Belladonna

Narrated by Kristin Atherton
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Pub Date 30 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 30 Aug 2022
Hodder & Stoughton Audio, Hodder & Stoughton

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Description

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 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.

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.

(P) 2022 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

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...


Advance Praise

'A deliciously deadly Gothic romance' Stephanie Garber, Sunday Times bestselling author of Once Upon a Broken Heart

'A deliciously deadly Gothic romance' Stephanie Garber, Sunday Times bestselling author of Once Upon a Broken Heart


Available Editions

EDITION Audiobook, Unabridged
ISBN 9781529367256
PRICE £21.99 (GBP)
DURATION 13 Hours, 14 Minutes

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (AUDIO)

Average rating from 60 members


Featured Reviews

Thank you Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

A gothic-infused romantic mystery. It was a first for me to pick up something in this genre and boy am I glad I did!

A slow-burn romance between the female main character and Death. This screamed Penny Dreadful at me from the first page and I was sold. In the Victorian era, we follow Signa Fallow, a girl who can't die. Not that she didn't try to... As a result, she meets death quite a lot as those around her die, and only she can see him. The ghostly and atmospheric world enveloped me, the chemistry between Signa and her love interest was decadent…

Sigma herself is a delightful character. She's stubborn but protective, desperate to find the place she belongs after being passed from guardian to guardian her entire life. She arrives with her remaining family at Thorn Grove, a grand estate with a dark past and a mystery she is determined to solve.

I am 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.

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Think this could be my favourite book of the year so far! It’s a gothic horror where death is a character and our main female protagonist cannot die. We follow Signa as she moves In with relatives and she tries to solve a murder and save her cousin, all while dealing with death and a stable boy who have turned her head. I loved this book and I had pretty much given up on ya/ new adult fantasy. I loved all the twists and the characters were very well developed . I will actually pick up the sequel!

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I think fantasy mystery might be a new favourite genre, and when you add in the gothic and paranormal *chef’s kiss*

Signa Farrow is Cursed. She is known as the cursed orphan as everyone who adopts her dies. Signa slowly realises that she cannot die, and can see and speak to spirits.

Signa is sent to live with her last remaining relatives She consumes the deadly belladonna berries to summon death to help her save her last remaining relatives, The Hawthorne’s as the daughter Blythe is dying from a mysterious illness. Signa must team up with death to find out who’s hurting the members of her family and why before it’s too late.

Chapter 43 is 😱🤯 That twist got me. Literally sat there with my jaw open for a good 2 minutes. so so good and unexpected. The whole mystery was executed so well, I can tell I’m going to be thinking about this book for a long time and I need the next book immediately.

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Regency vibes meet fantasy epic. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so enthralled and invested in a book as this one! I loved it from the very first chapter and each page succeeded in drawing me in more and more.

Skirting the lines of life and death, Signa finds herself followed by death wherever she goes. A series of unfortunate events follows in her wake, with many of her guardians meeting perishing ends until she reaches her new household and vows to not let it happen again.

She quickly draws close to her cousins, but when a mysterious poisoning case is afoot, it’s up to Signa to find out who’s doing it and save the life of her cousin. All the while, death is creeping in the background, but he’s not quite the dark, malevolent force that Signa feared he was…

Seriously this book was so addicting and I couldn’t put it down. Also amazingly narrated (I had the audiobook) and I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know more. And after the ending, I definitely want more and more books in this series!

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Mysteriously magical and fully hypnotically haunting, this entrancing and engulfing tale had me leaning closer and closer to the pages the more I read. It was like from the very first page my mind drifted into the world like a mist into a valley, and before I even knew it I have drifted so far that I couldn’t imagine anything but the death, love, mystery and pure intrigue this book had wrapped around my imagination.

