Briseis has always had a way with plants. They bloom when she’s happy and wilt when she’s sad. Trees reach towards her as she goes by. It’s always been difficult for her, hiding this secret. When she suddenly learns that her birth mother has bequeathed her a house, she sees an opportunity to help her mothers and find out more about her legacy.

I loved the idea behind This Poison Heart, and for the most part I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has gothic vibes and a main character in love with botany.

Fortunately Briseis’ adoptive mothers run a florist, so her skills are useful at least. They are struggling with finances at the start of the book, so the mysterious house comes at just the right time. I love this trope so much, I don’t even care how unlikely a situation it is. Maybe I just dream of being giving a big old country house one day…

The ending let it down so much for me. I should have been paying attention to all the names from Greek mythology a bit more, I thought they were just big fans, but it suddenly took a turn, threw lots of information at me and then announced a quest! The end. It seemed so rushed and too much going on at the same time.

I know this is fantasy, so I do let it off somewhat, but I felt it exaggerated the potency of the real world plants a little. Yes, water hemlock is lethal if eaten, but you can walk through a patch of it without feeling faint. We have it growing nearby, and there are signs warning you about it, but only because a dog ate some and sadly died. So all the signs warn dog owners. They don’t tell humans not to go near it.

Even the humble nettle was elevated into a plant to be scared of. Yes it’s annoying if you get nettle rash, but it’s not really painful. So it has the feeling that the author has read up on toxic plants, but not had a lot of personal experience. Yes there are plants that can kill you, but generally it’s by eating them or smothering your skin in their juices.

The sequel, This Wicked Fate, is due next year, and I’m in two minds about reading it. Maybe it will resolve the issues I had with that ending.

20 Books of Summer #14

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