by Adalyn Grace
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Pub Date 30 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 31 Aug 2022
'A deliciously deadly Gothic romance' Stephanie Garber
For as long as Signa Farrow has been alive, the people in her life have fallen like stars . . .
Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her wellbeing - 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.
Signa's best chance of uncovering the murderer, though, 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.
From New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace, Belladonna brings to life a highly romantic, gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.
PRAISE FOR BELLADONNA
'This book is a true pleasure to read from beginning to end' Jennifer L. Armentrout
'A darkly romantic tale' Adrienne Young
'Utterly original and completely addictive' Rachel Griffin
'Darkly twisted and deliciously gothic' Renée Ahdieh
'Decadently atmospheric' Kerri Maniscalco
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 113 members
Loved loved loved this book.
Signa Farrow is a 19 year old girl touched by death but unable to die from his touch. Since she was a child, her guardians have been dying off rendering her cursed by everyone until she arrives at Thorn Grove and decides to not let her curse continue and let her cousin, Blythe, die. The Hawthorne estate however is anything but quiet and normal and when a spirit instructs Signa to stop Blythe dying, she begins working with Death to solve with poison mystery.
The way this author writes is simply chef's kiss. The pace, the writing, the story line, the romance, the mystery, it's all greaty. This gothic fantasy is everything I hoped it would be. The MC was interesting and everything she's not supposed to be despite the regency era theme.
I like her romance with Death and did not find it weird at all (in reference to other reviews) - I think it's important to note that Death notes that human lives go by in a blink on an eye for him and whilst he was intrigued by Signa - he did not act on it until she was an adult and became interest. However this is not the focal point of the book.
If you like mysteries, gothic fantasies, a slowburn romance - then this is a book for you. I honestly cannot wait for the sequel, Foxglove.
Thank you to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I knew I was going to love this, but I underestimated how much - this book is perfect! Our heroine Signa Farrow has always been surrounded by death - orphaned as a baby and passed around uncaring family members only interested in her fortune, its been hard to connect with people. Instead, she finds herself communicating with Death himself, which they're both rather perturbed by, When Signa is sent to yet another distant relative's, she stumbles into a mystery she needs to unravel, and Death has offered to help her.
This book had beautiful gothic nods, a unique and loveable MC, and somehow you end up rooting for a romance with Death! Adalyn Grace's writing is so perfectly paced, reading feels like a whirlwind. I'm also relieved to find theres a sequel on the way! this would make an excellent tv series!
A few years ago, I used to be an avid reader of the YA/fantasy/New Adult genre but over the years I lost track of new releases. It’s been a while since I have managed to find some time to read in my spare time outside of my university courses (I study literature but hey, it’s not always masterpieces). Despite having hundreds of unread books, I craved for something new and deeply engaging, a book that would get me out of my reading slump and bring me back the true pleasure reading can provide - I couldn’t wish for more than Belladonna by Adalyn Grace.
I came across it by chance (or was it Fate himself?), pulled in by the title and stunning cover and I lost no time in requesting it through Netgalley UK after reading the synopsis. To summarize it shortly, it is a refreshing gothic romance, set in the 1850s/1860s, telling the story of Signa Farrow, an orphan girl that seems to attract misery and sudden deaths everywhere she goes. Yet, she is resistant to dying herself, no matter how much she tries. Her ability to speak not only with ghosts and spirits but with the terrifying Death himself restricts her from any sort of normal life she desires. After arriving at her distant family’s mansion Thorn Grove, she has the opportunity to use her powers to help the people around her, by trying to discover the secret behind a mysterious illness that resides within its walls.
Signa was a delightful character to experience the story through, as she was unusually complex. I think the author did a wonderful job at making her come to life throughout the book with strong character development. Signa seems interesting and unusual without getting too much into the “not like other girls” territory. I found her voice to be compelling and well suited to the overall tone of the book. As I want to avoid spoiling the book in any way, I just want to say that the love interest choice is a completely unhinged idea and I am here for every second of it.
I consider a gothic ghost story to be a relatively difficult genre to tackle nowadays, as it requires a strong mysterious atmosphere yet needs to be refreshing in the mystery itself. In my opinion, even in this, the author succeeded, as I consider Belladonna to be a book I would recommend to ghost-story lovers as well as to people who usually don’t read ghost stories with passion. I cannot wait for any further instalments within the series as well as any other books from the author.
Belladonna is, and bear with me here, a fantasy-gothic-murder-mystery-romance set approximately in the 1860s. Signa is an orphan, passed from relative to relative each out to claim a piece of her fortune for themselves. Her only constant companion is death, in more ways than one. Signa can see spirits and even death himself.
When her aunt dies suddenly Signa is spirited away to Thorn Hall, a beautiful manor filled with shadows. When it becomes clear that the late mistress of the house was murdered and her ailing daughter might be next, Signa allies herself with a stable boy, and death himself to get to the bottom of what is happening on the Hawthorne estate.
This is not my usual novel, but I was drawn in by the frankly stunning (UK) cover and the fantasy elements and I’m so glad I stepped out of my comfort zone. I devoured this book on my commute, it is addictive and spellbinding in equal measures.
The delicate balance between mystery and romance was spot on. I was drawn into the mystery with all its twists and turns, that played off well with the more historical/romance elements of the plot, without either element feeling underserved.
Signa is a compelling protagonist, and her voice really came through in the writing style. She is brave, cunning and impulsive in equal measures, but at her core longs for a family and a place to belong. I won’t say much detail about the MLO, other than it was a completely unhinged choice, and for that reason the absolute best decision possible.
The epilogue also sets up a sequel(!) which cannot come soon enough.
All in an absolute delight of a novel, hands down one of my favourite reads of the year so far!
Thank you so much to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC of 'Belladonna' by Adalyn Grace.
I purely fell in love with this book due to the cover and it didn't disappoint. The start was rather slow based but the further I read, the more I was addicted. The gothic themes were perfection and the characters were gorgeous. I absolutely adored it.
Wow. That’s my best assessment of this book: just wow.