The writing style is like that of some of the best authors I’ve read! It flows like the calmest downward stream, and mixed in with the beautiful writing style it truly hypnotises you like a poison that has taken hold of your entire body.
I would compare it to the likes of Gallant, the Invisible life of Addie Larue, and Little Thieves, with the way in which you interact with that that is not of this world and yet knotted with a mystery that needs to be discovered in such a way that you have to read every single page as if it’s the last.
This book truly is a masterpiece and there is really nothing else more to say about my love for it except that I have already messaged Hodder expressing how I absolutely must have the sequel Foxglove as soon as it hits their desk, and when you read this book I have no doubt your response will be the same.

Love, death, and mystery that will haunt your dreams for nights to come but in the best kind of way.

I partly read this book through an early audible copy, which I have to say the voice just had me fully entranced and made the story come to life in such a magical and haunting way that I was gripped by every single second of listening to it, to the point that I may have forgotten what I was doing while listening to it a lot more than I would want to admit. The reading of it in one word was perfect. I would highly recommend the audiobook, the book, and every single edition you can get your hands on.

A massive thank you to Hodder and Kate for sending me an early copy of not just the arc but also the early audiobook, I am so in love with this book and so grateful that I got to read it early, and learn how much I love it so I can order the Barnes and Nobles version now just so I can have as many beautiful versions as possible on my shelf.

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Thank you NetGalley for the free audio in exchange for an honest review.

First things first, this is narrated beautifully. It was so much fun to listen to! Not a single bad thing to say about the narrator! Loved it!

Now onto the book itself... If you loved the vibes from Gallant, you'll likely love the vibes in this book too. There's a sort of dark layer of magic woven through the whole novel and it is just so gorgeously done. I loved all of the little details about where life and death met and how spirits in this world acted and reacted.

Signa feels both familiar and brand new to me. She has so many familiar and easy to love traits from other books I've read and adored (her determination and the way she views and talks about death and poisons) whilst remaining fresh and fun to read about.

And whilst we're talking about the MC... What a way to introduce her. This book begins with such an epic opening and I was immediately hooked by it. It was just so fantastically done and I loved how it showed so much with such little space in which to do it.

The best part about the beginning being so good is that this book manages to keep that level up throughout the rest of the novel. With ghosts, poisonings and betrayals, this book definitely kept me hooked all the way through! Even though I had guessed every twist (a common thing for me) I loved watching it unfold. It all fell into place so wonderfully.

And I am definitely eager to get my hands on the next one in the series!

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4.5 stars



Audio review; Great narrator. Really engaging delivery. Plenty of nuance with the characters.



Review: This is a great twist on the Death and the Maiden folktale, woven together with a semi historical murder mystery. I rarely ship characters, I'm not a romance first reader, but I found myself rooting for Sigma and Death all the way. The worldbuilding was interesting; basically a sort of quasi 18/19th C England in terms of style, mores and manners, but with race and sexuality removed from the list of restrictions. Not sure it counts as representation but it definitely makes for a friendlier reading experience (as long as you don't look too closely at issues such as making a good marriage - the end result of such a union being to produce children who belong to both families.)



I really liked Sigma. She was a refreshing combination of clever and kind, with a certain uneasiness due to her uncertain upbringing. I especially liked the bond she formed with her sick cousin Blythe, and her willingness to embrace people as family.



If I have any criticism here, it's that this book was a shade too long for what it was. However the ghost story, fantasy elements, engaging characters and fun set up more than made up for that. Really enjoyed it - recommend if you want a fantasy read with a hint of 'Hades and Persephone' retelling. (And if you like Death and the Maiden type stories, Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavett is an unsung masterpiece.)

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A huge thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this eArc!

I’m so so glad I read this book, this is genuinely my favourite read so far as of 2022!! A gothic mystery surrounding a family and the death of a mother and her slowly dying child, our main character must find out what is killing the members of this family, whilst also meeting death herself.

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Thank you Netgalley and publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit that this was one of my most anticipated reads of this year, so when I had the opportunity to claim a copy I was soooooooo excited, and this delicious gothic fantasy didn’t disappoint.

