A Long Time Dead
by Samara Breger
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Pub Date 16 May 2023 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2023
Samara Breger's A Long Time Dead is a lush, Victorian romance, drenched in blood and drama, about the lengths two women will go to secure a love that cannot die.
Somewhere foggy, 1837 . . .
Poppy had always loved the night, which is why it wasn’t too much of a bother to wake one evening in an unfamiliar home far from London, weak and confused and plagued with a terrible thirst for blood, to learn that she could no longer step out into the day. And while vampirism presented several disadvantages, it more than made up for those in its benefits: immortality, a body that could run at speed for hours without tiring, the thrill of becoming a predator, the thing that pulls rabbits from bushes and tears through their fur and flesh with the sharp point of a white fang.
And, of course, Roisin. The mysterious woman who has lived for centuries, who held Poppy through her painful transformation, and who, for some reason, is now teaching her how to adjust to her new, endless life. A tight, lonely, buttoned-up woman, with kindness and care pressed up behind her teeth. The time they spend together is as transformative to Poppy as the changes in her body, and soon, she finds herself hopelessly, overwhelmingly attached. But Roisin has secrets of her own, and can’t make any promises; not when vengeance must be served.
Soon, their little world explodes. Together and apart, they encounter scores of vampires, shifty pirates, conniving opera singers, ancient nobles, glamorous French women, and a found family that throws a very particular sort of party. But overhead, threat looms—one woman who is capable of destroying everything Poppy and Roisin hold dear.
A Note From the Publisher
Author is available for interviews, blog tours, autographed tours, autographed book giveaways, contests, and book club discussions.
“A gorgeously written lesbian vampire story that's as sexy as scary. Samara Breger has taken a familiar narrative of bloodlust and immortality and made it wholly her own. I inhaled it.” — Gabrielle Korn, author of Yours for the Taking
“Lush and evocative prose makes A Long Time Dead come to life.” —Cat Sebastian, author of The Queer Principles of Kit Webb
Average rating from 154 members
A Long Time Dead is a true, gothic, vampire romance.
The story follows newly-turned vampire, Poppy, and her vampire companion, Roisin, as they fall in love and fight to be together. Poppy and Roisin, along with all the other characters in this story, are incredibly complex. Their faults make them feel real and makes their stories more satisfying.
The writing is lush, dense and absolutely stunning. Like any good gothic story, the pace is slow and deliberate, which adds tension and really lets the reader sink into the melancholy of it all. The atmosphere shifts between gloomy, opulent and sometimes grotesque.
A Long Time Dead isn’t like most of the lighthearted paranormal romances that are currently so popular. It’s darker and has a vibe that's more like Interview with the Vampire by Ann Rice. Roisin is even a bit of a Louis – inherently good, but self-loathing because of it.
I recommend this read to anyone who loves gothic stories, even if you’re not typically a paranormal fan. It has great characters, adventure, love, loss and even orgies.
I don't really like books that are too dark and violent, so was apprehensive about reading about vampires, and this book was surprisingly warmhearted and soft despite its cold, immortal protagonists.
This book follows the story of the tightly-laced vampire Roisin, who finds herself being the caretaker to new vampire Poppy. Although Poppy was turned through an unfortunate turn of events when another vampire took advantage of her vulnerability as a sex worker, she looks on her new supernatural circumstances with wonder. Poppy is sensual when Roisin is stiff and spontaneous when Roisin is still, and through her Roisin starts to see her immortality in a whole new way. Roisin and Poppy develop an intense bond, but must part when Roisin embarks on a journey to hunt down her sire Cane, and leaves Poppy with a colorful found family in London. All the while, Poppy and Roisin pine for each other, exploring what it means to be in love and living when they literally have forever.
I really enjoyed this book, especially the balance between Roisin and Poppy's personality, and the thought that went into developing a diverse cast of vampiric characters. I give it four stars because I feel that the pacing between the middle of the book and the closing climactic action was a bit awkward, and it made me loose interest for a while. Its hard to keep a reader engaged when the story takes places across decades. But overall, I think readers can make their way through that if they stick around to see the conclusion of the romantic throughline. The sex scenes were super steamy as well!
this was such a good Victorian romance, it does everything that I was expecting from the description. Samara Breger has a great writing style and I enjoyed how good everything was put together. The characters were interesting and they were uniquely written, they worked well in the universe and I enjoyed the romance aspect. I can't wait to read more from Samara Breger as I really enjoyed this book.
"There’s a great deal of travel, as you can imagine.” She lifted a shoulder. “A lot of asking around. Getting information from an occultist who met a very strange woman in Tangier. Going to Maroc, only to discover that she had already gone somewhere new. Up to Spain, where I found a coven of witches, who—”
This is a lush, beautiful love letter to vampire literature, the ways we change ourselves and others, and to found family, steeped in love in all of its vibrant forms, and it feels like the vampire novel I didn't know I was waiting for.
At its heart is the romance between Poppy and Roisin and the changes they undergo because of it, both the literal change of Poppy's vampirism to the less tangible changes of the heart and purpose, of the ways they find to live with the endless years ahead of them and the pasts that haunt them. There's a running undercurrent of the thaw of winter to spring, of stepping out from the specter of Cane, Roisin's cruel, obsessive sire and her need to have Roisin as hers again and into the company and pleasure of the Brood, a fiercely queer and loving cohort of vampires, all of whom a mirror of a different way to handle their lot in life.
This is one of those books I knew from the first page I would enjoy. Breger's writing brings the characters and settings to life in such a way that they stick with you, from Poppy's joy at tasting champagne to the stomach-curdling tension that Cane brings with her. It makes the entire book feel familiar and fresh all at once - the vampiric lore and structure isn't new here, but the characters we see and the way they interact with each other and the lenses through which they see each other and the world are. They're all at the fringes of society in some way or another before their change, and there's a wonderful sense of warmth and community that comes through the Brood because of that and their desire to live their lives on their terms.
This novel is nothing like your regular vampire story. Foggy London streets, Victorian Era, gothic undertones and sapphic romance may sound like the perfect match for a dark retelling, but the vampires in this story are not the dark creatures we may expect. Poppy, the main character and narrator, is a ray of sunshine. “A creature built to love, with joy spilling out from every bit of her.” I loved her lighthearted and humorous tone, her joie de vivre and her genuine excitement for anything that has yet to be discovered and enjoyed.
Throughout the novel, we follow Poppy as she learns to navigate life as a newly turned vampire who needs to learn how to control her urges. The only urge she cannot seem to get a hold of is her strong love and desire for her creator, Roisin.
Their love story spans over decades; years of burning desire, penance, longing, sacrifice, and love. Love for one another, for their found family, for their mortal friends, and for themselves. Eros. Philia. Storge. Philautia. Xenia. Agape. Love, and how it may present itself and grow, is described in an emotional and lush prose, and is the main focus of the book.
A Long Time Dead is a story of seduction, love and acceptance. Poppy, Roisin and The Brood are all complex, and at times, tortured characters. They’re flawed and struggle with their decisions and relationships, but that just makes their growth so much more significant and beautiful.
From the very first page, I immersed myself in a story I knew right away I would absolutely love. Samara Breger’s prose brings vampire lore into a fresh, new light. The settings are what you expect from classic vampire lore; affected by daylight, sleep in coffins, unnatural strength and more, but their personality and the way they interact and evolve with the world around them is a refreshing new take.
I really enjoyed this book, and I’m looking forward to reading more novel by this author. I would like to thank the author, publishing house and NetGalley for granting me an eARC in exchange of an honest review.
First, thank you to NetGalley and to the author for an ARC!
I absolutely adored this book from page 1! A Long Time Dead is a love letter to the gothic fiction you know- from Frankenstein to Dracula to Carmilla, this book has it all.
The story follows Poppy as she wakes up to a whole new world of vampirism, and Roisin- the person that nurses her back to life (or death?). They awaken something in each other- this is a love story, after all, but there is someone threatening to disrupt their lives and destroy what they have built together. Will they survive her?
Despite being (un)dead, the characters are incredibly vibrant and full of life. It's impossible not to fall in love with Poppy, our main character- recently undead and perfectly ambivalent to it until she discovers she cannot eat human food. A tragedy!!! Her hope, optimism, and sailor's mouth are such a wonderful gift to us all. Roisin, in turn, is the stoic worrier, always martyring herself for the ones she loves.
