Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: "The Poison Diaries" by Maryrose Wood and The Dutchess of Northumberland

The Scoop: (Goodreads)

In the right dose, everything is a poison. Even love . . .
Jessamine Luxton has lived all her sixteen years in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle, with little company apart from the plants in her garden. Her father, Thomas, a feared and respected apothecary, has taught her much about the incredible powers of plants: that even the most innocent-looking weed can cure — or kill.
When Jessamine begins to fall in love with a mysterious boy who claims to communicate with plants, she is drawn into the dangerous world of the poison garden in a way she never could have imagined . . .

My Take:

The Poison Diaries is an entrancing, quick read that is one part fable, one part fairy tale (sans fairies) and one part love story.

Jessamine's father, Thomas, (as you read in the blurb) is an apothecary. He maintains several different gardens, including: one to feed himself and his daughter (veggies),one for medicinal purposes (herbs) and also one for research (the Poison Garden). Initially, we are not allowed to peek into the mysterious "Poison Garden" because Thomas forbids his daughter to enter for fear of her safety.

The beginning narrative of The Poison Diaries mirrors the glimpses of nature we are allowed to see. The tone is light and breezy while we are surrounded by chamomile, lavender and daises. Into this springtime bliss enters Weed (your typical Love Interest: handsome, glowing eyes, mysterious, thoughtful, weird name, enamoured of heroine....). Does it spoil the story for you to say Jessamine and Weed fall in love? Didn't think so.
Ahhhhhhh, ain't love grand?!
In the latter half of The Poison Diaries, we get to enter the Poison Garden (finally) and here's where things take a dark turn. Again, mirroring the background garden against which this part of the story is set, the tone is dark, sinister, cruel and deadly once we are surrounded by belladonna, foxglove and oleander.
Arrrrgghhhhh! Love stinks!!

The Poison Diaries addresses the nature (pun intended) of life, love, death and deception in a masterful way. The only drawback might be that the ending is not wrapped with a bow. I would like to say that, "neither is real life" and think that is the reason it left off the way it did. However, the truth is: the ending is a good old-fashioned cliff-hanger to keep you coming back for the sequel being released this October.

Well, then it worked Ms. Wood and Duchess, I can't wait to see what you have on store for Jessamine, Weed and Co. next.

Final Verdict:

It is cooked with the same five ingredients every time, but always comes out tasty!


  1. Hi Steph,

    Great blog!

    Thanks for following me at Storybook Love Affair, I am also following you too.


  2. This one sounds really good. The cover is stunning!

  3. Love the book cover!!! I would pick this up at the store without even knowing what it was about :P



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