I will not ramble as much as in my last review but I will point out that I am having the shit$iest luck in picking up good books lately. This one was no different.
I will just jump to what bothered me because you all know the storyline: boy and girl like each other, they almost end up together, something has to get in the way and in the end love prevails.
What I see wrong with this story:
1. The title. Summary of this book and the title would like us to believe that they seriously dwell into the opium addiction and that our hero Lindsay is an addict which gets in the way of him and his heroine. Well no, that is for the most part not true. He is only an addict in the last third of a book and what got between him and his heroine was really unrelated to any of this. In all honesty, opium was only used when this book needed a reason to be longer otherwise it would all end in the first few chapters.
2. Plot lines that lead nowhere. We have several of those but I will mention three which are probably the ones that really struck a chord with me. First we have Lindsay's character in the first few chapters being described as this great benefactor who aides little people who weren't fortunate enough of being born into a title or wealth. That is mentioned once or twice and it seemed like this will lead somewhere, that it will give him depth, something interesting about him, especially when we see his thoughts such as:
"We’re born rich, the untitled man is not. He is the one who needs the chances in life."
But that is all we get. It is never corroborated with any evidence nor is it ever mentioned again. It really felt like the author wanted our hero to appear good and giving but later on just dropped that entirely.
Then we have Anais' best friend Rebecca who ends up betraying her and coming between her and Lindsay and after she does come between them she is only mentioned once. One would think that such a villain would at least meet its rightful end and that we will get the satisfaction of seeing her punished or something but she all but vanishes and not even Anais' family ever wonders what happened to her best friend.
And lastly I will mention Anais' parents. They are both bad people, one right from the start and one is revealed as one later on. But both have their own bad traits and especially her father, the hypocrite, who harbours a secret which Anais learns of and does nothing with it, she does not confront him, she doesn't tell anyone, it is never spoken of again, not even if her mother learned of it and if they overcame it... nothing.
3. Characters. All characters are literally one trait. That's all there is to them. Or one quirk, as you wish. Lindsay, our hero, is an opium addict, Anais likes riding horses, Broughton is a stuck-up guy, Anais' mom is a money grabber, Anais' father adulterer, Lindsay's father is an alcoholic, Lindsay's mom is a saint for putting up with an alcoholic etc. Not one of them had something else, something more interesting about them, each conversation when they spoke of each other was about the same thing about a person over and over again.
4. Inconsistency. Something that confused me, and I am sure that I am not the only one. Lindsay says in the first half of the book that while in opium dens he had sex in his high state with whomever's body was on him, that it was normal for those places to have orgies and such and he even said:
"He used the opium so that he could dream of her, so that he could see her when he was fucking other women. There was no guilt that way."
But later on he keeps saying that unlike others in opium dens, he just can't have sex with anyone because opium rules him and he can only get up for one woman who stirs his blood and that is Anais. It kept bouncing from one statement to the other each time there was talk about opium dens. It's just...very confusing.
Now I will mention what I hated most about this book and why I almost dropped reading it, I read the last third of the book like I was chewing nails, very slowly and painfully but since it is a spoiler of sorts even though you see it coming a mile away when you read the book, I will put it under a spoiler tag.
I will explain what got between Lindsay and Anais. I did mention it was Anais' best friend Rebecca but I didn't mention how it happened.
On a masquerade ball Lindsay was supposed to meet with Anais at midnight and he knew which costume she will wear. Little before midnight as Lindsay was waiting for the meeting, one servant fed him some weird dessert which contained hashish which he never tried before and it messed with his mind. That servant was Rebecca and she donned Anais' costume which she stole from her and tricked him into believing she was Anais and Anais caught them making out in the hallway. And she fled. She didn't want to speak with him and made him believe she left for Paris and he followed her there when she actually stayed in his friend Broughton's cottage on his estate.
And now we come to the thing I hate most about this book.
Before the masquerade ball Anais slept with Lindsay and of course that left her pregnant and she had the child in the cottage where Broughton let her stay and she GAVE THE BABY AWAY and no, they don't get the baby back later no, they make peace with that, that their own flesh and blood is now someone else's daughter. HOW THE F*CK COULD YOU DO THAT??? There is nothing making you do that. First she says that she gave the baby away because what would that do to her status in society? Oh what a b*tch. Then she said she had no other choice because Lindsay wasn't there and yet she was the one sending him on a wild-goose chase when she led him to believe she left for Paris. Then she says she couldn't keep her because she couldn't give the baby milk because she got sick after giving birth. Oh please, plenty of women in that time couldn't produce milk so they hired local women who had babies too to help out. Nothing she says makes any sense and most of all, what does that make you as a woman, a person.... you could have kept your child but you CHOSE not to because it was EASIER for you. After this transpired I started to hate her and I actually rooted for Lindsay to find someone more worthy but of course we can't have that because it would make too much sense.
All in all.
Conclusion is that first half of the book was rather boring for me, the second half I was grinding my teeth the entire time. There were some inconsistencies and characters are one-quirk characters. But the author does know how to write well and her usage of language is something that speaks to me so I will not give up on her books, I will just stay far away from this one.
“When you pout, angel, every man looks at you, wishing he could kiss away the sadness from those lovely lips.”