The rest of the cast is a wonderful found family that I love and cherish as well! And did I mention they host glamorous orgies?
If you're looking to have fun, spill some blood, and attend sexy vampire parties- this is the book for you! I hope you preorder or add this to your TBR!
I would gladly read a million more words in Poppy and Roisin's story <3
oh WOW. wow. this was a perfect
there is absolutely nothing better than a victorian era set gothic romance and this absolutely delivered
fantastic writing, crafty storytelling, IMMACULATE characters this was too much fun literally everything i could ever want in a book
A true gothic vampire romance set in the Victorian era with blood, drama and humor. A delightful yet original read. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!
A Long Time Dead feels like a book I've been waiting to read for a very long time.
For all that lesbian vampires are practically a subgenre all their own, there's been relatively little vampire media that's by lesbians and FOR lesbians; for the most part, we've been relegated to softcore porn, bargain bin Gothics that function mostly as an excuse to enjoy some girl-on-girl before the heroes arrive to put a stake through the vampire's heart and save the damsel from a life of blood drinking and cunnilingus. There's been some movement towards correcting this in more recent years (yes, I did my time in the Carmilla trenches) but we were still missing something - an addition to the genre that wasn't afraid to be dark and sexy and lush, a worthy successor to titles like Interview With the Vampire that put pleasure and romance and angst at the forefront and let women be the ones in the driver's seat.
This is that book.
Poppy Cavendish is an absolute delight of a heroine - brash and cheerful and absolutely bursting with enthusiasm for life. Other reviewers have compared Roisin to Louis from "Interview," and I can see the DNA there - both have deep self-loathing streaks - but Roisin is sympathetic where Louis was whiny. (And even then, it is worth pointing out that the only part of the book that really drags is the first section, where it's just Poppy and Roisin, an extended "I love being a vampire/No you don't, it's a curse" back-and-forth - when the other vampires arrive and there's more personalities for Poppy to bounce off of, things pick right up.) The descriptions of clothes, food, sex (finally, an f/f romance that doesn't seem scared of sex beyond the vanilla!) are all so deep and lush, you could swim in them. The antagonist, Cane, is used sparingly, but for good reason - this isn't a good vs. evil story, this is Poppy's story, and I was overjoyed to be along for the ride for every minute of it. I can't recommend this highly enough, especially to lesbian former baby goths who gobbled up every piece of gay vampire media we could find and wished that there was one specifically for us. It's finally here.
This was all I ever wanted from a vampire book. It deserves to become a bestseller, and at least one adaptation.
Everybody is queer, and there are a lot of wholesome relationships, plus it's gothic AND funny. It is beautifully written, and it doesn't rush. It takes its time with character development and building bonds between characters. It doesn’t rely on miscommunication as a source of conflict and people are actively engaging in discussions to solve their issues.
It is tender and sweet and so full of yearning and emotion.
This was such a magnificent book.
Lush, slow, delicious, all-consuming, A Long Time Dead is everything a vampire romance should be. There is so much pining and yearning in the best kind of way. This book follows the story of Poppy Cavendish, a bright, passionate girl and her journey into becoming a vampire and falling in love and fighting for that love. If you're still chasing the vampire high from years ago, this is the book for you. All I gotta say is that us gays are winning with this one.
A Long Time Dead is a story of beauty, love, acceptance, and trust. each word spoken with delicate understanding of it’s characters and their movement in life (or- death.) was so expertly executed by Samara Breger. So, So happy to have this as my first ARC!
i found myself having the time of my life from page one until the last sentence, breaking my sapphic little heart; yearning for more. AND TO GIVE ME THE FOUND FAMILY OF MY DREAMS— YESSSS—
the brood. the motherfucking brood. baby, everyone in this family coaxed my heart in warm tinted hues. valentin, my beloved; you will always be famous.
beyond those great inclusions, i do wish we could have gotten more for the romance. as someone that doesn’t particularly enjoy romance novels, i utterly and wretchedly enjoyed the romance here; although, i felt something missing. that’s not to say it was disingenuous to me just, suppressed— which could be intentional in poppy’s own suppression of her feelings. that’s fine in the sense of a timeline under 1 year, this story spans decades.
Samara Breger has perfected her beautifully complex language, which has been woven seamlessly through the pages and I can’t wait for her next venture!
Thank you NetGalley and ByWater Books for this ARC!
set in the 19th century, we follow Poppy, whose life is forever changed as she’s turned into a vampire and taken to an isolated cottage. there, she meets Roisin, a 193 year old lonely yet caring woman, committed to guide her through the process of adjusting to her newly acquired immortality, and with whom Poppy’s life will be forever entangled.
their relationship is full of longing, yearning, and praying: to be wanted, hold, consumed. from caretaker and companion, to lovers and everything in between (and buckle up, because there’s a lot compressed in the “in between”), it’s a plea to be understood.
Roisin is, as hard as it is to choose a favorite amongst the Brood, the one i hold closer to my heart. Poppy once described her as a “creature made of bones, and care, and tragedy”, which is all true, but i’ll dare to say that above all, Roisin is made of the undying longing to be good, to be worthy, and to be loved, despite everything.
a Long Time Dead is crafted in beautiful writing that aches to captivate and hold your heart with both hands, squeezing just enough not to crush it. it’s embroidered in a cast of heartwarming characters, embracing truthful LGBT identities, friendships, and struggles, as well as very much human, complex feelings.
just as Roisin, this book is good (great, actually), worthy (of your time), and loved (by me).
it comes out may 16th, and is already available for preorder.
“A Long Time Dead is an is a lush, Victorian romance, drenched in blood and drama, about the lengths two women will go to secure a love that cannot die”
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher By Waterbooks, & the author for granting me an eARC in exchange for an honest review
Many Many thanks to Samara Berger, Netgalley, and Bywater Books for this ARC!!
Upon waking one morning, Poppy finds herself in a strange place, thirsty for something she cannot name, and with a distinct chill to her skin. Here she meets Roisin, who explains that they are both vampires. When prompted, Poppy cannot remember the exact circumstances surrounding her being turned, aside from hazy memories of a tall, imposing woman named Cane. Roisin is unsurprised, as Cane is her sire - the same vampire that turned her some centuries ago.
Roisin is filled with rage and the desire to go after Cane, but places this on hold in order to help Poppy adjust to her new not-quite-life. As she teaches her, Poppy works to control both her bloodlust and her overwhelming attraction to Roisin.
As the years to by, will either of them manage to succeed in their plans?
I feel like my words will fall short of how much I loved this book. I grew up on Twilight and the Vampire Diaries, hiding under the covers with a book light to read Frankenstein and Dracula past my bedtime. A Long Time Dead honored all of this and more. It's a lush, sweeping, gothic love affair spanning decades, filled with dramatics, horror, and romance - all the things that define the genre. It felt like it could have been written for me.
Poppy, our FMC, is the definition of a 20 year old, brash, unrefined, and forceful with her convictions. This is slightly tempered by the hard life that she has led, but she is stubborn and gluttonous and, above all, she is clever enough to turn her circumstances in a way that suits her. This directly opposes Roisin, her counterpart, a guilt-riddled vampire who has lived centuries denying herself and her baser instincts (damn Catholics).
The two could not be more different, which makes their relationship all the more exasperating and rewarding in equal measure.
I will admit that sometimes Poppy's brattish behavior grated on me, but there is value in remembering that she is stuck at 20. Roisin similarly frustrates me with her need to atone for perceived sins, but I can empathize as well.
All in all, I had a wonderful time reading A Long Time Dead, and will likely read it again!
A Long Time Dead is an epic saga set in the Victorian era.
We meet Poppy, shortly after she's turned into a vampire, and her companion Roisin. The two spend a year together sequestered at Coventry to give Poppy time to acclimate to her new life. During this time, the two begin to fall in love but Roisin's need to find and kill her sire, Cane is too strong and she leaves Poppy with The Brood.
This book is so exquisitely written that I had difficulty putting it down. It's filled with well-developed characters, descriptive detail, and witty dialogue. Poppy and Roisin's love story is filled with such pain and pleasure. The supporting cast of characters really helps to add depth to the overall story. What a fantastic journey!
