Having loved All the Stars and Teeth, I had high hopes for Belladonna. And what I was expecting was absolutely surpassed. Belladonna is gothic, fantastical, and swoony. If you’re looking for a gothic fantasy romance – look no further! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.
However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: self-harm, gore
I knew I wanted to see how Death would be personified. Come on, you’re going to always interest me when you tell me Death is coming knocking. And – don’t get me wrong – I loved the character of death, talk about clever and a bit wry, but I ended up loving Signe the most. I loved how she has to come into her own powers, but also how clever and resilient she is. Belladonna is very much a gothic mystery meets romance. Signe is tasked with unraveling what happened to Blythe’s mother and Blythe yourself.
If you’ve always loved families who are eccentric, ghosts lingering, and something sinister, this is for you. But Belladonna is also about the pain of grief and ambition and love. It’s about her own isolation and who it has shaped her to be – whether she wanted it or not. No one truly ever shows their cards. And I loved how atmospheric Belladonna felt from the beginning which only increases as the story progresses. For fans of romance story lines, that was one of my favorite under dog element.
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The tension. The character development. Belladonna is multi-faceted. It explores what happens when the world tries to force us to be someone else. Someone we are not and how we have to play the game to survive. Secrets are infused in these pages and by the end you’ll be screaming alongside me. Find Belladonna on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.