Title: The Poison Diaries (Poison Diaries #1)
Author: Maryrose Wood (based on a concept from the Duchess of Northumberland)
Genre: YA/Historical fantasy
Date Read: 21/05/2016
This is the first book in a long time that I’ve had the chance to sit and read all in one hit, and that was wonderful. There were times when I wasn’t sure that I was liking it exactly, and I’m still not entirely sure it would have got published if not for its aristocratic connections, but I actually ended up really enjoying it in the end.
Jessamine Luxton lives with her father, Thomas, in an old monastery in Northumberland. Her father is an apothecary, obsessed with learning the secrets of the monks who lived there centuries before and whose library full of the secrets of powerful plants were destroyed. When a young man called Weed is sent to live with them, he and Jessamine fall in love, but when Jessamine falls ill, Weed has to use a unique connection he has with plant life, and face the horrors of Thomas Luxton’s poison garden, but will it be enough to save her?
I will be honest, there were times when I thought Jessamine more than a bit insipid and useless. However, given how controlling her father was (he wouldn’t even let her go into town for fear she’d be tricked into revealing his secrets), it made a lot of sense. Weed was a bit annoying at first, but he grew into his own. The romance was not insta-love, but that didn’t stop some of the language getting a little cringe-worthily over the top at times.
The fantasy aspects were a bit strange, and hard to describe without giving too much away. Basically, Weed’s connection to plants is supernatural, and on top of that, we also meet the personification of Oleander, the Princes of Poisons. I actually quite liked him as a character (he reminded me a bit of Morpheus from Splintered, but a bit more detached). I don’t want to give too much a way, but the main villain of the piece was also quite chilling in his determination.
While there is a somewhat abrupt change in POV at page 200 from first person Jessamine to first person Weed, after a while I got used to this. It was really the only way the story could move forward, with Jessamine confined to her sickbed. The climax was quite gripping and had me turning the pages quickly. And it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger! Rather, the events of this book are resolved, though there is still story left to tell. I’m definitely keen to read the second.
P.S. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for one of two signed paperbacks of A More Complicated Fairytale.