They crossed centuries to find each other. Their love will shatter worlds.
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.
“We have been dreaming until now…We need only awaken.”
Time is of little consequence to immortals, but a passion brewing for centuries is about to force the hands of two strangers and alter the courses of their lives forever. The paths of a scholarly orphan and a tormented earl inevitably cross on a crisp and chilled winter evening, greatly drawn to each other despite the gap between their social stations. Agreeing to accompany each other on an investigation of a mysterious uncovered cairn, they’re soon heaved into a magical story of their own, as a long-lost history begins to resurface, and horrors threaten to reclaim the island of Ireland. An oath vowed in another time and place dictates the future as the fate of all hangs in the balance.
The Absinthe Earl is the first installment in The Faery Rehistory series, and my personal introduction to Fisher’s work, and what an introduction it has been. This is a charming and immersive tale of believing – believing in the things we cannot see; believing in fate; believing not only in others, but in ourselves, as well. A compelling narrative with a strong focus on kindness and understanding, and placing your trust in another to guide you from the darkness when facing hardship. The saga of Ada Quicksilver and Edward Donoghue, while a fiction of the present, feels as if it’s a legend of old, and one whose echoes will surely roam well into the future.
Diving into this book is comparable to traversing through a portal into Victorian Ireland and beyond. Detailed by the need to adhere to socially acceptable behavior, and a style of dialogue one would expect of this period so skillfully executed, readers are fully submerged within the first few pages. The beautiful blend of known historical aspects and Irish mythology make for a unique and alluring read I wished would continue on once the final page was turned. We carefully descend into ancient burial mounds hosting hidden secrets, we race across the captivating Irish countryside astride creatures of myth, and we find ourselves on mystical vessels piloted by pirates in between the worlds of man and fae. Fisher intelligently weaves a yarn using two separate first-person POVs, allowing us to witness events from alternating perspectives throughout the entirety of this breathtaking and emotional adventure through time.
The story of us.
At its heart, The Absinthe Earl is of a romance that has been written in the bright and glittering stars across a clear winter sky. It’s no coincidence Ada and Edward meet by a rustling fire within the walls of a particular house of absinthe deep within the Emerald Isle. What begins as an innocent conversation of myth and legend quickly transforms into a slow-burn romance, where a man and a woman both attempt to mask their true affections for one another. Each contains an otherworldly beauty the other finds compelling and unable to ignore, and as feelings begin to intensify, we learn of a powerful and eternal love spanning centuries between their ancestors. The organic nature of the progression of their relationship is so deftly crafted, and such an exquisite thing to watch unfurl.
The underlying plot of impending war brings forth all manner of nail-biting action that often sent shivers flittering down my spine. Edward, a naval officer, is accustomed to, yet unprepared for what’s to come without the aid of someone or something he has spent his adult life attempting to repress. Ada, more comfortable within the safe confines of a library, must bolster her resolve in order emerge unscathed from the grasp of ancient foes. The reclamation of Ireland is central as all factions of man and fae clash, and aid from beings of lore, kings of old, and influential deities must surely turn the tide, or the human population may face annihilation. The ultimate battle within the final chapters, occupying land, sea, and sky, was a non-stop whirlwind that kept me on the edge of my seat. The author’s ability to manage and easily portray so many moving pieces in a way to keep readers fully engaged is just marvelous.
I initially began this book expecting an account of a steamy love affair, but I was presented with so much more. Fisher’s elegant writing style and sharp attention to detail wonderfully capture the essence of not only 19th Century Ireland, but also of the magical lore that defines the history of the area. While this story ties up nicely, I’m thrilled it’s just the start of our journey and I have more of Ada and Edward (I hope!) to look forward to in the future. The Absinthe Earl is for those seeking an absorbing expedition of the heart while roving a quaint countryside blanketed by snow and secrets, and one I highly recommend. Available October 15, pre-order now.
Note: A huge thank you to Blackstone Publishing for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review.