Signa Farrow has been plagued by death all her life, orphaned at birth, Signa is passed from one obscure, hideous family member to the next, each guardian meeting an untimely end, to the point the Signa believes she has been cursed by death itself. But Signa has another secret, she cannot die. After an unfortunate accident involving her aunt, Signa is given into the guardianship of the Hawthorn family, for Signa, it’s like her dreams have come true, finally, she will be introduced to society, but the Hawthorns have a secret of their own. Hoping to unlock the mystery of the illness that is plaguing the women of Thorn Grove, Signa embraces her darkness with death at her side.

I loved this standalone novel by Adalyn Grace, it was full of strong female characters, and I loved the building of friendship between Signa and her cousin, and the slow-burn romance with Death.
I would recommend this book to anyone that loves a slow-burn fantasy romance.

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'"You are no soft thing to be coddled...You are bolder then the sun, Signa Farrow, and its time that you burn."'

This was such a brilliant combination of fantasy, mystery, paranormal and regency-style romance.

Orphaned as a baby, Signa has been passed from relative to relative, each more interested in her wealth then her before they find untimely ends. Signa fears she is cursed by Death, his shadows relentlessly following her, so when she gets sent to live with her remaining relatives, she refuses to lose another one to him. Which is easier said than done when it appears that her late-aunt could have died under mysterious circumstances, her cousin has an illness that doctors can't figure out, her uncle is finding solace at the bottom of the bottle and her aunts restless spirit haunts the house, demanding Signa solve her death before it's too late for her other family members.
Her best bet is to make an alliance with death himself, and to put her trust in a handsome stableboy to figure out the mysteries and dark history of Thorn Grove before time runs out for her cousin.

I really enjoyed the world Adalyn Grace has created here, and I loved the depth and personalities of the characters and how their relationships played out. This was a wonderful mystery that kept you on your toes, wrapped up in Regency proprierty and a girl who just wants to find a family, home and acceptance for who she is.

I really enjoyed the narrator of this Audio book, I thought she dis a fantastic job or pacing and infusing each character with their own personality- it was a real delight to listen to!

I can't wait for the next one!

***Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC or this audio book in exchange for and honest review ***

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Thank you to Adalyn Grace, NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an audiobook arc in exchange for a review.

Belladonna is a romantic gothic-infused fantasy, which follows our main character Signa Farrow, a girl who cannot die and has always been able to see dead spirits and Death himself. We follow Signa as she tries to solve a murder mystery case to save her cousin, whilst also coming to terms with who she really is and the fact that she has deadly powers of her own.

I loved everything about this book. I loved all the of the characters and especially enjoyed the development of a romantic relationship between Signa and Death.

“You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it’s time that you burn.”

This book is beautifully written and I cannot wait to get my hands on a Hardcover copy when released. Going as far to say that Belladonna has been my favourite read for this year so far!

I would like to commend the narrator of this audiobook, Kristin Atherton, for her beautiful narration and performance which had me fully immersed in this world and keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. I honestly can’t wait for the sequel, Foxglove, to see what next mystery Signa will need to solve.

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I don't even know where to begin as I just loved every single word in this book!

Let me introduce you Signa Farrow, a nineteen-year- old girl that was orphaned as a baby and raised by a chain of questionable guardians, more interested in her inheritance than anything else. Eventually, her only choice is family of Hawthornes, as every other guardian have met a suspicious end to their lives.

At first, it looks like a historical book about a lonely girl that wants to be more than the money that comes with her name. She dreams about a husband, home, parties and friends. Yet, there is catch, Signa can see spirits and, most importantly, Death himself. And even though young woman hated this part of herself, it turned out to be quite helpful talent after a visit from a spirit of Lillian, a late lady of Thorn Grove, who died from mysterious illness that is about to take her daughter's life too. Lillian asks Signa to save sick girl, but to do so - she must solve a murder, as the sickness turns out to be poison. So, with the help of Sylas, a surly stable boy, and Death himself, Signa dives into family's affairs to save them.

I loved to see Signa to grow from this lonely girl to a strong woman. I found her very relatable, especially the wish to fit with society, yet not understanding why there is so many rules for it, as just being yourself seemed not to be good enough.

