Stunning, magical, and other-worldly, Nightshade envelopes readers in its deadly atmosphere. I was immediately swept away and captivated by the character of Jessamine and the premise of the novel. Master storyteller Maryrose Wood weaves a believable tale of a boy who can communicate with all flora--plants, trees, and even weeds--his name is Weed, in fact. He studies with a noted plant expert in Northumberland during the reign of George II. The teacher has a few dark secrets: his passion is poisons and dark plants; in fact, he has even tested poisons on his own lovely wife and unborn child some years ago. He keeps a secret, evil, poison garden behind a locked gate.
His daughter Jessamine follows in his footsteps, learning all about plants that cure and plants that kill. She falls in love with Weed (Book One, The Poison Diaries), who has run away from her in this installment. She longs for him and begs her father to tell her where he has gone.
Jessamine learns to hate her father, and once she realizes he is the one responsible for her mother's death, she wants revenge. She says:
"I am Jessamine Luxton. Poison ran in my veins before I was born.
I know how to cure. And I know how to kill. I have tried for so long
to be good, buth there is no need to fight my destiny anymore.
I am my father's daughter, after all."
Once her evil deed is done, Jessamine must flee Northumberland. She takes passage on a stagecoach, trying to put as many miles between her and her crime. When some fellow passengers call her a witch, she must flee again. She learns to use her knowledge of poisons to make a living. Some people will pay handsomely for a poison to kill a spouse or business partner. As Jessamine slips into a life of crime, her mind is addled by opium. She still dreams of Weed and yearns for his touch. Another man is haunting her thoughts and overtaking her dreams; Oleander is the master puppeteer and encourages Jessmine to choose the dark side.
Recommended by: Pamela Thompson, Library Media Specialist, Texas, USA
Visit Pamela’s ya novels blog at http://booksbypamelathompson.blogspot.com/