<i>A Long Time Dead</i> is a vampire romance novel set in Victorian England, and it certainly has its moments of intrigue and excitement. The story follows Poppy, a newly-turned vampire who is learning to navigate her way through her new life, with the help of Roisin, a mysterious woman who has lived for centuries. The world-building is well-done, and the characters are fleshed out enough to make them interesting and believable. The crew is great and I love their stories just as much as I love Poppy and Roisin's.
However, I found the explicit scenes to be a bit too much, which is just a personal preference, and some of the plot points felt a bit forced, especially that of Cane and Brood. Additionally, I think we should have had more time with Poppy and Roisin together-- not apart.
This story may not be for everyone; if you enjoy this genre, you will find it to be an entertaining read.
3.5 stars, rounded up for the complexities of the characters.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing an e-ARC of this novel!
What happens when you find yourself turned into a vampire suddenly and now are living with a woman who has just told you that you are the collateral damage between her and her ex lover who just happens to be psychotic? Poppy has lived a life of pleasure, just getting by in London, but when a night with a new client leads to her being turned into a vampire, suddenly she is thrust into something she never expected. Now Poppy finds herself living with Roisin, a mysterious woman who has lived for centuries and is helping Poppy adjust to being a vampire... but the more time they spend together the more Poppy begins to fall for Roisin. But Roisin has her own dark secrets, secrets that could destroy them both, but both of them are caught between yearning and angst, between wanting and denying themselves. Poppy wants nothing more than to be with Roisin but Roisin is the ex lover of Cane, the very same vampire that killed Poppy and whom Roisin is determined to kill. Cane is an ancient vampire who is obsessed with Roisin, killing girls just to get her attention, and killing anyone who even gets close to Roisin after Roisin left her. Roisin is determined to hunt her down, but that means keeping Poppy safe and far away and denying the romantic feelings growing between them. Years grow, but the romance between them is eternal, can they kill Cane before she kills everyone or was their romance doomed from the beginning? This was such a fantastic and romantic read, its got vampires, its got sapphic romance and lgbtq representation, and its got yearning and angst and everything you could ask for. It features iconic vampires and honestly, this was the perfect read for fans of Carmen or vampire romances, seriously this was absolutely delightful and I devoured it in a day!
A Long Time Dead is an exciting and captivating read that takes the reader into a fascinating world of vampires. The story is detailed, and the characters feel very well-rounded and engaging, making it hard to put down. At times, I found myself completely absorbed, losing track of time.
The relationship between Poppy and Roisin is beautifully portrayed. It isn't just the main characters that feel fully fleshed out either. I would love to get a full back story for Carmen, Valentine, and maybe even Cane. Overall, A Long Time Dead is an excellent book that will satisfy fans of the vampire genre and anyone who loves a thrilling, well-crafted story. Highly recommended!
Thank you to NetGalley and Samara Breger for the opportunity to read this amazing book!!
What a beautiful, poetic story! Everything about this book was just gorgeous. The cover and title initially drew me in, and the author did such a lovely job of creating this story.
Poppy, a prostitute, wakes to find she's been turned into a vampire and is being cared for by Roisin (who I embarrassingly pronounced like Royson for like 85% of the book). They become friends, learn about each other, read books, and fall in love, but Roison's past holds her back.
This book has queer representation, strong characters, found family, and 2 main characters who love each other across time and distance. I think my only complaint is the amount of time we spend with Poppy and Roison apart. I would have been even more invested in their love story if we had been able to see them together more on the page.
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for the arc of this book. All opinions are given freely and are my own.
A very funny and entertaining vampire story with a gothic flavour. There's a lot of humour, a well plotted story, fleshed out characters.
Many thanks to the publisher for this arc, all opinions are mine
I had a lot of fun reading this book! It had me hooked on the very first page. I knew I would love it based on the fact that its a vampire gothic romance. I was surprised at how funny it was. Poppy's sense of humor was truly a delight. I loved all the character's but Poppy was the highlight for me throughout this book.
I was really, really pleasantly surprised by this novel! A Long Time Dead completely subverted my expectations on what the vampire genre “should” be, and I had SUCH a fun time with this book.
Poppy, in particular, was the shining star and the type of protagonist that I want to see more often. She was bright and she was fun and she was entirely herself, and her optimism even despite being a vampire just made me so giddy. This is my formal request to the publishing industry to publish more books with characters like Poppy!
I think the character growth in general was also something I greatly enjoyed. Watching Roisin open up little by little while also revealing her, frankly, upsetting past really made me root for her character. I also thought she and Poppy had chemistry from their very first scene together — something that has been missing from many of my recent reads.
Overall, this is a GEM of a novel and I can’t wait until it’s out in the world for everyone to enjoy. Do yourself a favor and pick it up!
We start somewhere foggy in 1837 when Poppy wakes up and doesn’t realize what has happened to her yet. Soon Roisin comes into her live and try’s to tell her she is no longer alive but poppy just doesn’t understand at first She soon learns she been bite by a women Vampire and now she’s one.
I could tell from the start I was going to enjoy this story the characters were interesting and had really interesting lives before becoming vampires. This was not your typical Vampire story it has F/F Gothic Victorian romance, vampires, blood, traveling, sex, horror and blood. What Poppy and Roisin will do to keep their love together. I would recommend this. I also have to mention this books cover I love the crackle art work on poppy’s body.
A heart that doesn’t beat can still break
Thank You @netgalley and @yesjbreg for letting me read this
This book is like if you take an Anne Rice vampire novel, keep the horror parts, but then make it cozy, queer-affirming, and optimistic. It does a stellar job of keeping the feel of an old gothic novel but for a modern audience. It's full of long, lush description, metaphorical prose, and other sensory imagery. I'm not generally predisposed to this style of writing, which did contribute to the beginning of the book feeling slow and occasional descriptions sounding too over-the-top for my taste. But I'm very glad these things didn't push me away from the book. The pace of the plot picks up speed as the book goes on, until you're rushing to the end, turning pages frantically because you need to know what happens to the characters you've come to love. That's where this book shines the most. Poppy, our main protagonist, is an absolute delight, and her interactions with the others are by turns funny, poignant, frustrating, and beautiful. The many kinds of love and relationships shown throughout are all treated as worthy, gorgeous things. A perfect depiction of what a found family can and should be. I loved all the characters, whether prickly, charming, or otherwise, and rooted for them all. The villain, who twisted the love we see displayed by all the others into sometime evil is the perfect opposition to what Poppy, Carmen, and Roisin each have tried to build for themselves and those they treasure. A Long Time Dead is a stellar example of what a horror romance can be.
this book was beautiful and entertaining. Hilarious and yet oh so serious.
The characters provided immense comedic relief while the plot happened which is something I enjoy a lot! the book was a great mix of sweet and stress inducing, and quite possibly one of my favorite sapphic reads of the year!
When Poppy Cavendish wakes up to find herself a vampire, her only companion is the mysterious Roisin for the first year of her immortal life. But when Roisin sets off on a mission to resolve her past, Poppy is sent off to live with the Brood, a queer little found family of vampires that endeavour to introduce her to the finer parts of vampirism. Still, over decades of operas and orgies and new experiences, Poppy yearns for the elusive Roisin.
I went into this book with high expectations of found family and thank goodness it delivered--it has been a while since I’ve adored a found family as much as the Brood, or even since I’ve enjoyed a book so much!
We follow along Poppy as she navigates her new immortal life all whilst pining for Roisin, and considering the book spans over decades, you can imagine the pining and the angsting.
But despite Poppy and Roisin’s aching slow burn that had me putting my kindle down several times to squeal into my hands, I have to admit that I loved Poppy’s relationships with the Brood and other friends the most. Her banter with Valentin, her love for her past human friends, her relationship with Carmen, were all so beautiful. Not to say that Poppy and Roisin weren’t good either, though! In my opinion, they were really perfect for one another but a good found family will always steal the show.
I will say that I wished the first part of the book had more of a balance between Poppy navigating her vampirism AND her and Roisin becoming closer, because it felt like we blew through the ‘getting to know each other’ process, as well as wished the final confrontation of the book had a bit more to it. However, the rest of the book was enjoyable and it really does pick up once Poppy meets the Brood (my only other problem would have to be that I wanted more of them! Particularly Zahrah and Karol, and Massimo and Valentin).
