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Love on Fire? (A Review of Sunniva Dee’s “In The Absence of You”)

Absence cover

Title: In The Absence of You

Author: Sunniva Dee

Genre: Contemporary Romance


Emil isn’t your usual adoring leading man.
He’s the monster anti-hero.
Aishe isn’t your classic protagonist.
She’s the temptress anti-heroine.
This isn’t your typical romance.
It’s a horror anti-love story.

This isn’t the traditional novel where the sweet, innocent girl finds her prince charming and they live happily-ever-after. If that’s what you’re looking for, look somewhere else.

Because in this story, no one gets out unscathed.

Aishe is running. Running from the burn of a love she knows will consume her.
Running from a soul mate she’s never even met.
If only she hadn’t been hired as a merch girl for the hottest indie band on earth.
If only she’d never laid eyes on its front man, Emil—intense, sexy, and so unlike the men of her culture.
If only she hadn’t fallen onto his lips, then into his bed.
If only her flame hadn’t exploded into a full-on forest fire.
If only Emil’s heart didn’t belong to someone else.


Emil is running. Running from a broken heart.
Running from who he was with her.
If only Zoe hadn’t left.
If only Aishe hadn’t been right there.
If only she hadn’t been so damn gorgeous—insistent—different.
If only he could control himself around her.
If. Only.

About the Author

Sunniva Dee (1) Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent most of her adult life in a college environment. Her novels are new adult fiction geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging brain and heart while reading.

Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground. Southern Europe: Spain, Italy, Greece–Argentina: Buenos Aires, in particular. The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in California, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.

Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it’s contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon’s Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, Dodging Trains, and In The Absence of You. By subscribing to her newsletter, you can also receive the new adult short story, Karma’s Mistake, for free:

This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.

Stay in contact with Sunniva:


My Review

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve read quite a few of Sunniva Dee’s books. Each one has left me emotionally drained, but this one… This one upped the notch so much. After reading In The Absence of You I’m not only drained. I ache. My heart hurts beyond measure.

Imagine feeling so strong for someone that even when they’re gone you can’t function. I’m not talking about just a broken heart. I’m talking an intensity so deep that your mind shatters, taking all rationality with it.

OMG… Emil… Emil. That man did me in. Literally. So broken. There was so much despair with this character I nearly stopped reading, not because I didn’t like it. On the contrary, I wanted to take a breather. Let my heart restart. Pull my emotions out of the gutter and let them reknit themselves into a semblance of what I had before this book.

Dee crafted a different type of female with Aishe. Her strength wasn’t as obvious. I’ve heard tales of women who were doormats for men, but Aishe wasn’t your typical doormat. She believed it was her destiny to function in such a capacity. Her depth of caring was phenomenal, yet tragic. I couldn’t imagine allowing myself to be used by another and believing it was okay because it was by my soul mate. That’s some twisted logic.

The depth of emotion in Dee’s In The Absence of You is nearly overwhelming. I finished this book in less than 48 hours. I don’t recommend reading it that quickly. It’s a story that you need to let linger for your heart’s sake. Maybe take three or four days to spend with these characters and their twisted world.

If there’s really such a thing as love fire, I don’t know. But in Dee’s world, Aishe was a match and Emil was the gasoline. Don’t get it twisted. This is NOT your typical love story. It’s a tale about obsession and beliefs and mental anguish. It’s freaking awesome.

Warning: For mature readers 18+.

Rating: 5-hands-up5-hands-up5-hands-up5-hands-up5-hands-up (5 Hands=Excellent, 4 Hands=Pretty Good, 3 Hands=Good)


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