Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.
When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.
When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.
I love that this is a retelling of The Secret Garden, and it was done so damn well. I read Cinderella is Dead by the same author earlier this year and I really enjoyed it, and I knew I wanted to pick this one up. Trust me, it didn’t disappoint! This was such a clever and modern twist on the original story, and I loved the way it reflected the original book while bringing something so fresh and interesting.
Briseis was such a great main character and I loved her a lot. She spends this book struggling with her own power, learning about herself and those around her. She also has an amazing support network in her parents, and I loved their sapphic relationship! It was so wholesome and felt so real, and I just fell in love with their family dynamic.
The people we love are never really gone from us,” Mom said. “Try to remember that. I know it’s hard.
The house itself felt like a true reflection of the manor in The Secret Garden and I could picture it so well. It was perfectly creepy but also beautiful, and I loved how it bought out Briseis’ power. I loved how visual Bayron’s writing was, and it made picturing the entire story so easy. I chose this book for my bookoplathon TBR for the prompt gods/myths/legends, as it was steeped in Greek mythology, but in a way I found so much more accessible than some other books I’ve read recently
The plot was so compelling and I honestly found it hard to put this book down. It was so easy to read and the plot was changing all the time. Especially towards the end, we had so many unpredictable plot twists that made it so hard to stop reading!
It feels like the whole world should just stop spinnin’, but it doesn’t. And we’ve gotta find a way to pick up the pieces.
Overall, I really loved this book and I feel like it’s one I will remember for a while to come. If you’re a fan of The Secret Garden but want something with a twist, this is perfect!
4 out of 5 stars
May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