Overall, however, I do think I personally enjoyed the book a lot so that contributes to my high rating of it, despite my aforementioned ‘problems’ (really, when it comes down to it I just wanted more of the book in general). A good read with angsty pining lesbians, queer found family, general steamy vampire-ness, and an endearing main character!
Entertaining, lovely, interesting. I loved the main character and her bluntness, as well as her moral code and her perspective on things.
Thank you NetGalley and Bywater Books for providing me this wonderful eARC in exchange for my honest review.
Although it was the beautiful cover that initially caught my attention, the potential of a gothic sapphic vampire romance was also immensely intriguing. A Long Time Dead has a unique love story between the exuberant Poppy Cavendish and the long-suffering Roisin, a fascinating cast of secondary characters and the repellent-perhaps slightly one-dimensional-antagonist named Cane.
A Long Time Dead touches upon abusive relationships, depression and self destruction. It is also offset by lovely friendships, tender and humorous moments and a romance that contends with struggle, but does not relinquish hope. Some of the more tawdry moments do feel as though they are a bit drawn out, but that may simply be due to my own personal preferences.
Nevertheless, A Long Time Dead is an engrossing novel and one that I would recommend for those interested in a dark romance.
What a surprisingly humorous and touching gothic story! Delving into this book was an experience that will linger with me. It is a book that lovers of gothic romance must not miss!
"A Long Time Dead" by Samara Breger narrates the thrilling journey of Poppy, who undergoes a transformation into a vampire and subsequently becomes dependent on the guardianship of a reticent and enigmatic woman named Roisin. And while Poppy acquires the ability to restrain her craving for human blood and acquaints herself with the advantages and disadvantages of being a vampire, Roisin harbors a strong resolve to seek retribution against a murderous vampire named Cane.
This novel is a masterfully crafted piece of writing. The skillful use of descriptive language by Breger is apparent from the opening page and continues to amaze throughout the book. The Victorian characters and settings come to life vividly—immersing me in their world. The dynamic between the characters is captivating right from the start, and the intricate world building brings pure delight to my experience as a reader.
However, what truly impresses me and serves as the greatest asset of this novel is the author's wit and comedic flair, which I don’t typically find in gothic romance literature. In addition to the vibrant characters, I wholeheartedly admire Breger's ability to infuse humor into the narrative. There are numerous lines throughout the book that I absolutely adore, and one of my personal favorites is: “It is my curse to be burdened with the company of Catholics.”
Truly, I am pleasantly taken aback by the path this gothic fiction has taken. I had not anticipated experiencing numerous moments of laughter—nor did I expect it to evoke heartwarming emotions in such diverse ways. Instead of simply encountering a "glamorous orgy," I discovered a sense of belonging—a familial bond among a rich array of characters—amongst vampires.
Overall, “A Long Time Dead” is a riveting gothic romance that will keep you hooked until the very end. While there are certain sections of the story that I find a tad long-winded (a few chapters are excessively verbose for my taste), the humor and the character dynamic eclipse such moments. Breger has created a truly memorable and decidedly heartwarming story that will certainly appeal to fans of gothic fiction, romance, and paranormal alike.
When Poppy is transformed into a vampire, she finds herself navigating the prospect of immortality with the help of Roisin, the austere vampire helping her adapt to this second life. The two eventually fall in love, and they’re forced to reckon with Roisin’s mysterious past and her quest for revenge against the woman that sired her.
This book felt like a fun homage to some of my favorite gothic tropes. The characters and relationships are interesting and funny. I really enjoyed the Brood's dynamic. The romance between Poppy and Roisin is simple yet beautiful. The story has a great balance of darkness and levity. Unfortunately, moments in the beginning felt rushed while the rest of the story felt slow at times. I don’t usually mind a slower paced story as many gothics tend to be, but it felt as if the pacing was a little off. There could be a case to be made about the theme of immortality and the meandering nature of time, but there were times when it just didn’t feel as engaging to read. But this also made the experience cozier because I got to spend more time with characters that I love!
I would recommend A Long Time Dead to readers interested in a gothic, beautifully hopeful sapphic romance. Thank you to Bywater Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Thank you to netgalley for providing me an arc for this book and putting this on my radar. If I wasn’t randomly scrolling and said “oohh pretty cover” I would have never known about this book and i’m so glad I do. (But like, THAT. COVER. stunning.)
The most gorgeous and lush yet dark and gritty prose and setting I’ve read in so so long. Vivid scenes that I could see so clearly. Slow paced but in a way that works so well with the gothic atmosphere. A book that had me taking so many notes so fast trying to get my thoughts down I literally crashed my kindle. The overwhelmingly british/irish/french wit and banter between characters had me actually laughing out loud with them. And then the most heartbreaking scenes that made me feel so deeply for the pain that these women had to experence.
First we have Poppy. The london prostitute who struggles to read and is inherently clumsy yet is so full of life and rebellion and revels in her sense of self. Who knows her flaws and doesn’t let them define her. That takes no shit from anyone and will say it to your face. Who can adapt to just about anything that is thrown her way.
Then her lover Roslin. A lonely melancholic vampire who has lived in her own pain for so long she barely remembers the life she once lived. Who doesn’t know how to want for more than just revenge against the one who wronged her time and time again. Who’s afraid of a life that could mean so much more but also desperately wants to love and be loved without fear.
Seeing the love between Poppy and Rosin slowly bloom was so beautiful. Watching them slowly learn how to take down their walls and open up to each other in order to heal themselves and love one another was wonderful. I could truly feel the love between these two and I couldn’t have asked for more.
The characters we meet along the way were so charming and endearing. Carmen was my favorite as she really does keep the house of quirky vampires together and in check. We only learn a bit about her past but she was so lovely- at least most of the time. Even then it was easy to understand where she was coming from as she’s such a complex character. Honestly all of these characters are so complex and so unique in the best ways which makes their personalities shine all the more. Seeing Valentin’s friendship with Poppy bloom was so heartwarming. The little lines we got from Massimo were so funny and cute. Zahrah and Karol’s relationship was so tragic yet beautiful. And Sarah deserves only the best in the world.
Honestly one of the best books i’ve read this year. It in some ways reminded me of a Dowry of Blood which is also one of my all time favorites. Sapphic vampires are all I need in life. Thank you so much to Samara Breger for writing such a beautiful book. You can bet your ass i’m buying this book physically when it comes out. It deserves a spot on my shelves for years to come.
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for the eARC of this book! This is my honest review.
I enjoyed this story. I thought Samara Breger brought a new light to the vampire tale with Poppy and Roisin. The beginning of this book started off slowly and had some areas where I wish we spent more time, but overall I found it enjoyable. I thought the end was fitting and very sweet and I enjoyed the queer representation.
A queer Victorian vamp gothic romance story- what else can you ask for?!
Poppy wakes to find herself changed. She beings as a bit of an immature and unpredictable woman, but her transformation throughout this novel is incredible. I loved her developer and watching her come into her true self.
This novel has it all, lesbian romance written in a realistic and authentic way. Queer found family; misfits who love orgies. Pirates, witches, operas you name it!
My overall rating is 4 stars, the first half of the book is a 5 star read and I did feel it lost its footing a touch in the last 1/3, however it ended very well.
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Bywater Books for the opportunity to enjoy this e-ARC! My review is voluntary and 100% genuine to my experience.
Pub Date: 5/16/23
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Bywater Books for the free copy in exchange for an honest review!
YA'LL! 😳 This book. I will be thinking about this book for a while! It has put me at a loss for words, so I’ll do my best to make coherent sentences on why this book is so amazing. However, these are the singular words that blast through my mind in the spiky speech bubbles are: SAPPHIC! VAMPIRES! SPICY! YEARNING! GOTHIC! HEARTFUL! DEVASTATING! FUNNY! HAUNTING! AHHHH!
This book a the GORGEOUS cover has a gothic vibe with queer vampires in Victorian United Kingdom. We follow Poppy, who, despite being recently undead, is a vivacious, hopeful, and sultry former sex worker, and Roisin, a strait-laced, suppressed, kind martyr who has secrets that she keeps close to the vest, as they are changed, both physically and emotionally, as Roisin teaches Poppy how to be a proper vampire. The fact that the first thing Poppy is upset about when she hears that she’s been turned into a vampire is that she never gets to eat regular food again makes her incredibly endearing and, honestly, super relatable. The relationship that blossoms between Poppy and Roisin is one for the ages; it starts with a fizzle, plateaus with seemingly endless years of desperate yearning, and ends with a bang (pun mostly intended). Cruelly, they are haunted by a dangerous being who will stop at nothing to keep them apart.
