I really sincerely enjoyed this book. I raced through it, much like its predecessor, while dreaming of fine jewels and lush dresses, as well as devious poisons.
The story kept me engaged, pulling me from page to page as Aselin’s arc accelerated and grew into her purpose.
“Captivating, descriptive, and overall pleasing to read, I strongly recommend…”
One of the things I enjoy most about reading a book by Pohlkamp is how easily she transports me to the Tudor era. The details of the people, the buildings, the surroundings are clearly well-researched but read so casually that you don’t even realize how much information you’re getting.
A gripping novel with strong historical hints…The prose is gorgeous…The plot is well imagined and skillfully written, with surprises that are hard to guess.
“It is one of those novels where you know you should utterly despise the lead character – but you find yourself rooting for her, even applauding her (deadly) skill! The novel is about ghastly methods of murder – but it is delicious fun!”
– Discovering Diamonds Reviews – Book of the Month Selection, September 2018
“One of the most dramatic endings I have ever read. Highly recommended.”
“The inherently high stakes of Lavinia’s profession, coupled with the danger of her rapid rise in notoriety, make for a page-turning plot. Add to that a one-sided love affair with the local lawman, and you have a recipe for a cracking good read. This book drew me in unlike any other in a long time.”
“I got chills reading this book, it was that good.”
-Sam’s Teens Reads Corner: Watch the full VLOG
I knew the protagonist was poisoning people, but the author did a crafty job of keeping this reader behind Lavinia, despite the crimes…The plotting and character development required skill and abilities that all writers could learn from…As the climax drew near, I couldn’t put the book down, desperate to know what Fate and Faith had devised. Who would choose to play chess with Poison?
Wow. Just wow. From the first few pages it was apparent that K.M. Pohlkamp is incredibly talented in her craft. The writing flowed in such great fashion, it was an easy thing to get lost in the story entirely. I would compare the writing style to some of the NYT bestsellers we see today.
K.M. Pohlkamp’s debut novel grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let go….Each chapter left the right amount of interest to keep me turning pages, and the ending was the icing on the poison spiked cake.
The author has a really interesting way of writing the narrative so intimately that you feel as if you walk in Lavinia’s shadow…Apricots and Wolfsbane is an impressive debut novel, with some genuine surprises and some very dark elements which make for fascinating reading.
“This historical fiction has beautifully descriptive writing, it’s very easy to get lost in the flow of words. I really enjoyed Lavinia Maud’s character as a 16th century poison mistress, the ultimate anti-hero I’ve never urged someone on to kill so much before.”
“If you liked Nevernight by Jay Kristoff I think if you will really like Apricots and Wolfsbane. It’s not as gory and gritty in fact she is quite the sophisticated killer, which I enjoyed.”
One should never condone murder, but, strangely, I rooted for Lavinia. Pohlkamp made her easily understandable, despite her odd sense of morality. She had to survive in a time period dominated by men…Her dark obsession with poison, her love for the magistrate, Haylan Moryet, and her belief in God turn the narrative into something fascinating and substantial that powers the heart of the story.
Apricots and Wolfsbane is a darkly funny tale that sends an important message even as it winks at the reader along the way. Lavinia is alone in a world that is not friendly to women without a father or a husband. Her choice of profession may be eyebrow-raising, but her justification turns her into a sympathetic character.
The seductive and hypnotic style of writing pulls the reader deep into the story of this murderess and turns this journey of sin, obsession and murder into a pleasant ride. Pohlkamp is a magician with words, so smooth and seductive that will make readers fall for her novel like clockwork.
The originality of the plot is a breath of fresh air in the world of historical thrillers and the level of suspense is enough to make any heart skip a few beats.
K.M. Pohlkamp’s gothic story becomes darker as Lavinia’s ambition leads her on a journey from which there can be no return. Her experiments are unhindered by concern for her victims, and she admits the poisoner’s reward is the look of surprised understanding in the eyes of a doomed victim. Written in the first person, the atmospheric undertones and fast pace make this a book which is hard to put down.
~ Tony Riches, author of the Tudor Trilogy
Delicious. Apricots and Wolfsbane is a unique thriller packed with impressive research into historical poisons. Fast-paced, grim, and darkly funny, Pohlkamp’s prose are intoxicating.
~ Jessica Cale, author of Tyburn
Accolades for “Apricots and Wolfsbane!” This is not my usual genre, however, I enjoyed the novel immensely. The story kept me on my toes with the action and the plot twists.
~ Lisa Orchard, author of The Super Spies and The Starlight Chronicles.
As an avid reader and writer of historic fiction there aren’t too many topics which surprise me. Pohlkamp’s tale of Lavinia Maud, Poison Master of the 16th century, drew me in and tossed me around. Could I really side with a murderess? Hope that the stubborn priest would hear her confession? The suspense of this tale had me looking over my shoulder for the ghosts of her victims.
~ Robin Martinez Rice, author of Imperfect and Hidden Within the Stones