Signa has a terrible talent - she can see the lingering spirits of the dead. With them comes the haunting presence of Death himself, and she desperately wants to be rid off him. But when she moved live with the family of her late cousin Lillian, she becomes preoccupied with a different problem. Who killed Lillian, and is her ailing daughter next?
Sumptuous and gothic, I’d easily categorise it as ‘upmarket’ fiction for it’s literary atmosphere but undeniably commercial appeal. It’s a sort of romantic supernatural murder mystery set in the 1850s, with uptight social conventions and extravagant balls and a good-looking stable hand and family secrets.
The mystery plot was twisty and suspenseful (I spent a lot of this book either gasping or screaming with delight) and the romance was just as skilfully woven. The characters are vivid and complex, especially Signa. She has lots of desires for her life - to get rid of Death’s presence, to protect the only family she has left, to do all the things her treasured etiquette manuals says she must do in order to find a husband so she will never be lonely and unloved again. But each of these desires come with a cost, and they frequently interfere with each other. She is always being pulled to work out what she *really* wants.
I adored every moment of this book. The epilogue is the perfect setup for a sequel, and I can’t wait to read that too!
I absolutely loved this! Every single second of it. I had several theories throughout and then it would be disproven, though I have to say I guessed the twist and squealed with delight so loudly when I was proven right that my son ran to demand to know what I had been right. Loved, loved, loved it. So well written, wonderful characters.
Belladonna is a fast paced gothic fantasy that takes the reader on a wild ride of romance, secrets and betrayal.
Death has followed 19 year old Signa Farrow all her life. Orphaned as a baby, death has taken every single one of her guardians, most of which are only after the money Signa shall inherit upon her 20th birthday. Signa is cursed with a unique gift of being unable to die, as well as the ability to see lingering spirits and even Death himself.
Signa is a beautifully constructed character, with both courage and stubbornness, and she is determined to hate Death for all he has taken.
After the loss of her most recent guardian, Signa journeys to Thorn Grove, accompanied by stable hand, Sylas. Upon her arrival, she meets the Hawthorne's, or at least what is left of them, since her Aunt Lillian recently died of an unrecognisable illness, one that her daughter Blythe is now suffering from.
Signa instantly suspects foul play and recruits Sylas to help her uncover the mystery of who murdered Lillian before death comes for Blythe.
Signa is incredibly clever and I loved her and Sylas working as a team, though it did take me a while to warm up to him. I loved Death instantly since he was very charming and misunderstood, something that Signa soon learns after his many visits at Thorn Grove. I loved Signa's growth throughout the book and watching her embracing that the fact that she is no ordinary girl.
I absolutely loved the plot! It was unique and very gothic. I did suspect one of the plot twists very early on and I was delighted to learn that my suspicions were correct!
The Epilogue set up book two nicely and I am very eagerly awaiting the sequel!
Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for this ARC. All thoughts are my own.
This is a world unlike any other I've read. I happen to enjoy the 'Death and The Maiden' storyline a great deal, and when I read the synopsis that Signa and Death would have a connection within this gothic murder mystery, I was eager to pick Belladonna up. Yet, I wasn't quite ready for how captivated I'd be by this world - so much that after sitting a few days before writing up this review, I've bumped it from a 4.5 to a 5 simply because I'm still thinking about this book in great detail.
Signa's abilities to defy death, and the tragic journey of her life that was overwhelmed by the loss of many guardians up till the point of this novel's beginning created such an interesting premise. I loved her from the first glimpse we get of her. Signa's growth as a person in high society, and with her dark magical abilities, all whilst marshalling for her ill cousin was such a rewarding experience to read. This world is so atmospheric, and much like Signa, I was kept on my toes the whole way through. The world-building was magical, and it felt as if I was able to step back in time to join Signa at Thorn Grove. The mansion and the grounds were described in such beautiful detail, and I enjoyed the small details about clothing and food, and the opulence contrasting the darkness of what was happening in her new residence. Adalyn Grace painted a world of wonderful grandeur and shadowed it well with darkness and deceit that I am still hooked on the imagery this book created for me.
The murder mystery elements of Belladonna had me guessing back and forth and made me doubt my suspicions on more than one occasion, which I absolutely loved. I'm not huge on murder mysteries, but this was delivered in a way that wasn't too overbearing and kept my interest up to figure it all out. And even though I was on the mark with who was behind the death of Lillian Hawthorne and the strange illness of her daughter Blythe, the reasoning behind it wasn't what I expected - another satisfying moment for me as a reader.
However, where this novel shined most for me was through Signa's confusion over her relationships with several people within the novel as her handle on her inner darkness evolves. At almost twenty, Signa is nearing the age to gain access to her inheritance. Her original goal was to make it to this age and live comfortably, and hopefully find herself a husband when she debuted into society. I loved how this desire she possessed was challenged throughout the novel, both by conflicting feelings for Death, Sylas, and the most eligible lord of the season, and by her growth as a person shrouded by abilities. Signa starts with very little understanding of society and how the world works in affluent circles, given her upbringing thus far. At Thorn Grove, she is thrust into the world she's only read about and finds it doesn't appeal to her as much as she believed it would. Her warring feelings between her abilities and societal standings were fantastically executed by the author, and I found Signa to be such a well-rounded character. The Signa we leave this world on is someone who has outgrown the one she hoped to become, and I'm so excited to see how she'll take what she's discovered about herself in this first novel into the sequel.
I absolutely loved the romance in this novel. Whilst at times I found Signa's back and forth between Sylas and Death exasperating - especially when she starts thinking about the newcomer for the season who tries to court her also - I found the love story to be the perfect balance for all the murder and illness Signa is navigating. The banter between her and the two main love interests had me giggling often and whilst I figured out early on how this would progress, I thoroughly enjoyed each step of the way. The romance was tastefully done, and I can only imagine how it will progress in the next book.
I also appreciated the found family dynamic between Signa and the Hawthornes. Her connection with the three of them whilst uncovering what was making Blythe so ill and solving who murdered Lillian was a delightful addition. I enjoyed her building these connections - something that no doubt felt strange given how hard a time she'd had with previous relatives up to this point. Even with her darker thoughts, and odd mannerisms from growing up so lonely, I find Signa to be someone full of hope and a strong sense of love for those who matter to her. This does fuel her to become reckless at times, but I only liked that about her more when it happened.