In an effort to keep Poppy safe (and, in Roisin’s mind, happy), Roisin leaves her under the protection of The Brood, a gaggle of vampiric queers (and select humans) in London that become the most wholesome found family (the most wholesome and best found family I’ve read since The House in the Cerulean Sea), while Roisin goes after the monster ruining their happiness.
There are the classic vampire archetypes, such as no sunlight, drinking of blood, immortality, special physical abilities, some special powers, and quick healing; however, the characters bring light and laughter amongst the darkness, horror, and loneliness. They’re also able to maintain tattoos despite their quick healing, which is interesting.
A Long Time Dead is the spicy love child of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue and House of Hunger who was adopted and raised by The House in the Cerulean Sea.
This is my favorite book of the year so far, and I’m so glad to have gotten the chance to get an advanced copy via NetGalley!
This was so fun and there was a lot going on but absolutely loved it. I don't really read much of vampires but I did enjoy this as the exception. The romance captured my heart.
A Long Time Dead is the most tantalizing, lushest, dreamiest sapphic gothic novel of my absolute dreams and I need the queer Dracula enjoyers and anyone who liked A Dowry of Blood to hold onto their hats and give a round of applause for Samara Breger. What a lyrical book, plushly soft and unforgivingly hard all at once. I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about this one, and I don’t want to anyway.
As a (young) teen who was fully immersed in the world of Anne Rice vampires, this is wholly and fully what I as a fully formed adult want out of a vampire novel. Sapphic vampires! Actually everyone is queer! Trans and gender nonconforming characters! Victorian vampires! Great spice! Several many great spice scenes! Gorgeous, immersive writing that had me thinking about this book during so many moments I could not physically be reading it!
Poppy is great, someone full of sass and love and not so much the trope she could have been in less skilled hands, and it's fun and heartbreaking to follow her on her journey of rebirth into her difficult romance with Roisin, a tortured sort of soul who despite the need for honest love and acceptance cannot easily accept it herself. Every "side" character is someone I wanted to learn more about, and although we didn't get too much of some of them, really, there wasn't too much space for it as the story progressed either, so it's not a negative thing here.
This was good, Thank you to Samara Breger, to NetGalley for approving my request, and to Bywater Books.
Now, to go order a physical copy to keep forever!
This book was a dark, slow burn, angsty novel with some sexy scenes. The biggest problem with this book was the pacing, the first half was extremely slow and the last half, much too quick. The main conflict just seemed built up too much to then be rushed through. I think the plot was fairly interesting though.
For when you're vibing with... Victorian vampires, good ol' sapphic love triangle drama, romance over decades, and a shock of humor that's practically whimsical.
Twenty-year-old Poppy is a sex worker in Victorian England when she wakes up to the discovery that she's been transformed into a vampire. Shepherding through her new existence is Roisin, an older, cooler vampire--whose complex relationship with her predatory sire is the reason why Poppy was turned in the first place. Despite her attempts to remain remote, Roisin is drawn to headstrong, wild Poppy--but their simmering attraction to each other could spell their doom.
I just loved this book. It's not a take on Carmilla--it's its own thing, equal parts romantic and tragic and funny.
--I am very much a sucker for "uptight meets wild" romances. The person with the biggest stick up their ass gets bowled over by a whirlwind of an individual? You can't go wrong with it. Poppy is a true whirling dervish of a heroine, funny and irreverent and seductive and both a bit childish and quite emotionally wise. Roisin has--by nature and through awful experience--become this removed, distant creature who's lost touch with her humanity in an effort to keep from robbing others of their own. I wouldn't say Poppy saves her, because their relationship is quite layered and the book makes a point of both of them having to do personal work... But Poppy does make her want to live again, and their interplay is hilarious and sexy and extremely touching.
--This book... is quite angsty. These are vampires, after all. Roisin in particular is defined by guilt and shame and a desperate wish to go back in time and right her (perceived) wrongs. But there's a lady of the Gothic and shadows across the entire story. What keeps it from being maudlin and depressing, aside from the passion between Poppy and Roisin (make no mistake, this is a true romance) is the humor. The voice of the novel is comedic, Poppy is a riot, you get a lot of "but why" over the various quirks and oddities of vampirism. One particularly pointed question had me laughing within the first chapter or two, and that doesn't happen to me easily.
--I was kind of skeptical as to how potent the romance would be compared to the vampire's story. I saw this compared to Interview with the Vampire a lot, and while that's an interesting vampire story with a romantic throughline (more so... later) it's not a romance by any means. Here, the vampirism isn't skipped over or downplayed, but nor is the love story. Roisin wants Poppy, Poppy wants Roisin, but there are very serious issues that keep them apart... to a point. Don't worry, not for too long; there's a bit of a slow burn, but it's not sloooow, it's compelling, and the payoff isn't too late in the story at all. Plus, the issues between them? Are serious ones, and there isn't a single character in this book that makes the right call every single time. They're vampires! They're messy!
--The queer found family among these vampires... Obviously, queerness is an inherent part of the vampire mythos, but often we see it danced around, not referred to explicitly. It is explicit in this novel, in terms of actions and words. Poppy is also a sex worker when she becomes a vampire, and she actually like.... enjoys sex, and doesn't hate her work. There is trans rep in a strong supporting character (and a refreshingly frank scene in which that character's sexuality is discussed). Poppy is not expected to sit there and wait for Roisin to make it happen; she has sex with someone who isn't her one true love before they get together. I really liked that. I'm so tired of characters--heroines especially--just sitting there and letting cobwebs collect while they wait for their one true love to get their shit together and make it happen. Plus, the sex scene is used to illustrate Poppy's love for and obsession with Roisin in a really interesting (hot) way.
The Sex Stuff:
Segueing from that... the sex is really good in this one. Here's the thing--the sex scenes are poetic, and they could've been more explicit, but they really didn't need to be. And you get everything. There's some praise kink stuff, there's some domming, there's a very very good strap-on scene. And what I liked most was the way these characters acted during sex. You may have an idea of roles and what they like... but the way a person lives their everyday life doesn't necessarily reflect their preferences in the bedrooms and that's illustrated so well here.
I enjoyed this vampire romance so much. You really get this sense of the Victorian era, while at the same time time luxuriating in a very classical sort of vampirism--and all through it, you're rooting for Poppy and Roisin to just get their shit together and work it out. So glad I read it.
Thanks to Netgalley and Samara Breger for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
this book hits the ground running from page one and doesn’t let up. i’m always down for some gothic WLW vampires, and this one has shot to the top of the favorites list for me i absolutely loved it
from the incredibly well fleshed out characters to the lines that made me laugh out loud to the PINING i absolutely devoured this book. poppy is such a fun main character, and i love the little glimpses into roisin’s pov we get. the brood is the new pinnacle of found family for me, i loved them.
to be honest there wasn’t much about this book i didn’t like, so if you’re into queer vampire stories that are heartbreaking and cathartic and a little bit smutty that will make you cry a lot then i say absolutely give this one a go. HIGHLY recommend.
My actual rating is 4.5
I loved this book. It was fun, heartbreaking, and very beautifully written from beginning to end, with characters that felt very real even if it's about Victorian vampires.
Poppy, the protagonist, is funny and confident and a bit annoying but in the best way. She's a sex worker in Victorian London when she's turned into a vampire and meets Roisin, an older vampire who takes her in and helps her not only through the painful experience of transformation but also how to become a vampire and have self-control. They become the annoying/annoyed pair that I love so much and as they fall in love they understand that not everything will be so easy and they will have to fight to protect what they have and those they love.
I would say that, even if it's a bit obvious, beware of the amount of blood mentioned if that bothers you.
The found family in this book comes in the form of 5 vampires queer from all over the world that live in a big mansion together and they were so so lovely. They love and care for each other a lot and the way they welcome Poppy so seamlessly into their little family is the most heartwarming thing I've read in a while. Every character in the book is complex and deep, and they feel so real, they are nothing like most of the lighthearted paranormal romances I've read so far. I don't want to spoil anything but Cane, our villain, was terrifying if I'm completely honest, everything she does is so cruel and painful that I felt like I was in the book feeling everything as well.