Also, I loved Death! He just made sense. When you read the scene about friends and scones - you will understand what I mean. He is endearing, mysterious, sarcastic and brutally honest. I found that combination absolutely fascinating.

Then there is Sylas, a bit harsh around the edges, but quite charming once he let his guard down. Yet, I knew from early on what was his deal. But I was so busy claping myself on the back for it that I completely missed all the clues about the murder. Well, all except one, but I can't tell you about that!

To sum all this up, I will be recommending this book to anyone who will listen. It was the best read of 2022! Just can't wait for book 2!

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When I tell you that I was obsessed??? I mean it! Honestly, I thought I was moving on from fantasy because the last few of my fantasy reads ended up disappointing me but Belladonna brought me right back! 😍
The vibes of this book are IMMACULATE. I could picture everything that Grace wrote and it felt like I was watching through Signa's eyes. The writing is so beautiful, and the romance is amazing!
Here's where I want to mention that I got the audiobook for this and the narrator has honestly done such an amazing job with all the different accents and voices. It made my experience all the more enjoyable.

The ending is so well set up that I am already eagerly waiting for the sequel when Belladonna isn't even out yet. Rest assured, I am going to buy this book once it comes out because the cover is stunning!

I highly recommend it if you are someone who's into gothic, dark fantasy set in (presumably) the Victorian Era.

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Belladonna is one of the best YA fantasy’s I’ve read in a very long time. The story is about 19 year old Signa who cannot die, and can also see Death. For most of her life she hates and ignores him because the people around her keep dying and she blames him. But when Signa finds herself in a new home where a relative of hers is close to dying, she realised that she might just have to stop ignoring Death and start getting his help.

I received an audiobook arc for this and Kristin Atherton did an incredibly job. Her voice acting added so much to the story and her voicing for Death had me constantly swooning 😂

One thing I really loved about this book was how while there was some societal expectations that you’d assume from a book set in the 1800’s, the author removed all the nasty homophobia and racism which was so welcoming. While Singa was preparing to “debut” as people did back then, there was no one pressuring her into marrying and having children. Too often authors feel like they have to stick too true to the age that their books are set in and it honestly feels so unnecessary, but thankfully Adalyn Grace decided against that and made her wonderful book even more impressive in my eyes.

I can honestly see this book becoming the next big thing. It contains a lot of elements I see in hugely popular books, all while still being original. If you like books with gothic themes, love interests who try to empower their women and encourage them to be who they are, and main characters tapping into powers they had always refused to acknowledge, then I’m certain you’ll enjoy this book.

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“You are bolder than the sun, and its time that you burn.”

Would you rather than live forever, or rather live a life with love?

I am absolute dumbfound at how fantastic this was. This is definitely one of the best released books of 2022! The Goth literature is atmospheric and the ghastly ghost descriptions will make a shiver run through your spine, the settings described at Thorn Grove will make you feel like you live there and Deaths shadows will feel like your own. Magnificent prose. Absolute 5/5

Signa Farrow was orphaned as a young girl, and passed on from relative to relative only for the sake of knowing she has a massive inheritance to claim once she is 20. We follow her journey off as a lonely 19 year old who knows isolation well, and has a unnatural gift of seeing spirits. She also has the ability to see Death, who can communicate with her. Running from him ever since she can remember, she once again meets him when a wealthy uncle of hers invites her to come live at Thorn Grove. Her aunt, Lillian has recently died there, and now her cousin has taken ill as well. Signa knows Belladonna very well, and when she tastes it in her cousins medicine, she is determined to find out who is killing off the Hawthornes one by one. She gathers a string of accomplices to help her solve this, which includes their stable boy, the restless spirits at Thorn Grove, and even Death itself. Will she be able to save her cousin before Death has to intervene?

This book had a paranormal romance like no other. Death, just wow. I dare you not to fall in love with him. The banter, how softly he speaks to her and encourages her to be herself and not conform to the norm of society -* I get so weak in the kneeeeeesss*
It was absolute chef’s kiss! One of my favorite enemies to lovers I’ve seen in a while!