This is my first time reading a novel by Adalyn Grace, and I'm thrilled I picked this book up. It's going to be an anticipated wait for Foxglove for me.
There are whispers of how Signa Farrow is a strange and dangerous girl. She can see ghosts, cannot die and is believed to have brought death to all her legal guardians, and perhaps even her parents. She can even see Death, an entity in of himself, who haunts her - never leaving her alone for long. However, when Signa arrives at her newest ward’s residence, Thorn Grove Manor, an angered spirit makes it clear to Signa someone is conspiring to kill members of the family. To save her reputation and finally face her fears, Signa decides she must stop Death. But is Death truly her enemy?
HOT DAMN. My lungs are STILL hurting from all the gasping and squealing!! From the first few pages, I knew we struck gold with Belladonna. It delivers delicious romance, a murder mystery that causes the mind to spin with theories and an entertaining fantasy rooted in death, life and the power of both. It possesses *every* vibe I love in books; especially the grim and macabre. There’s poison gardens, dark woods, family secrets, haunted and shadowy halls… I can’t put into words how much I loved it. Past reads that evoked similar vibes for me are House of Salt and Sorrows and Mexican Gothic.
”I cannot sleep when I hear her roaming about, haunting these halls, and yet I cannot so much as shut my eyes in her absence, for I wonder if I will ever hear her again.”
The story unfolds in a time period akin to Bridgerton, where a young lady’s value is linked to her status and marriageable worth. Consequently, Signa must navigate how to perfect appropriate etiquette, or face the fact she may never truly fit into such societal standards because of her connection to beyond the veil.
Signa is a great character. She’s stubborn, hearty and has the powerful potential to rival Death himself. The conflict of Signa’s abilities and status were thoroughly riveting to explore, and it became increasingly complicated the more the murder mystery developed, leaving me curiouser and curiouser. Even though I found the mystery elements predictable, this didn’t detract from my enjoyment in any way, due to how rich the world felt. Moreover, I adored how reverently Adalyn Grace illustrated the nature of death. It was beautiful how every belief of what comes after life was given its place, and I must praise the author for this.
The romance was *chef’s kiss*. We have Sylas, a mysterious and sarcastic stableboy, and then on the other hand, Death, a devastatingly tender and lethal entity. I loved them both and found myself unable to choose. The duo of Signa and Death are like Emilia and Wrath from Kingdom of the Wicked but in a world like Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Their vibe also reminded me of Vasya and Morozko from the Winternight series and Alina and the Darkling from Shadow & Bone. Meanwhile, Signa and Sylas’ detective work reminded me of Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell from Stalking Jack the Ripper. So can anyone blame me when I stress I was unable to choose between them!? But do not panic, the way the romance is ultimately handled was extremely satisfying.
The ending!!! I knew it was coming but I still squealed! I am really, really, really excited for the sequel, Foxglove. It’s not the worst of cliffhangers, but rather, sets the stage nicely for the next adventure. I’m so excited to return to this world and see more of these characters. And on that matter: Adalyn Grace and Hodderscape, if you happen to have a copy of that sequel at hand… I wouldn’t say no. I’ll bake you cookies for it! And I *promise* they won’t have Belladonna in them.
Belladonna is moody, romantic and, quite simply, a must read for YA gothic fantasy readers. It’s without a doubt in my favourite reads of 2022. The prose was lyrical and rich, the ghostly and atmospheric world enveloped me, the chemistry between Signa and her love interest was decadent… All in all, it’s a lusciously gothic tale and I was truly, fully in its thrall. I’ll definitely be rereading it before Foxglove arrives. Don’t sleep on this one, book friends! You need to add Belladonna to your TBR if you love any of the following:
~ Kingdom of the Wicked
~ The Shadows Between Us
~ Hunting Prince Dracula
~ House of Salt and Sorrows
~ Haunted Mansion
~ Corpse Bride
Thank you kindly to Hodderscape for providing me with an eARC in exchange for this honest review.
I’m so glad I got to read an ARC of this book! It was well-written with interesting characters and world building, as well as a swoony romance. The mystery wasn’t overly complex but I like that there’s the potential for more stories in this world. I also guessed some things about Sylas fairly instantly, so it would have been nice to have been left guessing a while longer on that front.
This book didn’t make me that emotional and was a bit predictable as mentioned, which stopped it from being five stars. However, I loved the concept and I adored that the MC didn’t just go along with society’s pointless rules and instead questioned them and herself – though I did find her shortsightedness a bit annoying in some of the earlier chapters.
This was an atmospheric book, reminiscent of The Haunting of Hill House but with a little more lightness. It felt like if Gallant and Sorcery of Thorns had a love child, it would be this book. I liked that there was a little steam too, as the MC is 19/20 so it felt comfortable and right for the plot.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would read more in this world.
I will always be a big fan of whatever Adalyn Grace writes, but this was a phenomenal read. Belladonna completely had me hooked and I was enamored by the characters and plot.
The mystery elements entwined with slight romance, honestly a 10/10.
In fact, I am desperately waiting for the physical book to be in my hands so that I can annotate it and put it with the rest of my favourite books.
If you enjoyed In The Ravenous Dark or Vespertine, I definitely think this book is for you.
I received this as an eARC from NetGalley but all thought and opinions are my own.
Rounded up from 4.5 stars.
I picked this up, not really having read much of the blurb, I thought it looked really cool. When I started to read it I found I couldn't put it down.
It follows Signa, a young woman who has been surrounded by death her whole life, and is very angry at him for that. When her latest guardian dies, she heads to Thorn Grove to stay with some distant cousins. Sadly Thorn Grove is grieving and her cousin is gravely ill. Not wanting to see another family member die Signa sets out to use her powers to save her cousin.
This book is essentially a gothic supernatural mystery with a nice little romance subplot. It was a pretty easy read and it kept me guessing the whole way through. It fits right in with the kind of book I love so I became very taken with it right away.
