This book is an erotic novel, and features content that is not suitable for readers under the age of 18.
If you are not 18 or older, please do not continue to read this review and do not purchase the book.
This review also contain spoilers for A Lesson In Thorns, Feast of Sparks and general spoilers for Harvest of Sighs.
☾ about the book
Title: Harvest of Sighs
Author: Sierra Simone
Series: Thornchapel Quartet
Prequel: Feast of Sparks
Sequel: Door of Bruises
Format: ebook, novel
Smut Rating: 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
Trigger Warnings: suicide by poison (prologue), mention of sexual violence/rape
☾ the synopsis
The genius and the sunshine girl. As children, we fought bitterly and often, bickering every chance we got.
But then we grew up.
Then we came back.
Delphine Dansey carries her heart on the outside of her body; she’s looking for love and chasing dreams. She’s spoiled and selfish, the kind of beautiful that’s made for money and fame. But somehow she’s ended up in my keeping: a pretty submissive I can’t seem to resist, a lover who obsesses and tempts me.
I thought I’d locked my heart away a long time ago, along with all my other weaknesses. But some doors won’t stay closed, no matter how hard I fight to keep them shut. She unravels me, just like our friends are unraveling, just like Thornchapel itself is unraveling.
All year long, we’ve been sowing lust and jealousy and pain, heedless of the consequences. But a harvest is inevitable, and so now we must reap our sorrows.
And our sighs.
☾ the characters
Poe is getting ready to bury her mother, and because her father had promised her, Thornchapel’s secrets are finally laid bare – and there are many of them.
Auden is still hunting and yearning for St. Sebastian, but he has to learn that in order for him to not turn into his father, he has to be strong: No more rituals at Lammas or Samhain or elsewhen, so that the chapel’s mysterious door stays closed and nobody has to die like Estamond Guest and Poe’s mother did before and also no more St. Sebastian – because they are brothers, and there’s nothing right about bedding your brother (right?).
Becket finds himself yearning for Poe, and then he makes a mistake that will cost him his livelihood.
St. Sebastian got what he wanted: No more Auden, but he is struggling with his decision, because even looking at Auden hurts these days. But brothers can live together and love the same woman, right?
Rebecca struggles with her family: Her father revealed that he is in love with Poe’s father, and offered her mom a divorce, and now her mother is struggling with the social suicide that comes with a divorce from lack of love. As Rebecca tries to balance her work, her parents and Delphine, she finds that she is terribly neglecting the latter.
So Deliphine, in her hurt desperation, finds comfort in another woman.
Slowly, Thornchapel is tearing them all apart.
☾ the world building
The book is set at Thornchapel, a massive and mysterious mansion with huge grounds that house a chapel as well.
Most of the book is about discovering Thornchapel’s secret, which has to do with old paganic rituals.
All the characters in the book are childhood friends who come together under mysterious but not unplanned circumstances to finish what their parents had started.
☾ what i liked about this book
There is something comforting in the frustration I felt while reading about how the characters’ relationships to each other were developing, and for once, while I still came for the smut, I found myself more focused on the world-building – on Thornchapel.
Sierra Simone has a way of writing these books so that you feel as if you were part of the group of friends, of their revels and rituals, and as if you are right there as they discover their desires, secrets and truths about Thornchapel.
It’s as if Thornchapel was an actual manor that had actual magic – magic that is reachging for you and pulling you through your own door right to the chapel.
Once again, the smut and the yearning in this book top what we got in Feast of Sparks, and once again, those scenes and emotions just want you to stay up all night so you can finish reading the book and scream said frustration into a pillow.
☾ what i disliked about this book
Once again, I am here to talk about how frustrating St. Sebastian is to read about. And again, it’s not as if I don’t understand where he’s coming from, because his emotions and worries are valid and show that he definitely has a strong moral compass, but as someone who has been absolutely enamored with Auden and has really begun shipping Auden, St. Sebastian and Poe, I found myself wishing that he would have just disregarded his moral compass and give into his desires – because I, and I don’t care if this is a very morally questionable statement (I know it is, though) could not care less about the fact that St. Sebastian is Auden’s half-brother, because Auden is right: They didn’t know, and they were always in love anyway.
In addition to that, Estamond Guest bed her brother and even had a babe with him, and the groups parents engaged in polyamory, which turned into a whole mess. Sometimes, society’s rules don’t count behind closed doors.
So yeah, while there might be comfort in frustration (and denial, as Becket so rightly points out), frustration is nothing but frustration, and this book makes you feel a lot of that.
☾ should you read this book?
Thornchapel already owns me, so there is no turning back from this now, especially when I am so close to finding out how this will all end.
If you’re not practiced in denial and handling your own frustration, Harvest of Sighs might be a roller coaster you should skip while you have the chance, and that’s okay, too. – What I am trying to say is that this book is (so far) the most frustrating book in the quartet, and just like its prequels, it definitely isn’t for everyone.
And yet, the unfurling secrets, the smut and the yearning are immaculate as ever.
So if you like roller coasters, buckle up.