And so my obsession with Lydia Kang continues. You know I’m here for Kang!
Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.
Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.
As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.
A Beautiful Poison is a wonderfully written book that examines all the situations we get ourselves into. There is an element of choice, but also almost a destiny-esque feel to it. The whole book sort of unfolds and you find yourself being welcomed into the mystery. A Beautiful Poison revolves around a circle of friends. There has been time passed and no one is really who they used to be. But one fateful night changes their lives forever. Some secrets can’t stay buried. They stretch, reaching to break out, crying for justice.
The strength of the first half of the book were the characters. You watch as certain people’s stories kind of devolve, as they are broken down little by little. At the same time, you watch as other people move sideways, or even upwards. It’s very driven by circumstances, action, and you want to read to figure out where they will go. Then towards the middle of the novel, it kind of flipped for me.
I began to be entirely immersed in the mystery, the plot of the book. Needing to know what happened, who did it, what the danger was, gave me my next fix. I think that’s the true strength of Kang’s writing is that it kind of hooks you and then reels you in. There are so many twists, so many secrets I couldn’t have foretold. And you relish in them all.