There were a few points where I was a big confused as to what was happening. I don't know if it was me reading too fast or what. Some pages with big reveals took me a couple reads to really understand what just happened
This has everything!
At the heart of this novel is Signa Farrow a young woman with some interesting talents.
Around that is a serious layer of murder and mystery.
Add of course “Death” and a bit of the supernatural.
Lastly, a touch of romance and some very good writing!
Nothing more to add other than read it!
What a wonderful novel that will steal you from the first page and leave you smiling after the final sentence.
Alright! I'm giving it 5 stars, because I just loved it that much! You guys! This is like perfection!
This book is everything! It's this perfect combination of everything I like in fantasy books, a darkly gothic fantasy novel, with a crime to solve, a lot of mystery, a heavy touch of paranormal, a lot of gothic elements and a romance to die for (literally) with just a touch of smut (it's very poetic in that specific scene, so not too much of steam, and that's alright, made it perfect for the novel tone).
The book revolves around 17 years old Signa Farrow, a supposedly cursed orphan, that brings everyone who adopts to die one by one. But she is no ordinary girls, she is a gifted girl who stands at the thin line between life and death by chewing the poisonous belladonnas to summon Death, the one she thinks is the culprit to all the death that surrounds her.
But one day Signa connects with Death breaks an important rule without knowing it. It’s after these developments that Signa ends up at her relative’s home, Thorn Grove, a place where she discovers her powers, a love, a crime to solve and a family to save.
I think all the characters are well developed, that is evident in Signa, who grows to understand that not everything is as it seems, that living for the expectations of other is no live at all and that be fearless and defend the ones she loves, she as to accept who she is and her powers.
Also, of course Death was my favorite character, he is the most alluring and charismatic character of the book, I was always expecting him to appear. This totally resemble my feeling towards the Darkling in the Shadow and Bone! BUT, this book gave me what Shadow and Bone was not capable of giving me. The bantering, the tender moments, the steamy moments. Signa and Death are everything, I adore them! They remind me a lot of the dynamic between Hades and Persephone, with this impossible love that teeters between life and death.
Oh and the plot twist! I had a lot of suspicions about the murder, but was not expecting it, not at all! There were some other points that I did find out before they where reveled, but that did not take the fun of the reading experience.
Overall, this book was amazing, and I highly recommend it for anyone that’s a fan of gothic romances that linger between YA and Adult. I’m excited to learn more about Death, about Fate and the next crime mystery in the next book and see what happens.
<i>Thank you kindly to Hodder&Stoughton and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for this honest review.</i>
I have read quite a few books already this year, but Belladonna has very easily become my favourite. The concept of a girl that sees death but cannot die, teaming up with literal death to solve a murder was something I didn't know I needed, but now need in every single material available. Paperback? hardback? limited edition covers? ebooks? I don't care, just take my money.
Signa was a very interesting main character, who was weathered by bad luck, and plagued by death, causing her to be handed around to new family members her whole life, until she is taken in by her rich distant relatives and cousins. Signa never lets the hardships affect her as a person. She has a lot of charm, but still holds herself in a strong manner, and can fight her battles, whether that be with family or death. There is an innocence to her, and at times her words get her into trouble, but there was something quite wholesome about watching her form friendships, and have experiences that she was lacking as a child. As a character, Death is incredibly charming, and often bounces off of Signa and jabs at her to get a rise, but always does it in a comical way, that often irritates her, but makes her smile too. As weird as it is to type, there was great chemistry between Signa and uh... death?
The romance was perfectly balanced with the mystery aspect, and there was no overshadowing. There were small moments between Signa and other character's that were perfectly tense, and helped to introduce the side character's into the story better, and left me caught between who Signa would choose.
The world building and descriptions in the book were incredible, and it was easy to imagine everything on the page, which is one of the main reasons I love reading Adalyn Grace's work. The gothic atmosphere was noticeable immediately, and had everything you could imagine, from secret passages to self portraits scattered around the house, and ghosts haunting the building.
My interest was grabbed from the first line of the prologue, and didn't falter all the way to the cliffhanger, which was perfectly constructed. I am in desperate need of the sequel, and cannot thank the netgalley Gods enough for blessing me with an arc.
This book was so, so good! I loved every minute of it.
Signa Farrow should have died as a baby, poisoned just like her parents. Instead, Death found himself unable to take her, and Signa was left to grow up in the care of a series of guardians who cared more for her wealth than her. All of them met an untimely end, and now everyone believes Signa cursed. Signa believes it too - especially as she can see ghosts, and talk with Death when he draws near.
After the demise of her latest guardian, Signa is invited to Thorn Grove by the family of her deceased aunt, who are deep in mourning for their wife and mother. To make things worse, Blythe, the daughter of the family, is ill from the same mysterious sickness that killed her mother. She looks certain to die until her mother's ghost appears to Signa, claiming she was murdered and someone is now trying to kill Blythe. Signa's determined not to let another relative die and so turns to Death himself for help. Together the two must discover the murderer, before it's too late.
Everything about this book was enjoyable. The descriptions, the atmosphere, the character development, the love interest, the mystery of it all! I read Belladonna quickly and wish I had the sequel in my hands already. I feel like I haven't read a *really* amazing book in a while so this was just what I needed. There was one tiny element I would have like cleared up, but I can't say what without spoilers - and it was so tiny that it doesn't really matter. If you enjoy gothic novels and historical fantasy then you need to read this book!
Belladonna is a beautifully haunting, gothic infused YA fantasy about a girl (Signa) who confronts death—her own deadly powers— to solve a murder in this enthralling tale of magic, mystery and a deadly betrayal.
For as long as Signa Farrow’s has been alive, the people around her have all succumbed to an early grave. Orphaned as a baby, nineteen year old Sign has has a string of guardians, each more interested in her vast inheritance than her well-being—and each has met and untimely death.
Her only remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family who live at the gloomy and imposing Thorn Grove, an estate still steeped in the patriarch’s grief for his late wife—a wife who still haunts its walls and a daughter who suffers a similar ailment.
