Absinthe Of The Heart by Monica James is the first book in the Sins of the Heart series.
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 gutted me. I am completely blown away by how amazing this book was. I shouldn’t have expected any less after reading Monica James’ Memories from Yesterday series. The novel packed an emotional punch from the beginning and just kept pummeling my heart for the entirety of the story. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive until the next book is released because I NEED more of Holland and London.
You kind of get a twofer with this story. I loved getting that little glimpse into the beginning of Holland and London’s parents’ stories. It did such a fantastic job of setting up the emotional rollercoaster we were sent on through the rest of the book. And a rollercoaster it was; the highs were euphoric and the lows devastating. It didn’t matter how much I expected that next freefall, it always knocked the wind out of me and left me reeling.
London and Holland and Lincoln and Belle were so intertwined, from the very start, it was hard to see clearly exactly what their dynamics were going to be and how it was all going to unravel. I loved the Romeo and Juliet theme, and this twist on it was splendid. From the way they became star-crossed lovers to the miscommunication that drove them apart to the interesting circumstances that brought them back together, Monica James delivered on the ages-old theme of sworn enemies being fated to fall in love.
The chemistry between London and Holland – especially when they were still sure they hated one another – was explosive. Their interactions were fiery and impassioned. When they finally gave into the pull they felt and allowed themselves to admit there was more between them than unadulterated hatred it was visceral. I could feel each touch, each breath as readily as I could feel my own pulse. I found myself breathless with my heart pounding time and again while reading this novel, and if that isn’t the sign of sublime storytelling, I don’t know what is.
Absinthe of the Heart is the first book in Monica James’ Sins of Yesterday series. From everything I can tell these books are not going to be standalones and must be read in order. Absinthe of the Heart is written in first person perspective, narrated by Holland.
Monica James is quickly solidifying her place on my list of must-read authors. Her work is intense, emotional, and highly addictive. Her prose is beautiful and compelling. Beyond all that she creates wonderfully flawed, sympathetic characters, whom you have no option but to love and root for.
Before I get a chance to scold him, he presses his chest to mine and slowly reaches behind me. We’re caught in a deadlock. I’m barely breathing while he licks his bowed upper lip, unaffected. I shuffle backward, uncaring that I’ll probably fall off the edge because that alternative is far better than burying my nose into the length of his neck. He smells so good. I just want to take a bite.
But up goes my guard as I refuse to succumb to this insanity a second longer. “This is a new low, even for you. Manhandling a defenseless, injured woman.”
He has the gall to laugh. “You? Defenseless? That is one word I would never associate with you, Princess.” When that momentous nickname slips past his lips, we both freeze, him gingerly meeting my eyes.
A thousand emotions are reflected deep within those shadowy depths, transporting us both back to being seventeen. And just like that, my walls crumble. He clears his throat while I avert my eyes, focusing on a lone beer bottle cap on the floor.
There are bottles clinking and some sort of rustling happening behind me, but I don’t dare turn around to see what the commotion is. When he finally pulls away, I take a breath, but it’s in vain because he drops to his knees before me.
I have no idea what he’s doing until he lifts my injured ankle and presses a dishcloth filled with ice to the swollen flesh. The relief is instant, so I don’t fight it. I watch as he tends to me, on his knees, as it’s a sight I never thought I’d see. I envisioned London on his knees, begging for forgiveness more times than I care to admit, but this is different.
Something is selfless, almost repentant about his actions, and I can’t take pleasure in seeing him this way.
“Here.” He breaks the silence when he offers me his cell from his back pocket. My brain short-circuits. Not only is he tending to my wounds, but he’s now giving me a lifeline to get the hell out of here. But now that it’s within reach, I don’t want it as desperately as I thought I did.
Regardless, I accept the offering. The screen lights up with a picture of an adorable black Labrador. I don’t know why, but it throws me.
This is a part of London’s life, and I begin to wonder what else he holds close to his heart.
Over the past ten years, I exorcised London from every crevice of my mind and body, never allowing myself to slip back into the past. But being here now, I can’t help but be curious, especially because he looks different…he looks happy.
Absinthe of The Heart by Monica James will be released on May 14!
Monica James spent her youth devouring the works of Anne Rice, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson.
When she is not writing, Monica is busy running her own business, but she always finds a balance between the two. She enjoys writing honest, heartfelt, and turbulent stories, hoping to leave an imprint on her readers. She draws her inspiration from life.
She is a bestselling author in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, and the U.K.
Monica James resides in Melbourne, Australia, with her wonderful family, and menagerie of animals. She is slightly obsessed with cats, chucks, and lip gloss, and secretly wishes she was a ninja on the weekends.