What a truly amazing mix of modern America and elements of Greek Mythology. Briseis is a young black girl living in New York with her adoptive mothers. She just wants to live a normal life, but unfortunately, she is hiding a secret that makes her very different from her friends. She is able to make plants grow, but not in a natural way; when Briseis comes across a dying plant she can bring it back to life in a matter of seconds. Whilst this might prove useful as her parents are florists, this also has a downside and means she keeps her distance from her peers. When she receives news that she has inherited a house and grounds from her birth mother, Briseis and her family move to this new environment. What follows leads to the discovery of a poison garden, unearthing ancient mysteries and realizing that her power with plants is part of her family heritage. However, someone is determined to uncover a hidden secret and they are willing to do anything to achieve their end; it is down to Briseis and her friends to solve the mystery.
This fantastic story quite literally seemed to ‘grow’ on me. Briseis is a young girl who has so many elements that she has to come to terms with in her life. Moving to a more rural area of the USA she has to learn about her heritage and the fact that she is now in the minority. She is also learning about family history, her powers and developing skills as an apothecary to the local community. At one level this is a magical and mystical story, harking back to the Greek myths surrounding Jason and Circe. However, on a more personal level this is about a young girl learning who she is, both in terms of family and in terms of who she is inside herself. It is about development and self-knowledge, as well as accepting the special powers that have been passed down to her. I loved seeing Briseis grow more confident as she begins to accept herself, but the story has many twists and turns and leaves us with questions that may be answered in the next book in the series. I am looking forward to continuing his story in the future.