But when said wife’s spirit appears to Signa claiming she was poisoned, Signa realises the family she depends on could be in grave danger, and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to help hunt down the killer.
It’s hauntingly atmospheric, deliciously gothic and I fell absolutely in love it! That opening chapter was absolutely phenomenal and really sets the tone for the rest of the book—the world building is gorgeously lush, with an ethereal, dream-like quality to some of the outdoorsy (nature filled) scenes that I just really enjoyed. But, there’s also a richer, darker undertone to Thorn Grove itself that was deeply compelling.
Signa, our protagonist is an interesting character—impervious to the poison that left her an orphan, Signa has spent her life isolated and lonely, wishing for a better grander life and with only the spirits and death for company it’s easy to empathise. Her time at Thorn Grove sees her flourish and evolve, tracking down the cause for the mysterious illness plaguing her family and learning the wield the death-like powers she has been gifted with.
Her evolving relationship with death was also exquisitely crafted, and gave us the most delicious Hades and Persephone vibes. Death is an incredible character too, he’s nothing but a shadowy hooded figure during all of his intersctions with Signa but his dark Byronic charm and acerbic wit was fabulously entertaining. He and Signa definitely have chemistry and the love triangle dynamics that entangle them both was absolutely swoon-worthy.
Honestly, I loved everything about this marvellously moody, gothic romance with its hauntingly lush atmosphere, lyrical prose and plot twists to die for!
The ending does end on a bit of a cliffhanger which sets up the sequel Foxglove but, I guarantee you’ll be utterly satisfied with this absolute masterpiece of a book so get preordering now.
Also, thanks to Hodder&Stoughton and Netgalley for the e-arc.
ARC kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review.
As soon as I saw that this was a fantasy with mystery solving plus set in the 1800s I had to read it. And it was so so so worth it. Absolutely.
Signa Farrow is a young girl who has always lost everyone around her, her mother, her grandmother and many more people, and she has always blamed Death for those deaths. While growing up, Signa finds out she has the power to see spirits and Death and that she cannot die. At the age of nineteen, she moves to the Hawthornes' mansion as they are her only relatives and she still isn't of age yet: once she arrives, she meets the Hawthornes' wife's spirit who begs for her help to unsolve her murder and to save her daughter, Blythe, from the same sad fate. With the help of Death, whom she gets really close to, and Sylas, a stables boy, she does everything in her power to unravel the mystery and to finally save her cousin and her family.
This book was so good, "love" cannot even express how much I adored it. I loved how dark the story was and how Signa does her best to help the Hawthornes. I loved how she grows attached to Death and how he does anything just for her. My love for Death goes beyond this world <3 I craved for him to be in every single chapter, paragraph and sentence. I wanted him to be with Signa all the time and mostly we did get that. Hopefully we'll have so much more of Death and Death-Signa duo in book 2! Moreover, I feel like the song Until I Found You by Stephen Sanchez describes perfectly how Death feels about Signa when he sings: "I was lost within the darkness, but then I found her, I found you." Idk, I find it cute tho.
I wished we had more insights on Charlotte and her past and especially on Percy and Marjorie, I really wished the author could spend some more time on these two, focusing on what was on their mind and why the behaved the way they did.
Looking forward to book 2 as I need it ASAP, especially after the final cliffhanger. And I really want to know how Death and Signa's realtionship will evolve. If you really couldn't tell, I love these two, especially together heh.
“To me, you are a song to a soul that has never known music. Light to someone who has only seen the darkness.”
“You are what I want. I know I cannot force you to want me in return, but say that you do, and I promise that I am wholly and unequivocally yours. Say that you do, and I will make this world everything for you, Signa.”
My rating: 4.5!
I absolutely loved this book! I literally pre ordered after a few chapters! Thank you so much to netgalley and the publisher for allowing me early access to this book!
Honestly five stars are not enough.
I was immediately drawn into this story from the first page. It was such an interesting concept that was tied into a murder mystery that I could not put this book down.
The pacing of the book was done right and it gave enough time to try to solve this mystery along with the main character.
I was fully invested Signa's growth through this book and once again, the pacing aiding in her self discovery and her search for an identity among high society.
I love a good murder mystery and the gothic setting and supernatural themes did elevate the suspense and a need for me to figure out who the culprit was.this was a murder mystery done right.
Signa and Death's dynamic was another enjoyable aspect-a variation of the enemies to allies to lovers trope is always a plus when I read and I love them. Death's outlook on life,death and the afterlife and his ability to teach Signa of all her possibilities and push her to really find her place really pushed the plot along and aided in her overall character development.
Overall, I loved it. Will definitely be buying a physical copy.
I just cant wait for the book to release (and the sequel too) IT WAS SUCH A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE READING THIS 😭💗
Thank you to netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this book!
An absolutely spellbounding and mysterious tale author Adalyn Grace has woven! The premise for Belladonna is fantastic and the murder mystery really draws the reader into it, I spent the whole time reading with no clue how the story would turn out.
The characters are marvellous and Signa is a fantastic protagonist! Really excited for future releases from this author!
𝗬𝗼𝘂 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝗼𝗹𝗱𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘂𝗻, 𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻𝗮 𝗙𝗮𝗿𝗿𝗼𝘄, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗶𝘁’𝘀 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗯𝘂𝗿𝗻.
Belladonna is a lush gothic infused fantasy made only better by its compelling mystery and beautifully written paranormal romance. I gushed so hard over Signa and Death, they have truly left a mark. The 'Death and the Maiden' trope hit HARD in this one.
Set in the Victorian era, 19 year old orphan Signa Farrow has always been surrounded by death. Not only do all her relatives and guardians seem to drop dead around her, but she can see spirits, and Death himself. Signa is taken in by the Hawthorne family, her only remaining relatives, at Thorn Grove and it's there that she discovers her cousin is suffering from a mysterious illness similar to that of Signa's aunt that died months prior. Signa suspects foul play and enlists the help of a new friend: a stable boy named Sylas, and Death himself, to uncover the mystery.
