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In the Valley, Where Belladonna Grows

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Today is the day the world changes … or ends.

Mary exists alone in a valley, happy, surviving, but all too aware that the terrible dangers beyond her home must one day come home to roost.

And that day is now.

An apocalyptic vision from one woman’s damaged mind, this story is for anyone who has ever felt alone. A dark nightmare of solitude and rejection, pride and guilt,
Kindle Edition, 69 pages
Published August 25th 2016 by Venture Press (first published March 8th 2014)
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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  72 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm not sure how to review this one, other than to say it's very good, that it would make an outstanding book for discussion in a book club or high school English class, and that Tim Lebbon has quickly become one of my favorite writers.
Jul 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lebbon is one of my old time favorites, though he lost my attention and readership with his detour into fantasy. This looked promising or at the very least not fantasy, so it merited a read. Plus I can't seem to get away from killer plants lately. First impression was wow, I forgot just how lovely and expressive Lebbon's writing is, the sheer elegance and beauty of it. But here the writing itself overwhelmed the plot, by far. It isn't to say this was boring, it just lacked a certain something. W ...more
In the Valley, Where Belladonna Grows is about as perfunctory and pedestrian a story as you will ever read from a usually very talented writer. Here Tim Lebbon substitutes his usual horror-laden musings for something more philosophical that has a fantasy air about it, but which largely falls flat in pacing and execution, before culminating in a resolution which goes beyond cliched.

The bonus tale, THE GOD OF RAIN, fares little better, even if both stories are technically well-written from a sente
I think it is a good thing that I didn't read the synopsis very closely before starting this one. The first sentence kind of gives everything away.
The writing was lovely, descriptive and metaphorical all at the same time.
The dreamlike flow to the story was also enjoyable once I gave myself to it.
I fought too hard with my what/why/how's in the beginning and I missed out on a good portion of the story. I don't want to say much about the over all theme, I think it would give too much away.

I will b
Althea Ann
I've only read a few of Tim Lebbon's writings, but this is my favorite by him so far.

For years, a woman has dwelt alone in a valley, a self-sufficient homesteader. Originally, her situation was exile. She was cast off, banished by her lover, who, we gather, was a man of power in a post-apocalyptic city. But eventually, she has come to realize that on her own, she has more freedom than she ever did with him and his abuses.

However, now, visitors have begun to arrive to disturb her solitude. And n
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Utterly fantastic.
Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the valley where the beladonna grows lives an aging woman. She lives by herself, her only companions the domestic animals she raises and the birds and small mammals who share her valley. Her vibrant, verdant garden is fenced in, primarily to keep the belladonna plants from encroaching. The woman is named Mary, and for sixteen years she has lived a life of exile from other people and of incredible peace and satisfaction.

The morning she sees a man walking down a deserted path toward her garden,
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was so different from what I expected - I was completely and cleverly misguided by the words apocalyptic and dystopian used in the book's description. Naively expecting another end-of-the-world scenario, I was absolutely not prepared for what I got.

Throughout the whole book I was repeatedly thinking "what is going on here?" and still had not clue whatsoever. Only at the end the unexpected truth is revealed and I was blown away. Never would I have guessed the outcome, and I was stunned
After discovering Lebbon's talent last year I was really looking forward to reading this novella which was supposedly something of a hidden gem. Having read it now though, I don't have much to say about it: Nice story with some interesting elements and the usual grand writing but "In the Valley..." left me rather cold and untouched in the end. For me, it was still a bit underdeveloped, for once I am thinking a piece of writing could have been longer (and I love me some good novellas).
I was more
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure
Good read!

I'm a very big fan of Tim Lebbon and I'm slowly working my way through all his books. This one was slightly different than the rest as he attacks everything from a different angle, however I all thoroughly enjoyed it.

The story revolves around a 70 year old woman stuck in a valley where she must fend for herself and protect herself from the , however the influx of visits and messed up dogs changes everything. A nice read with a twist at the end, although it's quite easy to see the twist
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016, horror
A novella/short story (my copy was 65 pages) about an old woman who lives alone, entirely self-sufficient, in an isolated valley. She hasn't even seen another human being in 16 years – at least until the opening pages, when a man appears on the road from the distant city, bringing news and unwelcome changes.

The writing is lovely and subtly creepy, with an increasing sense of wrongness conveyed through small natural details: a too-strong storm, a dead bird, a feral dog gone mad. The backstory is
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Crazy Tale

Mary has been on her own for 16 years, ever since Sherlock, had banished her.
Things aren't as they seem when Mary comes to the realization that the Valley she has lived in for 16 years may not be the freedom she thinks it is.
Very good tale that has an end u won't see coming...
Dec 08, 2017 rated it liked it

What did I just read? This was trippy and strange with a disappointing and unsatisfactory ending. The writing was lovely though.
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers' Favorite.

