Last week I reviewed The Poison Diaries, the first in a trilogy by Maryrose Wood (with the duchess of Northumberland). Within days of finishing that book, I had already finished the second. Now I'm stuck waiting (impatiently) for the conclusion.
This post contains no spoilers but assumes you've read either the first book or my review of the first book. For the setup of the story see my earlier post.
The Poison Diaries: Nightshade picks up where the first book ends. Jessamine Luxton is caught in the middle. Whom can she trust? The mysterious boy who goes by the name of Weed or her father, whom she's always loved and cared for?
When Weed unexpectedly disappears, Jessamine turns to her father's poison garden for answers. What she learns causes her to do the unthinkable and ultimately forces her to run away. Meanwhile, Weed is on his own journey of escape and discovery. Their separate adventures put them in contact with the dregs of society, the helpless, the rich and powerful, and the learned. At each encounter they must make hard decisions about how to survive and how much of their real selves they should reveal to strangers.
Wood's historical details about medicine, plants, witchcraft, and the politics of late-18th-century England and Europe form the background for the intertwined stories of the two teenagers. Jessamine and Weed each has a complicated interest in the fine line between poisoning and healing, and each has a compelling need to learn more. The power of the plants themselves adds a creepy, magical element that increases the tension and drives the story.
I love the Gothic atmosphere of this series, and the level of spooky is just perfect for a cold winter's night. The alternating points of view work well, and kept me guessing as to when, if, and where Jessamine and Weed would see each other again. I have my suspicions of what's to come in the final book of the trilogy, and I can't wait to see if I'm right.
I am Jessamine Luxton. Poison ran in my veins before I was born.As I mentioned last week, this young adult series is recommended for those who like Gothic tales, historical fiction, a touch of magic, and medicinal plants. Topics for book club discussion include loyalty, trust, responsibility, how far one would go to stay alive, and how easy it is to cross the divide between good and evil.
I know how to cure. And I know how to kill.
I have tried for so long to be good, but there is no need to fight my destiny anymore. (p. 37)
Don't miss Maryrose Woods's very cool Poison Diaries interactive website (click on "The Poison Diaries" in the right sidebar). The following video does include a minor spoiler, but in it the duchess of Northumberland explains the origin of the story.
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