I listened to this on Audiobook which made it even more amazing, the narrator will draw you into this story and have you clinging to every word. There is also a not ONE but TWO plot twists which had me audibly gasping.

If this isn’t enough to convince you, let me tell you what Death reminded me off. Picture Luc from TILOAL mixed with Wrath from KOTW. YUP. That intriguing and amazing.

Do NOT sleep on this book! This is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley this ARC.

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Belladonna is the first in a new series by bestselling author Adalyn Grace ( All the Stars and Teeth).

Belladonna is a mesmerising, Gothic-inspired murder mystery with paranormal romantasy (think Gallant & Caraval meets Stalking Jack The Ripper).
It is a beautiful and chilling journey of secrets, betrayal, mystery, curses, death, desire and love.

Signa is an absolutely fascinating character - I loved following her story, her thoughts and feelings and experiences. The perfect protagonist and the perfect “detective” to guide us through this murder mystery and a slow burn, swoon worthy romance.

I can’t describe how captivating this story is - it is brilliant and clever; eerie but not scary; mysterious yet amusing. And it ends with a breathtaking, flabbergasting cliffhanger that will leave you desperate for the next book.

It’s definitely one of my favourites reads this year and one I’d like to return to again.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodderscape for my audiobook (and physical arc).

My review will be posted on my social media and relevant retailers too.

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Headlines:
Death is in the air
Family unwanted and found
Atmospheric

I read Belladonna by audio and physical copy because when I couldn't listen to audio, I needed to carry on with the story; it was unputdownable. The whole book oozed atmosphere from the early pages right to the end.

Signa was an unwanted ward, shunted around families who didn't want her but wanted her inheritance. Eventually, she found herself with an uncle and cousins who Signa actually felt some connection to. You know who else Signa had a connection to? Death...she saw the reaper whenever death was close or imminent. She hated him, wanted to be ignorant to Death's work and his presence that she felt in chilling ways. But over time, Death had a usefulness in helping solve an urgent mystery of poisoning. Signa came to understand Death and like him.

Death's character grew on me immensely and I think that was aided somewhat by the superb narration. Even though this was a single narrator, Kristin Atherton inhabited Death's character and voiced him so well. I was intrigued but wary of Silas and I was willing the new family in Percy and Blythe to show Signa the familial connection she was so neglected of. So much went on in Thorn Grove, parties, intrigue, business, death, poisoning and sleuthing.

The whole piece had a gothic feel, it was dark but not heavy. The writing was a joy, pulling you in while keeping you on your toes. This story finishes with a 'and then....' feeling and we have a title for a new book. There's plenty of wrapping up of plot however, so readers will feel okay with where this ends.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copies.

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I only finished this book the other day, but when I got approved for the audiobook, I was only too happy to dive in for the second time! I haven't finished listening yet, but the narrator is exquisite so far!

Onto the book itself:
This book was absolutely phenomenal! It was a perfect gothic story, and I loved it beginning till end. I have to admit the mystery kept me guessing until the end, which was a huge plus, and I utterly adored the romance in this one. I cannot wait for the sequel!

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This listening experience was an absolute pleasure.
Gothic Dark atmosphere, mysterious characters and elegant and wealthy settings, I simply did not want it to end and I'm sure it will stay with me for a long while. This should come with a Book Hangover warning!

The plot is thrilling and kept me guessing right up to the final pages and the epilogue was equally brilliant and I cant wait for the release of the next in the series.
Signa's journey from Orphaned child to debuting Lady is one full of regency and desperation. Desperation to evade death. I enjoyed following her finding her place in society whilst discovering the mystery of the Hawthorne household and dealing with death himself.
The scene setting and atmosphere was deliciously dark and eery, I thoroughly enjoyed the haunted and spooky household and the spirits that dwelled with in.

Its characters were all well developed to have meaning and significance to the story, each moving the story along and resonating with me, making me suspect each character and their actions in relation to the mystery of the story, I think at one point of the story I had suspected almost every character for one thing or another and I still didn't guess anything correctly!
I think this is helped along in the narration of this book, so well portrayed is Death by narrator Kristin Atherton, that I could not wait for him to appear more often and the varied tone and accent making characters easy to identify, and enjoy. Kristin's beautiful British accent lends to the believable setting of high society and wealth.