As a Spanish speaker as soon as I read Carmen say "pobrecita" I was really excited, and I'm pleasantly surprised that I found only 1 mistake when she says "evidentamente" when it should be "evidentemente". Specially since Carmen was one of my favorite characters, I loved how she was described and her story touched my heart.
I hope you enjoy this book and its amazing characters as much as I did.
"If we die and we go somewhere after. If we find one another in that up or a beyond or anywhere else, I want to have a body that's changed for you being beside it".
Sit down and drink the rabbit’s blood the cute lady who nursed you to health offered.
A Long Time Dead is a gothic vampire romance we’ve all been waiting for. With queer characters, found family, and healing from past trauma Breger explores these themes with immortals and how living for centuries can affect their perspective of life.
In Breger’s rich prose, Poppy’s humor and yearning make her an interesting main character to follow. Often I found myself snorting at a well-placed joke and embarrassed on her behalf as Roisin and her stumble with these new feelings for each other.
Each character has depth and faults to their action and is not afraid to call others out on their bullshit. Each character has their own motivation so it doesn’t feel like Poppy is dragging a bunch of paper dolls behind her plot-wise.
The villain makes their impact not in dialogue and action but in the impression of themself they leave behind on the people they affected and their wit to outsmart the couple.
There is love in the exploration of vampire lore. It also tackles questions I often wonder about religion and the immortality of vampirism. Making nods to the classic Dracula in a way that is refreshing.
The pacing is extremely well done especially towards the beginning of the book while Poppy and Roisin navigate through the emotions they feel for each other and the struggle of a newly born vampire. Months and years can pass but it is not stilted or awkward. While I do find the action sequences a little jarring as it reads like watching a movie.
Overall Breger made me love the main couple and the Coven and root for their success.
A Long Time Dead by Samara Breger is alike to a new retelling of Interview with A Vampire. There are so many similarities, the tone the appeal and I think the era. The characters are quite loveable and memorable, and the banter is some of my favorite. The writing is quite good in which it made me immerse myself in the reading. Definitely recommend this book, also the cover is gorgeous.
Thanks to Bywater Books and NetGalley for the ARC!
When Poppy Cavendish, a young, cheerful sex worker finds herself turned into a vampire, she has no idea of the wonders that the world has in store: a found family of people from all walks of life, a love to last a lifetime, and a hunter who will stop at nothing to end Poppy's happiness. This book is an enthralling romance that explores a new take on the vampire mythos, with all the gore, beauty, and reflection on mortality that entails.
This book was very nearly a 5-star read; it's so, so dear to my heart, after only a couple of days spent with it, that I'm sure I'll acquire a paperback once it's officially out. Every character was delightful, but Poppy- fittingly - takes the cake. Her wit and optimism light up the page every time she's on it. However, she's far from the only wonderful character - Valentin and Massimo have their own tragic and beautiful story, Carmen was enchantingly written, and the representation in general sets this book apart. The only gripe I had was that the plot, involving Cane and the Brood, was lopsided and somewhat clumsily executed, and I didn't like how many timeskips there were. The romance lacked the particular spark of exhilaration that I looked for, but it was still very sweet. Where this book really shines, in my opinion, is its depiction of the Brood, and I wish they had come into the story earlier. Watching Poppy integrate into this motley found family is genuinely one of the sweetest things I've read in recent memory.
Breger shines so bright in her complex characters, and their dynamics to each other, that it is easy to forgive any other flaws. The pacing was off, but acceptably so, because every moment we spend in Poppy's perspective is its own kind of fun. The descriptions were well-realized but never overblown. The adventures the characters go on are, while exciting, never the main point of the book, and rightly so. The best moments of the book come from the antics that Poppy and the Brood get up to, and Roisin plays the role of the straight-man admirably (though sometimes I felt underwhelmed by her as a love interest.)
This book is like a home-made cake: lumpy, uneven, and otherwise imperfect, but made with so much love and care that you can't help but savor it. An excellent sophomore novel from a promising author.
Thank you for the arc of this upcoming book! This was a rich and vivid story. The characters were great, each felt written with justice. Overall, this had everything i generally look for. The vibes are immaculate and the cover superb.
Thank you to Bywater Books and NetGalley for allowing me to read this advanced copy!
Gothic is not really my style, but I devoured this book, and look forward to rereading it next month. Poppy was such a vivid character, and Roisin truly believable in how compelled Poppy was by her. A Long Time Dead is richly atmospheric and I was at the edge of my seat as the story built to include new characters and dangers, with sharp punctuations of humor and delight.
Cane haunts the book, as a specter and cruel force manipulating puppetstrings of pain. Her abuse, met by the love that is found in this book of all sorts of relationships, both feel real and compelling.
I requested this one because it might be an upcoming title I would like to review on my Youtube Channel. However, after reading the first several chapters I have determined that this book does not suit my tastes. So I decided to DNF this one.
I don't read a lot of romance but throw in the words 'vampires', 'gothic' and 'Victorian' and I'm in. This opulent story takes place across many centuries. It had so many tropes that I love...found family, revenge, and queer romance. The setting was perfection. There was a cottage in the woods, a gothic castle, and a Victorian mansion. The brood was such a fun and colorful group. I adored Valentin and the banter between him and Poppy. All of the characters were complex and written in a way that had me attached to them from the beginning. Poppy was such a happy, carefree, and open-minded person. Through all of her character development and transition, it was nice that she remained herself but just a better version. I recommend this book if you love gothic romance.
NetGalley ARC Educator 550974
A slow burning romance. Full of decadence, found and made family, love, desire and fighting for those you love. You're pulled in immediately by Poppy and Roisen. The minor characters bring joy, fun and light heartedness. It can be read in one sitting. The love scenes are erotic and sensual. I can see this becoming a cult classic film and book.
Gay vampires, found family, a slowburn gothic romance, lots of pining, a happy ending. Seriously, what more could you ask for?
I am a very persnickety reader but this is one of the few books I've read this year where I don't have any complaints at all. I loved Poppy and Roisin's relationship, I loved the mutual pining, and I loved the dear friends that Poppy makes along the way (especially Valentin!).
I honestly adored this book from start to finish but things go from good to great about 25% in, when Poppy joins The Brood, a coven of queer vampires that just REEK of found family vibes. They all become extremely close and unabashedly attached to one another and it was a very refreshing change of pace from other gothic novels that really double down on the whole "alone and miserable" schtick.
This is also one of the few novels I've read where I think it ended absolutely perfectly. No unnecessary deaths, no loose ends, nothing that I wished had happened but didn't. There were lots of points in this book where I thought "ooh, I hope ___ happens!" -- and lo and behold, it always did. It was seriously amazing, like Breger was reading my mind. I loved it.
I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What a sumptuous, lush story. The plot is a slow burn, but the anthropology and character driven details of what its like to be a vampire across decades sucked me in hard. Roisin and Poppy were great characters, who kept developing over the length of the story even through the final pages. Despite being fantastical, these two felt full-blooded (ha) and brought to life (ha, again) every room and scene they were in. I sometimes have a hard time visualizing period romances, but the settings felt lived in, gorgeous and decadent.
A particular highlight for me as a trans woman was the full cast. Delightfully and broadly queer, the Brood especially were specific and memorable despite there being quite a few rotating in and out. I especially loved Carmen, a powerful but closed off trans woman who seemed like she had plenty of care put into her characterization.
More Anne Rice than twighlight, I cannot wait to recommend this to my friends and fellow readers once it comes out. And I cannot wait for more from Samara Breger as well!
I enjoyed this book. The characters were well developed and the plot was well paced. I would recommend this to others and I looked forward to reading other books by this author.
I enjoyed this but more than I thought I would (I obviously thought I was going to enjoy it to some degree I just didn’t think I would enjoy this much as I really did). When I started this book I fell in love with the writing style and just the attitude of the main character. I don’t think I’ve ever really read a book like this before and it was a nice surprise. There were some things in it that weren’t to my taste but I don’t think that they should be a reason why anyone wouldn’t pick it up. But the things that weren’t to my taste didn’t bother me too much but that’s the only reason it’s not a five star. I really recommend this book.
