Book Highlight: The Poison Garden by A.J. Banner

book highlight the poison garden aj banner
Book Review: The Poison Garden by A. J. Banner

Title: The Poison Garden

Author: A. J. Banner

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: October 22, 2019

Genre: Thriller

A woman’s idyllic life becomes a deceptive hall of mirrors in a thriller of exquisitely constructed psychological suspense by A. J. Banner, bestselling author of The Good Neighbor.

Elise Watters seems to have it all—a blissful marriage, a gorgeous Victorian home surrounded by lush gardens, and a dream job running her late mother’s herbal boutique.

But on the eve of her first wedding anniversary, Elise makes a shocking discovery that turns her life upside down and casts doubt on everything she thought she knew—about her marriage, her friends, and even herself. As she treads into dangerous territory, Elise is forced to wonder: Is her whole future at stake? Or is paranoia getting the best of her?

If she is to believe what she sees, Elise has every reason to fear for her life…

Why This Book

In The Poison Garden, Elise lives in her late mother’s house and runs her late mother’s herb shop, concocting things like lotions and salves using the bounty from the garden. This was one twisty thriller where some things made sense, other things even made me question myself and what I understood, and I was left a little breathless as the story wound towards it’s conclusion. There’s definitely a garden in this book, one used for mostly innocuous things. But there’s a certain plant that must be dealt with carefully, because not everything grown in this garden is good. This book just jumped out at me the moment I settled on this month’s theme, not just because of the title, but because I remember Elise stumbling through the garden in the dark, either sleepwalking or running, and it always made me feel a little anxious for her.


My review: “The Poison Garden tells a really twisted story. It asks whether you truly know someone. I loved not knowing what was going on and where the story was going”

PhDiva said “A.J. Banner played with memory a lot in this book, as well as sleep. Elise has a sleep-walking habit which I found to be an interesting element. She was never entirely at grips with herself and what she has done, which led to that unsettling feeling that permeates the story”

Always With a Book said “The paranoia does get a bit much at times, but it was warranted nonetheless. And the plants and garden were interesting”

Book Obsessed Introverts gave this 4 stars, saying “The Poison Garden was a fun thriller to read on a cold autumn weekend. It’s full of suspense and intrigue that keeps the reader on their toes until the last shocking twist”

Colloquium said “Elise is still grieving the loss of her mother. She has continued operating her mother’s beloved herb shop, the Clary Sage, in order to honor her. Her mother left behind journals detailing how she created medicinal teas, salves and tinctures, but Elise is a licensed pharmacist, grounded in science. So she has diversified, adding gift items to the inventory in recognition that her mother’s “intuitive approach to healing” does not come naturally to her. Her mother warned her about the power of some of the herbs she used, including a mysterious and particularly dangerous plant she named the Juliet”

Where the Reader Grows gave this 2 stars, saying “While still entertained, this one jumped the shark a bit and I kind of wish I had been dosed with some Juliet”

Kheniadis gave this 2 stars, saying “There are two reasons I’m giving The Poison Garden two stars instead of one. The first is because of the ending. I wasn’t shocked since there were so few characters, I knew this one was knee deep in the drama. But I didn’t see all of the pieces surrounding this character until the author exposed them, so for that, the book got a bit better”

Purchase Links

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Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.

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