25 August 2010

The Poison Diaries

by Maryrose Wood
Based on a concept by the Duchess of Northumberland

Harper Collins Publishers. History, Mystery, Crime, Fantasy, Romance. Paperback rrp $19.99

Reviewed by Barbara Brown
Jessamine Luxton’s father, Thomas, is an apothecary in 18th century England. He is renowned throughout the area, so famous that the local Duke of Alnwick Castle has given him Hulne Abbey to live rent free so long as he tends the locals with their ailments. But Thomas Luxton couldn’t save his own wife and when the time comes he will not be able to save Jessamine.

Thomas agrees to employ Weed, an orphan boy who was working in a mental institution until his ‘special tea’ interfered with business by appearing to cure patients. Weed seems to know a lot more about the healing powers of plants than Thomas does. Could Weed assist Thomas with his desire to know all about the good and evil of plants? But Weed is a strange lad who doesn’t speak and likes to stay underground and in the dark.

With Jessamine’s help and patience, Weed changes and opens his heart and mind. Soon a love develops between the two and that is when the plants from the poisonous garden Thomas Luxton has locked away, begin to wield their magic.

Jessamine is betrothed to Weed but on her engagement night she becomes ill and Thomas and Weed have no idea how to save her. Weed is drawn to the poisonous garden and sets on a quest to save his beloved.

Weed has a special knowledge of plants and seems to be able to talk to them – or do they talk to him? What would it be like to be able to talk to the plants and flowers? The Poison Diaries is a tale of mystery, intrigue and magic with a plot that takes Weed, Jessamine and Thomas on a journey into their own hidden agendas. A wonderful story that will make you look at nature differently.


The Duchess of Northumberland lives in the real Alnwick Castle (also used as the set for Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter movies) and tends her own garden including the Poison Garden. You can view both the castle and the garden at these web sites http://www.alnwickcastle.com/ and http://www.alnwickgarden.com/.

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