I haven't read anything historical in a hot minute, and I haven't read any vampire stories recently either, so A Long Time Dead hit both those categories! It was both dark and gothic as well as steamy and romantic, and while I liked the darker parts of the story better (what can I say, I love violence in my fiction) the relationship between Poppy and Roisin over the years of their vampirehood together was compelling. One thing I really loved was the fact that Roisin was more masculine/butch and wore men's clothes all the time, because I don't see characters like her (like me!) often and I want more. I liked the side characters well enough, though I do wish some of them had been developed a little bit more. The villain was fun, and a completely terrible person which I appreciate in a time where morally grey antagonists are fairly common, so I didn't have to do a lot of thinking about whether or not I liked her. Overall this was a solid read, one which I enjoyed and I would definitely recommend it to any fans of gay people or vampires or both!
CW’s (as provided by author Samara Breger): Blood, gore, on page sex, violence, horror elements, referenced previous emotional abuse, PTSD.
At its heart, A Long Time Dead is a novel about the many forms of love (Storge. Philia. Philautia. Xenia. Eros. Agape.) and the way that love has the tremendous ability to change even that which seems immutable.
The narrative, accompanied by rich prose and decadent worldbuilding, employs many elements characteristic of classic Gothic literature and openly acknowledges (and celebrates) the queer undercurrents of vampire mythos. At times the atmosphere oscillates between sensual and unsettling, often allowing these realms to mingle. The Bacchic/Dionysian nature of vampires merely alluded to in many of the older novels is more prominently on display here, explored in tantalizing (and occasionally haunting) detail. Perhaps the most salient example of this is the way in which arousal and vampiric hunger often interlace in this novel, giving greater dimension to what it means for a vampire to be consumed by bloodlust.
The chemistry between protagonist Poppy and love interest Roisin is immediate and intoxicating. Their desire is palpable, and I found myself pining and yearning for their coupling alongside them. Their sapphic, slow-simmering angst pays off deliciously, and the relationship they cultivate throughout the novel is beautiful.
The characters who surround Poppy and Roisin (namely The Brood) are each uniquely endearing, fully-realized individuals, and together they construct such a wholesome, charming, and diverse queer found family. If given the opportunity, I would absolutely read a novel/novella exploring the backstories of members of The Brood more thoroughly, or even a story centered on the formation of The Brood itself.
A Long Time Dead is the lush, queer love letter to vampires that I was unaware I was waiting for but I am so thrilled to have found. This novel is among my favorites of this year, and perhaps one of my favorite novels more generally (I really love vampires, haha).
Samara Breger’s stunning A LONG TIME DEAD (Bywater Books, 412 pp., paperback, $23.95) recalls a vintage wine miraculously salvaged from a shipwreck. It’s also the best Sapphic vampire book since Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 classic, “Carmilla.”
The Victorian sex worker Poppy Cavendish wakes in a cobwebbed manor to find herself a creature out of a nightmare: Her only companion, Roisin, is a traumatized, stern vampire who has firm rules about drinking from humans (never) and sleeping with Poppy (also never, she protests a little too vehemently). Poppy misses drinking ale, she misses her human friends, she misses sex — and, slowly, she learns the reasons behind what Roisin has done, and what kind of monsters really come out at night.
I had to keep putting down “A Long Time Dead” to yell about how sublime and funny it was, to dwell on the way the sleekly poetic style melted down into brutal abstraction when Poppy’s bloodlust took over.
Roisin’s anguish is the reversed image of Bennett’s: “What vital 21-year-old immortal would tie herself to the bony ghost woman that time forgot?” Vampire bodies might not decay, but time still sinks in its teeth; vampire memories here are moth-riddled, undependable things. Time makes immortals parasites upon the human world, dependents and exiles both.
Absolutely breathtaking historical Sapphic vampire tale with incredible background characters! The dialogue between our main pair is so cheeky and refreshing, and their journey towards each other may not be smooth, but it is worth every step!
The way this book is written is absolutely insane and it sucks you in, in the best way (ha, unintentional vampire joke). there’s something about the way this book blends the historical feel and slang for a modern audience that is so very delectable.
But the thing that sets this book apart and absolutely steals the show is it’s characters. every single character in this book adds something so valuable and you cannot help but love them all. especially sarah, she came in and absolutely stole the show for me. like yes i was enamoured by poppy and roisin, but god if sarah isn’t one of those side characters you just have to love. poppy is an absolute delight and being able to read this book through her POV was definitely the best choice for the author.
The book loses half a star for me because i think the ending was a bit weak and felt slightly rushed (to the point where i thought there was going to be a second book which finishes off the story). the rest of the plot/story is solid and is well-paced but it is rather weak in certain places. but i am definitely a person who enjoys strong characters so please do take my review with a pinch of salt.
So yes, this truly is a wonderful vampire book that you should really sink your teeth into ( i am so sorry i will stop now).
Enjoyable, great pacing, exciting settings kept me hooked. Fun novel that will be the perfect to lose yourself in. Thank you Net Galley for ARC in exchange for my honest opinion
A poignant story about sapphic vampires who slowly learn to live again. I loved it, particularly the dynamic of the Brood, as well as how much work and healing Poppy and Roisin did together to get their HEA.
A sumptuous, dryly humorous, ultimately romantic sapphic vampire story moreso in the vein of Anne Rice than a lot of other similar books in its oeuvre — which may not jive with every reader, either, but proved to be exactly what I needed when I picked it up for a bit of pleasure reading ahead of this month. It's more slowly paced, but also really plays into how quickly the passage of time can be when you're immortal and some of your dear friends are still human. It's also just a great book about <i>women</i> in all their forms and exploring all of their idiosyncrasies and complexities, within the backdrop of a decades-spanning love story.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Topics such as the blossoming of a friendship into love are discussed ,the suffering of loss and the obsession with the one we love, the transformation and the struggle of a new "life". A slow-paced story, more character driven than plot (I do prefer plot) It. If you enjoy gothic vibes, vampires and some erotic vibes (it was a bit much for my taste), I really recommend it.
I am always on the hunt for new vampire literature to sink my teeth into (pun intended) so I was excited to come across A Long Time Dead. Queer vampires are one of my favorite basis for a story. This was a fun and lovely read, it felt gothic while also being more feminist than traditional literature. Poppy is such fun to follow, her foul language and aloof approach to life is refreshing in a sometimes stodgy genre for historical romance. All the characters came to life on the page, and the found family element was so well established and their relationships had meaning and weight. Absolutely will be recommending this!
05/30/2023 || Review for A Long Time Dead by Samara Brenger thanks to NetGalley || #ALongTimeDead #NetGalley #sapphic #sapphicromance #vampire #vampireromance #gothic #gothicromance
Rating: 5 Stars
Queer Historical Vampire Romance
A Long Time Dead ended up being such a treat to read, I am very grateful to have been able to follow the story alongside Poppy Cavendish and Roisin in foggy, 1800's London. The friends found and made along the way became as much like my own family as they became Poppy's family.
This ARC is so easily a 5 star read for me. Its a tad slow burn at the start, but it immediately picks up and takes you for a ride! It has love, it has spice, it has heartbreak, it has sorrows, but most of all it has a happy ever after ending for the queers!!!
I had very little complaint about the entirety of the story. My only issue truly being with the very end- the end battle with the big bad guy just felt too.....sudden and too fast paced.
It could have been just me- getting super excited I started to read fast, but it just felt too sudden.
Also I wanted more.
I wanted more of Roisin's POV, I wanted more of the family life with the Brood, I wanted more of their queer joy. I enjoyed at the end of each part to get a bit of a peak into Roisin's POV/adventures or other side (but still very important) characters. But again- I ended the book wanting to stay with them all so much longer and read more of their stories.
I cried out with joy, with pain, with heartbreak, and with so much love in my heart for this story. I truly loved A Long Time Dead so much and I am so overjoyed that its out in the wild now for others to enjoy!!
Vampires. Friends. Lovers. In a time when love was not accepted for Poppy and Roisin, they fought the odds to be together and found a community of their own. But as secrets began to surface their lives were upended.
I found many of the characters endearing in their own ways, but truly enjoyed getting to know Poppy and Roisin. The action and thrill of their vampire lives was entertaining. The physical exploration and tensions were intriguing. Overall, more than just a vampire novel with a gorgeous cover! It was a story about love and loss and finding your true happiness!
