The Poison Diaries
By Maryrose Wood
The Poison Diaries is a young English girl’s account of the daily happenings in her life. Jessamine is an innocent girl who stays at home and cooks and sews while her father is away. She is deeply interested in botany and how plants can be used to cure. This is no surprise since her father is considered an apothecary by the people in the village, but he is no pharmacist or surgeon. He has gardens all around his house where he grows rare species of plants and herbs – and poisons; which he blends to create cures for various diseases and wounds. He has a garden that is out of bounds of Jessamine and others where he grows the deadliest of poisons and nurtures them.
Jessamine dwells in a life of loneliness other than the company of poisons, until a day when an unexpected visitor leaves them with a gift – a young boy.
The young boy, called Weed, is a quiet and unfeeling boy due to his past and secrets he has kept ever since his birth. He has vast knowledge about how herbs and poisons can be used to heal; hence Jessamine’s father takes him under his wing. Both father and daughter are perplexed as to how without education or experience, he has a remedy for every ailment and wound.
As Weed gets closer to Jessamine, they fall in love. And as a result of his trust in her, he keeps her father in the dark but tells her his secret. Everything is fine for the two until a puzzling event causes Jessamine’s father to separate them. And right after, Jessamine gets seriously ill – a fatal illness to which Weed can’t find a cure.
The story then takes on how a lovelorn Weed sets out to find an antidote and breaks promises along the way just to save his beloved. But while Jessamine is in her deep slumber, and closer to death every second, who is the mysterious person who calls himself a prince in her dreams who shows her what’s actually happening beyond the confines of her room? Who had administered a poison to her and why? Envy, betrayal and murdering of the innocent follow. Will Jessamine survive? And even if she does survive, will it be at the cost of losing Weed and her father forever?
The Poison Diaries is a short book with a surprising end. It is not highly fast-paced and entertaining, but the author’s unique writing style makes it a good read.
Reviewed by Shivani Singh