When I tell you that this book is good, trust me, it's good. The murder mystery at the heart of this book is so gripping, and the author did a great job of presenting clues to the reader to solve alongside Signa. There is a plot twist towards the end of the book that blew me away; I actually gasped as it was revealed because it was so clever I genuinely didn't see it coming. This reveal was a highlight for me and just made me love this book so much more thinking back to particular scenes.
The characters are sublime; Signa is an incredibly interesting MC and I cannot wait for the sequel to see her character blossom even further into her own gifts and abilities. She's written remarkably well, with more layers unravelling as the plot develops, and her journey of self-discovery is beautiful. I loved the dynamic between Sigma and Death, not only does Death aid in her investigation, but he helps her figure out exactly who she is and in turn, accept who she is. The vast majority of side characters play a pivotal role, not one character felt unnecessary.
I absolutely loved the personification of Death. Grace's description of the darkness that emenated from him was enchanting and haunting. I feel like I could vividly imagine how he looked in both his corporeal form, as well as his intangible, ethereal form. I loved that whilst he had a strong moral identity, he also bent the rules slightly to help Signa, all the while ensuring that Signa saw the consequences of her actions.
This book is spectacular, and I feel so incredibly thankful to have been approved for this arc as this is my favourite read of 2022 to date! One I think I'll be eager to reread sooner rather than later. Very much excited for the sequel Foxglove.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers Hodder & Stoughton for accepting my request of the E-ARC of Belladonna.
This is my complete honest review.
Belladonna is on of my most anticipated reads of 2022. And boy it did not let me down! I was drawn in from the first page.
I loved it so much!
Signa should have died as a baby but for some reason Death didn't come for her. The story follows Signa, who is plagued by bad luck and death.
I absolutely adored Signa and Death.
The story was written perfectly, the world building and the characters. I loved everything about it.
I can't wait for this to be released, I hope we get so many special editions especially in the UK because I Need them all.
A big thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with this eArc!
This was so exquisite. I need every copy available!!! Whoa!!
This is a young adult, Victorian-inspired fantasy, gothic romance and murder mystery all rolled into one.
Signa Farrow is an orphaned heiress who has moved from guardian to guardian as they have an unfortunate habit of dying. Unsurprisingly, the numerous deaths in her vicinity leads to a certain amount of gossip.
Unexpectedly, she is invited into the care of the wealthy family of a distant and deceased relative. Elijah Hawthorne, still grieving for his wife, throws rowdy, lavish parties whilst his daughter, Blythe's health starts to fail. Signa finds the illnesses in the household suspicious and starts to investigate the death of Lillian, whilst trying to keep a watchful eye on Blythe.
I really enjoyed the combination of a classic murder mystery, family drama in a grand gothic mansion along with the more supernatural elements. Signa can see spirits and Death, who she has a rather spiky relationship with, at least to start with 😉.
I liked Signa as a character- she starts off desperate to fit in with societal expectations, hating her ability to see Death and spirits, but her acceptance of her differences and also gradual understanding that not all young ladies are as financially safe as herself, is well done - although there is still a bit of "not-like-other-girls" about her. She's an active, headstrong protagonist, not waiting to answers to fall into her lap but also aware of her limitations.
I haven't really spoken about the romance, but it is a strong element in the story and will be enjoyed by those who like the Death and the Maiden trope.
A really great combination of murder mystery and gothic supernatural romance with a plenty of twists and a decadent Victorian aesthetic.
What a dark and wonderful treat Belladonna turned out to be, I was captivated through this read and connected deeply with the main character.
Thank you for providing me with an early addition, I was extremely happy reading this!
If your looking for a fantasy meets mystery with a toe curling plot and gothic vibes look no further!
One word: WOW. This is how I felt after reading Belladonna.
It's deliciously dark with a slice of Death on the side 😉
It was toe curlingly addictive. I couldn't put it down. I read ever page , cover to cover . No page skips or end of story readings. I love gothic romances ❤️❤️
The story flow and the direction was very smooth and the male protagonists were varyingly interesting while simultaneously the being embodiment of the traditional male specimen (not all of them).
I'm not the biggest fan of this female protagonist but I did enjoy seeing her character grow and blossom. I especially liked seeing her realize her own independence ,how she didn't have to confine herself in society's norm and that she could be happy being just herself. A modern realisation unusual but definitely pleasing in a bygone era.
That twist at the end was the extra chocolate chips on top of an already delicious chocolate ice cream for sure.
I look forward enormously to reading a sequel ❤️
My thanks to @netgalley for sending me this arc in exchange for my honest review and legitimately unique opinions.
@authoradalyngrace thank you for another wonderful story ❤️
AHHHHHHHHHHH oh my GOSH I loved this. I just finished it and I'm still sitting here giggling like a schoolgirl. Hello??? Spooky murder mystery with steamy magic romance and kickass female characters? I read this all in a few hours. I am also immensely relieved to know there will be a sequel because I am NOT satiated. This was so good!! I'm in love!!
First of all, the characters. Signa is amazing. I love her. She starts off a little confused and trying to find her place in the world, as we all do. She matures and learns throughout the book and she develops into a wonderful woman. She's smart, witty, and bold. It's so easy for protagonists like her to be obnoxious and overly naive, but Grace doesn't have that problem with her main character. Signa is able to realize that what society wants from her may not be what she truly wants and she can acknowledge this through the help of the people around her. She also doesn't have a lot of dithering about mortality and morality which I like. Blythe is also fantastic. She already knows how she wants her life to go and she's not shy about declaring it. I love her.
Death is.... well. He is something else entirely. Usually with stories like this I get an ick from characters like Death. Age-old being who's known the girl since she was a baby? That's gross. But Death isn't! He's written in such a unique way so he's not creepy or even excessively mature. And even though he's known Signa since she was a baby, he still keeps his distance so it's not a weird grooming situation. I am such a picky reader when it comes to dynamics like this and I was ready to be grossed out by it but I am so glad that was not the case. He's such a perfect YA fantasy boy and I'm glad he exists. I want him for myself.