If you like a slow burn romance, gothic settings, ghosts and higher beings and a mystery this is not one to miss.
Hodder are absolutely knocking it out of the park! An outstanding publishing house supporting some absolutely amazing authors, its rare they release something I don't enjoy and this is no exception.

Belladonna has become my favourite read of the 2022. Thank you to Hodder, netGalley for allowing me an advanced copy of the Audiobook, by Adalyn Grace

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Now... I just want to start this by saying that I wasn't expecting to find a new FAVOURITE BOOK OF ALL TIME when I started reading this. Alas, it was meant to be.

Belladonna had me giggling and kicking my feet in the air for 80% of it and I just want to say... BUY THIS AND READ IT.

I would say this had Crimson Peak vibes, with a bit of KOTW and just immaculate murder mystery solving.

I sussed the murderer pretty quick but still had doubts because this book will have you pointing at everyone and anyone. It was super engaging to listen to (the narrator did an EXCELLENT job and I would like to thank her for her service.🥺)

Ummmm if you're a simple gal 😔who just likes simping over fictional men🥺 this is THE book for you❤️ 10000000/10

Anyway can't wait for the sequel(s?). I NEED it right now.

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Wow - this one had me hooked from the first chapter. I adored Signa, she was such a strong lead to follow. Determination and willingness are just some of the words to describe Signa. We follow Signa as she moves into another home of relations who will look after her till she comes of age, this has been happening since she was a young baby. A lot happens in this book, but the world-building explains everything when you need the information. Signa has to literally deal with all the death around her, while dealing with Death himself. This is an amazing start to what I am hoping is going to be an amazing series. I am so excited for the next installment already!

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Give Adalyn Grace an award immediately. This book deserves an award. I absolutely LOVED it. Steeped in mystery, this gothic infused world is so atmospheric and perfect for the upcoming spooky season. I literally couldn’t put it down.

The story follows Signa, a young woman who has been surrounded by death her whole life, quite literally. Signa has met Death himself after almost dying as a baby! She has been passed around the family, as each of her wards eventually die when she is around. It's a problem. She eventually ends up at Thorn Grove, where her remaining Hawthorne family members live. However, mystery shrouds the whole estate, the owner, grieving his dead wife, throws parties to try and drown his sorrows. The daughter is fighting a very mysterious illness that no one knows how to cure. Signa puts it upon herself to solve the mystery, with the help of death and the spirit of the late Hawthorne wife.

A hypnotising, mystical story that will have you hooked from the very first pages.

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Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and Net Galley for access to an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Morally grey female character, female friendship, empowerment narrative, and a murder mystery, all wrapped up in Victorian-esque setting with a fairy tale narrative style.

I'm not usually one for Death-and-the-Maiden stories, nor heterosexual romances. Belladonna, howver, blew me away. Signa is a well-rounded and understandable character, whose choices actively drive the narrative. She makes mistakes, or morally ambiguous choices, and deals with the consequences while the narrative itself does not judge her. I'm a HUGE fan of morally grey female characters, and Signa's corruption arc and embracement of her own power, with the unwavering support of Death, was an incredibly enjoyable read that left me thoroughly invested. I genuinely wanted to relisten to the whole book all over again immediately. The fact that it ends on a cliffhanger I have to wait over a year to resolve only destroyed me more.

The relationships between Signa and the other female characters really tied this book together, giving her a grounding beyond the male characters (most of whom were potential love interests). This was especially true of Blythe and her motivations surrounding her cousin.

The fact that this book is set in supposedly real-world Victorian times (England?) was a bit blind-siding, and I would have appreciated more worldbuilding for grounding, although the lack of anything but vibes in that department did lend itself to a dreamlike, fairy tale quality that was also thoroughly enjoyable.

