Published by Bloomsbury YA UK on June 29, 2021
Genres: Diversity, Fantasy, LGBT, Own Voices, Young Adult
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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.
What a fun and unique read! This Poison Heart features a blend of plant loving, Greek mythology and a haunting tale to find one’s own mysterious heritage. I thought Briseis was such a fun main character, particularly with her powers of growing and understanding plants (like Poison Ivy). Although this isolates her from other people, she has a strong bond with her two mothers which was lovely to see.
Although they start off in New York, the bulk of the novel happens when they move to a rural town in New York where she has inherited an estate from her birth mother. Cue all the haunting instances with mysterious strangers showing up on the doorstep, skeleton keys that open up doors, and an intriguing apocathery and accompanying garden with deadly plants. I loved discovering all the secrets that the manor had to offer, and how it was tied to Brisei’s own ancestors and heritage. There is certainly a thread of magical realism within the book, and the setting is haunting, vivid and evocative which I loved.
As you may have guessed, there is some wonderful LGBT representation here, along with some commentary of Briseis and her family being one of the only Black families in the rural town they end up in. It was nice to see a main character with two mothers, along with being bisexual herself which is commented on in the novel.
This Poison Heart is an atmospheric read featuring two of my favourite things: plants and Greek mythology! I thought it was a really fun and unique read with wonderful representation, and lots of twists and turns and an intriguing mystery to uncover.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a review copy!
This Poison Heart is available from Australian bookstores for RRP$16.99 or from The Book Depository.
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