Book Review: BELLADONNA by Adalyn Grace

Title in slanted white on pink and a blurred bird
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - first book

Blurb:

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. 

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

BELLADONNA is a fantasy murder mystery with a detective who can see death and cannot be killed. All her previous guardians have died so she’s determined to use her unusual abilities to save her cousin. Someone’s already poisoned her aunt and now are back to kill another family member.

It is a nicely twisty mystery, with a dysfunctional family to confuse matters. The Knives Out part of the pitch is very accurate, as this is a mystery that will confuse you and the family is a ball of secrets and disagreements. I loved the dynamics and trying to guess whodunnit – not to mention why. The answers are very satisfying when they come out at the end.

The other part of the pitch is Bridgerton, and there are societal rules that Signa has to step around. If you are into romance, she is attracted to two men in the book – Death and a stable boy who seems to be able to go anywhere and has much too fine clothes for his station. It’s not the central part of the story, but it’s pretty major.

Another part of Signa’s abilities is that she can see ghosts and understand them. One such ghost is her dead aunt but there’s also a dead bookworm who was my favourite ghost by quite some margin. He’s trying to read his way through the library and acts like a very helpful librarian!

While there is a sequel, FOXGLOVE, coming, BELLADONNA works well as a contained novel. The mystery is wrapped up and the next book should be it’s own mystery just following the same core cast (and possibly, based on the title, be situated at Signa’s ancestral home?)


Read my reviews of other books by Adalyn Grace:

All the Stars and Teeth:

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