Synopsis

Darkness blooms in bestselling author Kalynn Bayron’s new contemporary fantasy about a girl with a unique and deadly power.

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.

When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.

When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.

From the bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead comes another inspiring and deeply compelling story about a young woman with the power to conquer the dark forces descending around her. 

Review

4,5 stars

“Whenever you hear a story about villainous women, you should ask who’s telling the story. Medea’s tale has been told and retold a dozen times, but always by men who seem to revel in her heinous actions without addressing what caused it. Sometimes her story is used to showcase women as crazy, unpredictable, or vindictive.”

I don’t know why I waited so long to read that book! It took a book club read to decide me and I was really pleasantly surprised with what I found!

What’s the poison heart about?

It’s about Briseis, an adopted teenager who had always been able to grow plants in a single touch discovering her past and her heritage.

Raised by two mothers in New York, Briseis has always had to hide her mysterious “gift”. She feels very lonely, not fitting anywhere, and always needing to repress something that feels inherently “her”.

“Quiet plants might perk up around me, but they didn’t uproot themselves or destroy a fence to get close to me. They didn’t turn obscene shades of their natural colors when I was around.”

When she learns that she has inherited an estate from an unknown aunt, Bri and her mothers set to discover that venue, trying to see if it could be their salvation from financial problems.

That also means new beginnings for Bri, with people who never had to witness the strange behavior of plants whenever Bri is close by! And the estate is so vast, in the middle of woods and vegetation that she immediately feels that she can finally let lose!

The house is more like a mansion with an apothecary, walled garden filled with the deadliest plants that Bri alone seems immune to! All this gave a spooky and mysterious atmosphere to the story, enhanced by the arrival of strangers on their doorstep.

What will follow is a story that was part fantasy, part coming of age, part mythology and part mystery all mashed together! It shouldn’t have worked and yet it did splendidly!

I really loved the character growth of Briseis! How she was learning about her past and her power. Kalynn Bayron wrote it like a treasure hunt with clues left here and there for Bri to decipher and go to the next step on her journey. The hunt for the keys and truth, all her discoveries were my favorite part of the book. I loved how the intrigue progressed!

The atmosphere was amazing! A little bit gothic and a little bit spooky, helped by a cast of adult side characters that had something unsettling about them. I was trying to guess who was a villain all along!


And the whole backstory of how the power came to be and the imagining of the “heart” (no telling more as I don’t want to spoil anything) was very intriguing, keeping me engrossed all along!

Something we discussed in the book club meet was Briseis trust. She will meet some people that she will trust right away and that won’t maybe be the smartest choice but we all could see that she craved acceptance. I think she was so happy to have people accepting her, ready to befriend her that she didn’t question things.


Another strong point in that story is the cast of badass women! You could see it as an ode to feminism and that truly was inspiring!

I already know that I will read the sequel very soon!

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

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10 Comments

  1. I just love gothic atmospheric books especially this time of year right? Sounds like such an impactful read for you. It sounds like something modern age feminists would enjoy.

    Lovely review as always Sophie!