore and fairy stories is the second recommendation of The Absinthe Earl for me.
Whenever I pick up a book from Sharon Lynn Fisher, I expect something unique. I expect something that will keep me reading into the wee hours of the night. I am delighted to report that The Absinthe Earl lives up to my expectations. I am already anticipating the next chapter in Faery Rehistory.
Through Edelweiss, the publisher provided a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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