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Gr 7 Up–Readers will be intrigued by both the romance and complex moral questions in this fantasy set in late-18th-century England. Jessamine, 16, lives with her apothecary father, Thomas Luxton, in the remote countryside near Alnwick Castle. As she keeps house and tends to the gardens, there is one place she is forbidden to go: only her father enters the locked apothecary garden where he nurtures poisonous plants collected from all over the world. Their pastoral existence is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of Weed, a straggly teenage orphan who has an inexplicable knowledge of the medicinal uses of plants. As romance blossoms between Jessamine and Weed, she discovers that he is able to communicate with all growing things. Luxton begins to crave Weed's know-how and allows him into the apothecary garden, where the teen is made physically ill by the overwhelmingly evil personalities of the poisonous blooms. What begins that day propels the three characters into a tangled web of passion, betrayal, and the supernatural influence of the Prince of Poison. The novel explores the nature of good and evil and the consequences of choices whatever their intentions. As Luxton's explanation foreshadows, a plant that can kill used in one way can heal used in another. Told mostly in Jessamine's voice, the story has a compelling sense of urgency and mystery even as climactic events become too melodramatic. The book is based on a concept by the current Duchess of Northumberland who created the real Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle.–Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MIα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Jessamine is skilled at growing plants, but her apothecary father won't allow her into his locked garden of poisonous specimens for fear that she will come to harm. Then Weed, an orphan with a mysterious gift with plants, is left with the family, and things take a strange turn at the peaceful cottage. This intriguing fantasy has many tendrils to wrap around teen hearts: there is the budding romance between Jessamine and Weed, a grave illness that threatens Jessamine's life, Weed's supernatural skills, a series of chilling folklore-worthy tests of Weed's love, and encounters with Oleander, a figure who enters Jessamine's fevered dreams and implores her to abandon Weed and join him in death. The haunting ending will leave readers wanting to talk about the themes of cruelty, honesty, and loyalty. The setting is the area near Alnwick Castle in England, the real home of the Duchess of Northumberland, who has established her very own Poison Garden, and where (savvy fans may know) the scenes at Hogwarts were filmed in the Harry Potter movie series. Grades 8-11. --Cindy Dobrez --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
This could have been an interesting story had the voice not been so insufferably dull.
It was the biggest issue I had with the book. Read more
One of my students recommended that I read this book. She's picked a great read. Very pleased with this book.Published 22 months ago by WhoShoes
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.
Quick & Dirty: This was an intriguing dark tale about love, and the mysterious properties of plants and poison. Read more
This was a good read, but slow in building to any meaningful "action" sequences. It was mostly a high school "drama" written from that emotional level. Read morePublished on March 20, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Overall, this was a pretty good book! Their were moments that I really enjoyed but their were some moments that I did not really like. Read morePublished on February 26, 2012 by sarah@catchingbooks
Okay, as a girl in her teens, who kinda likes books similar to this, I bought it. What a waste of my time. Okay, don't get me wrong, it was ... cute? Read morePublished on February 3, 2012 by RatingReviews
This was definitely a novel that I'm so glad I ended up reading. Usually, I'm not a big fan of Victorian era novels and maybe it's because I prefer the reality of our time rather... Read morePublished on January 5, 2012 by MaryAnn
I had a lot of high hopes for this fascinating story about a lonely Northumberland girl and her apothecary father. The premise and the cover are both beautiful. So is the writing. Read morePublished on January 5, 2012 by D. Thorne
Poison Diaries starts off as mostly the musings of a lonely young woman named Jessamine. Her father is a healer who uses medicinal plants. Read morePublished on December 19, 2011 by Vulture