Rebecca’s Pick: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Okay, I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for a beautiful book cover!
Briseis, who we quickly learn is adopted, lives with her moms in Brooklyn. They own a flower shop, which is convenient as Bri has a proclivity for plants….
Alright, it’s more than that. She’s basically a black Poison Ivy without the villainy. She has the ability to communicate with plants both consciously and subconsciously.
However, Bri’s learned to keep her gift a secret. She recently let her closest friends know about her ability, and their reactions were less than helpful. Struggling with her identity, she pushes them away and decides she can’t connect with anyone. Her parents are struggling too as they try and keep up with increasing rent on their shop and apartment.
Their lives change when Bri finds out that her birth mother left her a mansion in rural New York. Skeptical of this new found fortune, Bri and her moms move to the house for the summer on a trial basis. Bri immediately falls in love with the gothic mansion and grounds, particularly the mysterious gardens, and on day one she meets bookshop clerk Karter and they become fast friends. But, not everything is as great as it first seems. The more she finds out about her birth mother, Selene, and her Aunt Circe, the more trouble finds her.
This wasn’t an edge-of-my-seat kind of novel, but it was entertaining and kept me reading several chapters at a time. Briseis was a likable protagonist who I was rooting for (pun absolutely intended) the whole way, and I enjoyed the relationship she had with her moms. If nothing else, the imagery and reimagining of Greek mythology blended with botany were well worth the read.