About the book:
Apricots and Wolfsbane by K. M. Pohlkamp
Historical fiction (Adult/New Adult) 293 pages in print
Published October 13, 2017 by Filles Vertes Publishing
Lavinia Maud craves the moment the last wisps of life leave her victims’ bodies—to behold the effects of her own poison creations. Believing confession erases the sin of murder, her morbid desires are in unity with faith, though she could never justify her skill to the magistrate she loves.
Book club discussion guide included!
At the start of the 16th century in Tudor England, Lavinia’s marks grow from tavern drunks to nobility, but rising prestige brings increased risk. When the magistrate suspects her ruse, he pressures the priest into breaking her confessional seal, pitting Lavinia’s instincts as an assassin against the tenets of love and faith. She balances revenge with her struggle to develop a tasteless poison and avoid the wrath of her ruthless patron.
With her ideals in conflict, Lavinia must decide which will satisfy her heart: love, faith, or murder—but the betrayals are just beginning.
About the author:
K.M. Pohlkamp is a blessed wife to the love of her life, a proud mother of two, and a Mission Control flight controller. Originally from Wisconsin, she now resides in Houston, Texas.
Usually, when I get a request to read and review a book, I don’t read other folks’ reviews first, and I’ll admit that I was hesitant at first to add this particular volume to my to-be-read list for content concerns. When I judged Reading Review Wars on this book last month, my apprehension only grew.
My doubts were utterly unfounded.
I’ve never read a book with an anti-hero (in this case, anti-heroine) as the protagonist, so Apricots and Wolfsbane was a first for me. Lavinia Maud is nothing short of a badass, though, as a woman who’s taken on a career that, in 16th century England, is nothing short of dangerous and illegal. However, she refuses to settle into the role of docile wife as she is expected to do, and she pursues her nefarious trade with a passion.
Ms. Pohlkamp has nailed the inner conflict in her creation of Madam Maud with her protagonist’s conflicted morals. She’s okay with murder-for-hire, but craves absolution after each kill. Admitting to her list of victims isn’t a stretch for her, but she refuses to give up the names of who’s hired her.
I won’t say that Lavinia Maud is likable. Even after the last page, I’m still on the fence about whether I liked the main character. She is, however, (as are all the secondary characters in this story) well developed and multi-faceted.
Fans of bad-ass, female protagonists in historical fiction – this one’s for you. It’s hard not to root for a character who refuses to quietly fit into the mold and boldly takes control of her own destiny. This is the first in a series, apparently, so I’ll be watching for book 2 to come out!
Murder. To many, it’s a sin. But to Lavinia, it’s her job. And it’s a nicely paying job as well. Apricots and Wolfsbane is her story, and it is a very fun to read story. The author is K. M. Pohlkamp, and I would love to thank her for sharing this book with me.
Poison is an interest of mine, mainly because it makes for a good story, so that helped boost the rating of the book. It was well written, and filled with tension at the right moments. I got chills reading this book, it was that good.
And in the negatives, well, for me, all I can say is, “what negatives?” It wasn’t too predictable, nor was it too unpredictable. I loved the plot twists, the well developed settings and characters, and I loved everything about this book.
Buy the book:
This book is available as a Kindle or paperback from Amazon here. [affiliate link]
Jenn judged the Reading Review Wars for this book. To read the reviewers’ arguments, click here.