The cover? Beautiful! It's muted tones and elegant illustration give the impression of mature gothic, which fits the vibe. Obviously the belladonna berries go along with the title and story, but the bird (yellow bellied warbler?) was harder to understand until I actually read the book. It's such an aesthetic image on its own but it also does a wonderful job of hinting at the story inside without revealing too much.
The plot: magnificent. Several times I thought "Oh, I know where this is going. I can see this twist coming." I was wrong. There were a couple of things I halfway figured out, so my ego was still boosted, but I was still deliciously surprised by the way the story unfolded. There were so many clues but I still wasn't able to fit all the pieces together, like a true crime story.
Belladonna meshes together horror, fantasy, romance, murder mysteries, historical drama, and YA storytelling in one book that truly delivers everything it promises. If you like Bridgerton, Agatha Christie, soft paranormal, and confident female leads, you'll probably like Belladonna. I cannot wait for the next book, Foxglove and I'm hoping there will be more to come after that too. I read this as a free digital ARC from netgalley, but I loved it so much I may need to buy a physical copy for my shelf. Plus again, the beautiful cover makes me want a physical copy too.
This book made me so excited! I have not felt this giddy about a book for a while.
Right from the prologue I was bewitched by this amazing story.
This book made me forget everything around me existed, I gave up sleep because I needed to finish the book to find out what happened! (I have 5 kids so usually need as much sleep as possible 🤣)
The story was so we written, I loved that it was set in victorian times, one of my favourite era's to read about. This book had mystery, friendship, coming of age, finding one's self, love and so much more!
The book follows Signa who was orphaned as a baby, she is passed from guardian to guardian as she grows. The story really begins when she is placed with the Hawthorns, a distant relative of her late mother.
Not is all as it seems at the Hawthorns home, Thorn Grove, but then Signa is not all she seems either. With the help of the Stable boy Signa gets to work at putting all the puzzle pieces together to solve the mystery!
This book will 100% be going down as a 2022 top 5 book ❤️
I didn’t realise I needed a gothic fantasy death romance in my life until this.
I loved how the plot intrigue starts early so I was super hooked but I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT THE CLIFFHANGER DAMN IT.
Signa and Death have such good chemistry, I loved their banter but they also had such adorable moments together.
The romance- immaculate
The plot- exquisite
The characters- sublime
The mystery- phenomenal
Adalyn Grace has some of the best descriptions I’ve ever read and I will forever read everything and anything she writes because I adore it every time.
A beautifully written book. Really enjoyed reading this. Thanks to publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read
Gosh this book was phenomenal! There genuinely isn't a single thing I didn't love. I loved Signa, I loved Death, I loved Sylas, Elijah, Blythe, Percy, I loved the lot of them. I wish i could read this book for the first time again. Bravo.
Wow. This is my first Adalyn Grace book, I've yet to read All The Stars and Teeth (though I've been meaning to for so long!!)
This book was incredible. A mix of fantasy, murder mystery contemporary, it was amazing. I love the world and Signa and Deaths relationship! The plot was so well done and my gosh, that e n d i n g!!!!
I hope there's a book two? I need a book two.. The book was well rounded and the main plots were filled but the last chapter?! Don't leave me hanging for that one!
A book that did not disappoint at all, with its beautiful cover and intriguing synopsis, Belladonna was an exceptionally well-done murder mystery-fantasy story. It truly delivered on its promise of a setting infused with a dark, gothic atmosphere.
A lavish manor invaded by ghosts, the dead wife of the owner of that house, and her daughter sick and seemingly destined for the same fate.
UNTIL...of course the entry of our main character, Signa Farrow. An orphaned young girl who can never die and walks the thin line between life and death. She can talk to ghosts and under the right circumstances, also talk to Death himself.
And the mystery was AMAZING. There were ghosts involved, poison, and a business empire falling apart. There are some good reveals (rich people have a lot of baggage from past flings) and it makes for fun speculation and *gasps out loud* moments.
Furthermore, there's the magic system which I found intriguing. There's not a very clear explanation as to why Signa has these powers. But when you're not involved in the mystery, the book keeps your attention as Signa explores her magic, what it can't, its limit. This also leads her to question what she wants with her life.
She is not happily trying to make herself fit into the tedious high society and its etiquette. We see how exhausted she is by posing and lying because she's never been brought up like that.
The writing is atmospheric. The side characters are also five-star worthy. My queen Blythe (Signa's cousin) could be my IRL bestie.
This is so beautifully written and full of intrigue, romance, and gothic tones!
Signa, the main character, was a stand-out! She is gifted with the ability to see spirits and Death (which is an actual character). Signa is bold and has an incredible sharp wit and lovable nature to her, practically coming to life before your eyes as you read through her POV. She is as layered as the plot. I loved the expert plot twists the author intertwined with the story, the unfolding of the mysteries well-paced and composed. It is dark and compelling.
I wish there were more books like this! I have been searching for a read like this; a Gothic mystery that's historical fiction, and Adalyn Grace has written something that is so satiable and ticks every box. I am super delighted to know that there is a sequel to come! Exquisite, macabre, and tender.
Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for this eARC in exchange for an honest review
Usually when I ship a character with death it's cause I want them gone. In this case, I was shipping a character with death and was rooting for her to get the love and admiration she deserved and honestly I've not shipped this hard in a while!
I loved how the book was made up of a bunch of different plot points that all intersected really well; a mystery, a romance, a girl trying to figure out how she fits in society as well as juggling her fledgling powers. All of that against the backdrop of a historical, high society, setting.
This kept me guessing, kept me intrigued. It took me a month to read because it's been a busy few weeks but it goes to note that I kept coming back to this book. I did correctly guess one plot point and I was so thrilled with myself. Honestly gasped.
It's lowkey giving Kingdom of the Wicked vibes but ... dare I say, better?? I am so excited for the sequel now!
This book was simply breathtaking. Belladonna is a mix of everything, fantasy, romance, Gothic, murder mystery. It's been such a long time since I've read a Gothic romance but Belladonna was such a breath of fresh air. Set in the 1850's/60's it follows the story of Signa Farrow, an orphaned girl that is passed from relative to relative all out to claim a part of her inheritance. But wherever Signa goes, death seems to follow (literally). Signa has the uncanny ability to see spirits and Death himself. When her aunt dies, Signa is summoned to Thorn Grove where she has the opportunity to utilize her strange abilities to help the people around her.