Grace's writing style is captivating, melodic, and a perfect mix of fairy tale and YA fantasy, with a wonderful knack for turn of phrase. (Also, Thaddeus the ghost is brilliant representation of bookworms everywhere).

The narrator of the audiobook is brilliant, easy to listen to and engaging at every turn. Particular mention should be made of her voice as Death, who was equal parts unnerving and alluring.

Overall, incredibly dynamic characters and a driving murder mystery that I did not forsee the plot twist of at all. I will be buying a physical copy of this book as soon as it's out and recommending it to everyone I know.

5/5

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I loved this booked! It gives me bridgerton meets Addie larue meets paranormal murder mystery and I am here for it.

The characters are great, the plot twists are great and you don’t see them coming or if you do it’s right as it’s revealed.

The MC is likeable and you really empathise with her as she just wants to find her place in the world and have people around her.

The nickname little bird also was just perfect.

I listened to the audiobook and the narration was also fantastic.

Highly recommend.

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4.5 🌟

This YA fantasy book really surprised me! I got through it very quickly and was hooked.

The best way to describe this book is as Bridgerton but with ghosts. It takes place in the regency era, with the edition of Signa being able to see spirits. You see Singa grappling between meeting the expectations of a noble lady, versus her potential power, which goes against all she has strived towards. That gets made even harder by her growing connection with Death.

Death was definitely a highlight. @thiane_reads_sa described him as a mix of Wrath and Luc, and I couldn't agree more. Although I would also throw in a touch of Rhys in book 1. Yes, Death is a dangerous being, but he is actually such a cinnamon roll who cares for Signa deeply.

There were a couple of twists in this book which I never saw coming! It also gives you an interesting perspective of life and death, in that it is death that makes life valuable.

I listened to this on audiobook, and it's likely a reason why I loved it so much and got through it so quickly. The narrator's many voices really embody the regency era and kept me hooked.

Honestly I cannot fault this book. The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars was because It's not the usual type of book I love and can read over and over again. But I definitely know that people are absolutely going to fall in love with this book and I can't wait for book 2!

Thank you to @netgalley and @hodderscape for the audiobook Arc, which releases on 30 August.

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I loved this book so much! The narrator was fantastic, I could listen to her read 100 books and not get sick of her voice! The story was dark and haunting, yet beautiful and enchanting at the same time! I loved that it had fantasy elements mixed with a murder mystery storyline! The character’s were well written and likeable.. yet also relatable at times! This book was thrilling and had on the edge of my seat one minute, and the next tearing up with sorrow! I can’t wait to read the sequel to this fabulous tale!

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Goodness I loved this book! I Raced through the audio version in a couple of days. This was partly due to a pretty gripping storyline and the absolutely expert narration skills of Kristin Atherton.

This is a gorgeous, gothic, sexy murder mystery with the hottest embodiment of Death I’ve ever come across sitting at its heart!

Signa is an orphan who is apparently destined to bring Death with her wherever she goes but who apparently cannot die. Having run through most of the available guardians Signa finds herself sent to Thorn Grove, home of the elusive Hawthornes who are in mourning after the death of the lady of the house. Signa however, has learned that the berries of the belladonna plant will bring her to a place where she can speak with Death and she recognises poison when she sees it and thus begins an investigation that will not only reveal the dark goings on at Thorn Grove but also the truth of who and what Signa is and what she wants from her life.

Adalyn Grace has created a lush, sensuous world , rich in gothic atmosphere and redolent with sensuality and darkness. I loved it! Signa is an engaging occasionally Bolshie heroine who is fierce and strong willed and the mystery is genuinely compelling. I loved it. My only critique would be that Grace as an American author has those identified as English high Victorians use phrases and expressions that simply do not sit well in the period. For example, Victorians did not say OK or pydchoanalyse themselves but I am a historical accuracy nitpicker and this does not detract from the overall enjoyment that this wonderful book gives!

It is great fun and feels like the beginning of a series and I hope it is! Kristen Atherton’s narration is flawless as ever - I listened to this this ensconced the East Riding of Yorkshire and I could not have been

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“Don’t say my name,” Signa told him. “Upon Death’s tongue, it sounds like a curse.”
He laughed. “Your name is no curse, Little Bird. I just like the taste of it.”