Thank you NetGalley, Bywater Books, and author Samara Breger for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
I’m a simple person, you tell me sapphic vampires and found family and I’m gonna have to read it.
In a story told over the span of several decades, we learn who Poppy and Roisin are both together and apart. Poppy is young and is learning how to be a vampire and what it means for her. Roisin has been alive for centuries and holds dark secrets close to her chest.
We get to watch how their relationship grows over the years but also how their relationships are with their friends from the Brood, a group of all queer vampires.
I had such a fun time reading this, it was so easy to breeze through.
*Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an arc in exchange for a honest review.*
I loved this. The characters, the plot, the family and the joy in the bad times. I just wish we had seen some more of the villain, or deeper backstory of her. I liked the ending but slightly wish it went in a different direction as it felt a tad rushed. It was a great journey to read though, and I'd gladly read more about the side characters.
I received this novel as an Advanced Readers Copy. My review and opinions are voluntary.
A Long Time Dead by Samara Breger is a vampire novel bringing fresh blood to the genre. I have been a long time fan of Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, and a few more due to my obsession with horror and vampires. Breger, however, focuses more on the intricate lives of her vampires from how broods work, vampire vs vampire enemies, and the intimacy between the creatures of the night. I would quote the book, but I would be quoting the whole novel - every sentence was a masterpiece of literature.
The story takes place in the 1800s and it follows the main characters for thirty years. We get to know them intimately and they are easily lovable. We have Poppy, Roisin, Valentin, Massimo, Carmen, Karol, Zahrah and the eldest and most cruel vampire, Cane. We also meet Sarah and Poppy's long time friend, Lizzy. The novel does have a slow pace and is very reminiscent of Anne Rice's Vampire chronicles in that way. These lives are not meant to be rushed.
Genre - 5/5 This is definitely a fantastic, gothic, sexy vampire horror/romance. Now, this horror isn't necessarily a scary read. It is more ominous and atmospheric. It feels more like a deep expose into vampiric lives and their romances (and spicy, open door, smut)
Characters - 4.5/5
I loved every character, however, I wish Poppy was a bit kinder to Roisin, she acted much in the way of a petulant child sometimes, which I get - she is a new vampire. Yet, some of her treatment was cruel. This being said, I agreed with Poppy about Roisin in some aspects. Roisin is immediately a favorite and her guilt over being a vampire because of Cane is heartbreaking. My ALL time favorite characters are Valentin and Carmen, though. Sarah and Lizzy are lovable and are worth small mentions.
Plot/Theme - 5/5 The plot and theme for this novel is powerful. We have LGBTQ+ representation, strong bonds and equally as strong hate between vampires and Cane. The trigger warnings are abuse ( across the board), torture, PTSD, and violence. It is not safe for work and features strong language and sexually explicit content. Also, it is a slow burn romance. Spice level 4/5
Pacing - 4/5 I loved how Samara Breger took her time, letting us understand the complications and the relationships of the vampires in her world. One issue I felt was it could be a bit faster in some areas as they can be a bit too slow. For some readers, the 412 pages can feel like 600. The fight scene and conclusion to the centuries old bad blood between Roisin and Cane felt rush in comparison to the decades leading up to it. I would have loved the fight and the struggle to have lasted a bit more to match the pacing and the intensity/tension Breger carefully created. It would have been 5/5 if the decades before the fight was a tad faster, the fight was drawn out, or had more to it right before the actual fight (i.e. torture, kidnapping, bargaining/captive situation, etc which does happen earlier in the novel).
Prose - 5/5 Samara Breger's writing is beautiful, devastating, captivating, and phenomenal. Her ability to describe and set up relationships and atmosphere is impressive to say the least.
Overall - 4.7/5 rounded up to 5/5
A Long Time Dead is a golden standard for vampire novels for me right next to the mother and father of vampires, Bram and Anne. Thank-you Samara Breger for carrying the torch for all of us vampire enthusiasts. Surely, a novel I will be re-reading and thirsting for a sequel.
‘A Long Time Dead’ is a sapphic vampire epic. I don’t think I’ve read anything like this in a long time, it’s very much in the vein of a gothic romance from the 80s/90s but with a fresher modern take. At times it felt slow but it seemed fitting for the actual story and characters. I had a great time reading this, it read like a historical soap opera. And the female characters, especially our main characters Roisin and Poppy, are fantastic. A great read, I look forward to more work from Samara Breger.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bywater Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I was very lucky to get an ARC and this is my honest review. What can I say about this incredible sapphic vampire book other than I love you Samara Breger will you marry me? LOL. I've been a fan since reading Walk Between Worlds and I am so happy that she wrote another book. Please keep writing Samara!!
The best word to describe this book is beautiful. I fell head over heels in love with the writing as the lyrical prose made this world come alive. We are thrown into the book as Poppy wakes up from being turned into a vampire. The slow paced year that it takes her to settle into her new existence is filled with exquisite detail. Roisin is her not-too-reluctant teacher into this world as their relationship blossoms. The subtle humor that is seen throughout is magical and every single character is fleshed out with large personalities that forces you to love them all. There is pining that will break your heart. There are happy and sad reunions throughout. There are revelations and discoveries that will have you gasping. There is found family that will always have your back. This is not a high adventure book but one you slowly absorb into yourself. I cannot say enough good things about it and it is the best sapphic book I've read this year.
This book is wonderful! A gorgeous Gothic vampire romance with totally fantastic, unforgettable characters, and a lovely touch of humour. I am totally in love with Poppy, the potty-mouthed former prostitute. Five stars are not enough for this beautiful book.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing the ARC!
Let me start off by saying, I loved this so much I ran to buy a physical copy on the day it was published. This has instantly become one of my favorite reads of all time.
Victorian era: ✔️
Gothic vibes: ✔️
Slow burning romance: ✔️
I would give this 1000 stars if I could. Don't think about reading this, read it. NOW.
Gorgeous writing, a spunky main character, and a found family that rises to the occasion every time. Poppy is a sex worker in Victorian London who is relatively happy with her lot in life. She finds pride in being good at what she does and goes out of her way to help her friends. One night, she encounters a new client who is stunningly beautiful and willing to pay well. Next time she wakes up Poppy is in a house she doesn't recognize, tended by a woman she doesn't know, with a thirst she can't satiate. The woman introduces herself as Roisin. Roisin spends time taking care of Poppy and introducing her to her new life as a vampire. Poppy finds herself very drawn to Roisin, who is very guarded and reticent to share things about herself. They spend a lot of time together and watching their relationship develop was very touching. Of course, things must always go awry. The looming presence of a woman capable of destroying everything in her path changes the direction of the story. We follow Poppy as she joins the Brood, a group of vampires who become her family. I loved the Brood and seeing how everyone interacts with each other, but I especially loved Carmen, the de facto leader of the group, and Valentin, who is very sassy but hides a heart of gold. The story does meander a bit in the middle, but that really worked for me as we really get to know the characters and really hone in on Poppy's growth from 20 year old new vampire with hope and stars in her eyes to an always 20 year old vampire but with 15 and 20 more years weighing on her. Really getting to sit with Poppy and see her life, her hopes, her tragedies really leans into the gothic atmosphere that's being cultivated. The love story is also very beautiful and watching Roisin have to deal with and work through her trauma that she has stuffed deep inside for centuries was both heartbreaking and threaded with hope. For me, this book really works as a deep character study but also as a framework to really discuss the varying forms of love that people encounter in their lifetime. This story is hauntingly beautiful, yes, but there are moments that are very funny, thrilling, creepy, upsetting. I think this would be a wonderful book for a book club to really have a discussion about. It really leaves the reader sitting and thinking.
First, thank you to NetGalley, the publisher By Waterbooks, and the author for granting me an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
This was everything I could have wanted in a vampire novel. The writing is captivating and builds such great relationships between all the characters and the readers relationship to them. The book is not only gothic and funny, but also thoroughly rooted in the complexities of emotions and finding your true family. This is book does not disappoint and by the last page, I was holding onto each word, not quite ready to let go of this story.
A Long Time Dead is a terrific gothic vampire romance that captures your attention from the first page and doesn't let go.. Even though it is a little slower paced, that feels deliberate, as it is is used as a world building tool to create a melancholic atmospheric feeling for the story that adds a sense of tension and gloom to the book. I highly recommend this book to those who like darker victorian romances.