As a title character Signa was wonderful. You really feel the story through her voice. She is a brave and impulsively smart protagonist but at the center of her being is the longing for family, love and identity. The voice of her character fit the overall tone of the story and made it all the more compelling.
The genre of Gothic-fantasy is a difficult one but Adalyn Grace does a spectacular job of incorporating a little bit of everything. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing what's next.
Thank you Netgalley for this e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Review will be posted to my Goodreads now and to my Instagram (krisreadstt) a month before publication.
Really interesting and rare concept, strong contemptible heroine and dark interesting male lead. Really enjoyed and left me desperate for the next one
Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for this eARC of Belladonna
I absolutely loved this novel, I was highly anticipating it once it was announced and boy was I not disappointed.
I loved the prologue of this novel, it was different and dark and I loved where that little intro was going.
The characters were all built up in a fantastic way and I actually loved the portrayal of Death.
His and Signa's relationship fascinatined me and I loved how the story developed for her.
The world building is at its finest and the ending! Talk about a cliffhanger!
I can't wait for book two, however we have to wait another year for it.
I highly recommend this novel.. In fact I have it on preorder TWICE!
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free eARC in exchange for an honest review!
Okay, I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did, but guys, it is worth the hype that I have been seeing for it!! If this is one of your most anticipated releases for the year, I don't think you'll be disappointed!
This was so captivating; it hooked me right from the prologue and did not let me go. Adalyn Grace has a beautiful, lyrical, rich prose that at the same time is so easy to read, and I just got lost in this story, I did not want it to end! I was desperate to keep reading and to know what was going to happen. The mystery and intrigue of Thorn Grove were completely immersive. The vibes are truly immaculate. If you love gothic tales with haunted houses, poisonings, secret gardens, shadowy woods, things that go bump in the night - but in a way that isn't horror or truly scary, you should read this book.
There is a very beautiful portrayal of death and the afterlife in this book, with many different beliefs being taken into account and showing how they can all coexist; that was probably one of my favourite parts of the whole book.
Speaking of favourite parts... THE ROMANCE. I saw someone compare the romance to Kingdom of the Wicked, and while I haven't read that book yet, I do know what that romance is and I can confirm it does seem to be along the same lines. The romance between our main character Signa, and Death, was just stunning. It was definitely the guy-falls-harder trope, and you see Death, this feared, hated entity as his true gentle, quiet self, and I just loved them together. The chemistry was perfect, everything about them was perfect.
Signa is a fantastic main character. She is stubborn but protective, and desperate to find a stable home after being passed around many different guardians her entire life. You see how she is torn between being her true self and the expectations of 1800s society that she must adhere to, and then the amazing character growth as she comes to accept herself for who she is. There are many great, well-layered and distinctive side characters who you can't help but feel for and loving.
The book ends on a cliffhanger, and there are many questions left unanswered, but by the end I still felt satisfied with the answers we were given, and intrigued to read the sequel and find out the answers we don't yet know. I am absolutely desperate to read the sequel right now, and I am so frustrated to have to wait over a year for FOXGLOVE.
I would definitely, definitely recommend this book, for anyone who loves gothic romance, murder mystery, high society, and beautiful writing!
Wonderfully unputdownable! From the first page I was hooked, I love the narrative its easy but also incredibly engaging. The dark and macabre vibes is everything that I look for in a book.
This book follows the story of Signa who was the only survivor of a poisoning at a high class ball, she finds ways to ingest the highly poisonous Belladonna in order to summon Death and challenge him! HIGHLY recommend, easy 5*
What an utterly fabulous read!
Signa, who has an infinity with Death, has been passed from guardian to guardian after their strange deaths and finds herself at Thorn Grove with her uncle Elijah and cousins, Percy and Blythe.
Blythe has a mystery illness, the same illness that killed her mother and Signa wants to investigate and finds help in 2 unlikely places.
'You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it’s time that you burn.'
Now I can't say too much about the plot apart from I thought I knew how this was going to turn out. I was sure I knew how this was going to turn out (and I was smug about it!!) But I was wrong, so wrong! Fantastic twist!
So here we go with my list of loves.....
~ Loved Sylas,
~ Loved Blythe,
~ Thaddeus is my kind of guy!
~ Loved Death (he's a saucy minx!!)
So here we have an historical whodunnit with lonely souls finding each other and families reunited.
Superb. And that cover is just gorgeous. I can't wait to see what happens next! I already know Foxglove will be another hit!
Not gonna lie, this was a cover buy for me. I love a pretty cover and then i read that it was a dark, romantic, Victorian murder mystery I was SOLD. This book is utter perfection. It features a romance with death. This book had some of my favourite things to read about. I love Adalyn's books they always amaze me.
Five stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This book did not disappoint. Absolutely breathtaking. I was so excited to be able to read this arc and it left me wanting MORE. Signa and Death were devastatingly addictive and the character development was amazing, so much detail. I can’t wait to read the sequel!
i loved this book, i was so lucky to be able to have the opportunity to read this via e-arc!! signa is everything i look for in a main protagonist, witty, compassionate and total bad ass. death made me fall in love with the character. death and signa's banter was a highlight of the book for me. this book is adalyn grace's love letter to literature and if you don't read it when it comes out you are missing out on something incredible!!
I went into this without reading the blurb and I am so glad I did, the cover caught my eye and the characters kept me reading. Helped me out of my reading slump and rejuvenated the fantasy genre for me.
Gothic Fantasy, Paranormal Spirits and a mysterious shadowed Reaper make the premises of this book perfect. The character descriptions and building were great and the love story between th MC and Death a perfect fantasy.
Some parts of the story were quessable, but the final plot twist I didn't see coming.
Of course there is a cliff hanger and another entity brought into the fold for the next installment.
A definet read for book lovers of Fantasy, Paranormal, Gothic and Spirit Relms.
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