Author: Maryrose Wood with the duchess of Northumberland
Series: The Poison Diaries #1
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy/Historical
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 . . .
Positive Content: Jessamine is a kind girl who takes a liking to Weed, even though he may be dangerous or half-witted. She also loves her father. Weed grows to love Jessamine as well; and would do anything for her. I mean, anything, including…
Negative Content: …Killing someone to save her life. We never find out whether he killed a lamb or a person. When Jessamine falls ill, Weed goes to the Poisons in the garden for help. The Prince of Poisons, Oleander, puts him through several trials in order to make him heartless before he will give him the potion; these include watching a hawk kill a newborn lamb, killing a weasel, and – perhaps – killing a human. Weed and Jessamine share a few kisses; while passionate, they aren’t explicit. Under the influence of a drug, Jessamine and Weed make love; though that is not ‘shown’ either. Her father shows up right afterward and is displeased (Jessamine and Weed get engaged very soon after). One of the characters poisons people so he can learn the antidotes.
Summary: This book looked very intriguing; with its beautiful cover and interesting premise. I wasn’t entirely disappointed, either – the book had a ‘romantic-gothic’ feel to it that I like; and the idea of it was very clever. However, it wasn’t entirely great – the writing was just so-so, and it isn’t for younger readers. I’ll be reading the sequel when it comes out, though.
3 out of 5 stars