Signa Farrow has been followed by Death her whole life. Her parents and their entire household were poisoned when she was a baby but, somehow, Signa survived. Since her grandmother’s death when she was a child, Signa has been shuffled from one uncaring guardian to another, constantly fearful of Death’s shadow upon her life, wishing for a day when she will again be loved and no longer alone.
When her latest guardian’s death brings her to Thorn Grove and the Hawthorne family, Signa is cautiously optimistic - could this be the family she has yearned for? Could she belong here?
But Death stalks these halls as well, and if Signa cannot master her mysterious gifts quickly, and find out what is making her cousin so sick, she may lose the only family she has left.

This book. THIS BOOK. I have grinned, laughed, and felt like crying for Signa, and Death, and so many of the characters in Belladonna. I adored them.

Signa and her powers - which she is determined to master, despite her fear that they will continue her ostracisation from society - were intriguing. I felt like the identity and motives of everyone in this story came into question at some point, and I spent most of the book suspecting the wrong person - which I love!

Signa’s character development and her journey to realise that perhaps her grandmother had presented an idealised version of her mother was heartbreaking, but I loved seeing her slowly accept herself and all that she is.
Similarly I adored that Blythe was so forthright in her determination to belong to no one but herself, and how her perspective gave Signa an insight into what the life she thought she wanted might look like.

The audiobook of this title was fantastic. I adored the way the narrator portrayed Signa and Death, especially, and actually switched from mostly reading the book to mostly listened to the audio after a while because it really added an extra dimension to the story. I would thoroughly recommend it.

I am so excited for the annotated chapters available as a preorder incentive - you should absolutely preorder this for that extra content alone, you’re going to want it. And I cannot wait for the sequel, Foxglove, which is hopefully being released next year.

Belladonna is beautiful and haunting. It is not a story you will soon forget.

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"... for Death came only where he was called."
~Adalyn Grade, Belladonna

I loved the All The Stars and Teeth duology - pirates, adventures of the sea and a strong female protagonist made for an epic adventure and so of course wanted to read Belladonna too as soon as I saw it!

Belladonna is very different the the previous duology and I love this book even more! The story was everything I imagined and so much more! It's set in the Victorian era and a murder mystery. with the two main characters 'Signa Farrow' and 'Death' himself teaming up to solve the murders. Both characters are something special and I have a particular sweet spot for Death and his shadowy self! From the very beginning I was caught up into Signa's journey and how both death of others and death himself followed her. I loved how the use of Belladonna was woven into this story of death. The Victorian setting and the Thorn Grove estate are perfect for the weird and wonderful story that takes place - think beautiful gardens, high teas, fancy ballrooms and dances and the usual gossipy chatter that accompanies all those things. But underneath all the splendour lies dark and disturbing secrets and Signa has no choice but to get caught up in it as she struggles not to lose anyone else who is close to her. Thorn Grove has already suffered the loss of the mistress of the house and the daughter's mystery illness indicates she's not long away from death too.

So Signa's hatred of Death has to be put aside (kind of) if she's to solve the murder and prevent more death.
Their interactions together create a whirlwind of a story I fell in love with. Signa's vulnerability, her loneliness, her alienation, her acceptance of her disastrous fate - all heavily dictates how she goes about her life. But now Signa has a family to save and a killer to find, so she steps out of her comfort zone and teams up with a handsome stableman, and forms an alliance with Death! Through this journey she learns of a different path open to her if she's brave enough! I can't wait for their next adventure!

Adalyn's melodious prose is hypnotic! The story has a gothic vibe and it's deliciously dark, seductive, witty and wonderfully told!

The audiobook has the perfect narrator for this story!

Thank you to @hodderscape for the audiobook arc of Belladonna by @authoradalyngrace 😍📚 This review is my honest opinion.

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ughghghhht i am enchanted by this story!!!!!!! it is brilliant from begginning to end. signa has my heart and soul, i love her so much

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