Friday, April 29, 2011

Review of The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

poisonI have to say I’m not sure how I feel about this one.  I liked the beginning: Jessamine keeps a diary of her lonely life with her father in a remote cottage in Northumberland.  Her father, Thomas Luxton, isn’t a doctor, or a butcher (what he calls surgeons), but when people are sick, they send for him  He is called an apothecary, but he considers himself a gardener, nevermind that many of the plants he grows are poisonous.  In fact, he has a special walled garden that’s kept locked, which is full of all varieties of poisonous plants.  Jessamine’s life changes when the local owner of an insane asylum drops off a strange, orphaned teenaged boy who’s accused of curing the inmates of their madness.  It’s hard to believe that in that time period (late 18th century?) Jessamine’s father would have left her alone in the cottage for days at a time with a boy her own age, but it’s more believable when you realize later in the story that he has nefarious plans for them.  Thomas Luxton would give anything to learn ancient secrets of healing plants that have been lost through the ages, and it appears that the foundling boy, Weed, somehow has that knowledge.  The story gets pretty wild, but it’s certainly suspenseful.  I would have to call this a fantasy since the plants talk to weed, and Prince Oleander, the Prince of Poison, is masterminding it all.  Review by Stacy Church