“In the Valley, Where Belladonna Grows” by Tim Lebbon is a wonderful story of a woman exiled from the city in which she had lived with her husband, now dwelling in a virtual paradise of untainted nature.

Mary had been sent away by Sherlock, her husband, because she dared to strike him back while he was beating her. She was forbidden from ever leaving the valley to which she had been banished.

Before too long, Mary realized she never wanted to leave h
Amie's Book Reviews
Mary has lived alone in her valley for over 16 years. She has been there ever since her husband banished her from the city. It was supposed to be a punishment and at first it was, but over time she came to love her valley, her garden and even the wildlife that often visited. Now in her late seventies, Mary cannot imagine wanting any other kind of life. She is happy - content.

That is why she is so surprised when she gets a visitor from the city with a message from her husband saying that she is n
Sarah Joint
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second novella by Tim Lebbon and I'm not disappointed... it's beautifully written, unsettling, and hard to put down. Sadly, I read some reviews before starting where I happened to come across a major spoiler. (Thanks! :() I'm not sure if this may have altered my perception on the story, going into it knowing the ending. Either way, Tim Lebbon certainly has a way with words. It's so easy to become immersed.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary... how does your garden grow? Mary is an old woman w
Sep 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found the beginning very slow and confusing but then I was also intrigued and the story started to grow on me, it is only a 2-3hour read and you will be rewarded with not only a well thought out tale but well written with some great descriptions of a beautiful way of life.

Apparently Mary has been wronged by her powerful husband Sherlock, cheated on and beaten until she decided to shove back. She has been banished to a valley where, even at her late stage in life, she must fend for herself and
Nov 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
When I started this, I didn't realize that it was a bonus story for the book "The God of Rain". I think that, because I've never read that one, my enjoyment of this way have been lessened (but I can't say for sure, obviously). This is an interesting story, but that's about it. I didn't find it very impactful or memorable, which I think is so important for short stories. If you are a fan of "The God of Rain" or Tim Lebbon in general, check this out. If not, don't. I wish I could be more articulat ...more
Oct 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read a few books by Mr. Lebbon, and while they're good, his short stories and novellas are the absolute best. This story was so well written that I found myself lost for a few hours. It was a bit like walking through a thick fog on a dark night and almost haunting. The ending was the shock that I was hoping for. I also enjoyed the second short story. Yep, I'd recommend this story and author. If you're looking for something fast paced then this book is probably not for you, but if you like a ...more
Zakk Madness
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Philosophy is a luxury of a balanced populace"

An aging woman, living alone, exiled by her husband, making a life and finding peace in a gorgeous valley when a stranger appears on the horizon. Her first visitor and human contact in 16 years shatters her sense of peace.

I loved this novella. Very immersive and beautifully written. A curtain of dread begins to smother you, the reader, as visitors begin to descend into Mary's valley, into her life.

A Wonderful read. Check it out.

The Mouths of Madness
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-dystopia
The title intrigued me enough to break the promise I'd made to myself--to NEVER read anything that has less than a dozen favorable reviews--and, boy, I'm glad I did! This tale drew me in from the first sentence and I could not stop until it was done. The swells and releases, the dissonance and the consonance formed a very intense and satisfying tale. As lagniappe, we also have "The God of Rain", a way of dealing with grief that, I am afraid, I can easily understand. Thank you, Mr. Lebbon, for th ...more
Polly Krize
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Elegant and haunting are the two words that stick in my mind about this book. Not having any idea what was going on at first, Mary living in her valley seemed almost idyllic to me. But as the story progresses, I got the feeling that all was not as it seemed. The symbolism used and the skillful writing make this an amazing read, and is recommended.
Richard Barber
Tim Lebbon writes beautiful prose that draws you into the story and holds you within. 'In the valley...' is a perfect example of this. I wasn't a massive fan of the ending, which felt a touch rushed and cliche, but I was won over by the beautiful, haunting addition of the short story 'The God of rain' included with this novella.
Barry Simiana
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read. Tim Lebbon rarely disappoints. Good character building, descriptions that at times could be paiNtings if you close your eyes, bit of creepiness in there. I thought more suspense than horror but very readable.
Shawn Manning
Very nice, literate horror.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a remarkable, memorable story this was. Felt like watching a Twilight Zone episode.
rated it really liked it
Dec 21, 2015
The Bibliofool
rated it really liked it
Oct 19, 2016
Damon Lord
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May 31, 2015
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I love writing, reading, triathlon, real ale, chocolate, good movies, occasional bad movies, and cake.

I was born in London in 1969, lived in Devon until I was eight, and the next twenty years were spent in Newport. My wife Tracey and I then did a Good Thing and moved back to the country, and we now live in the little village of Goytre in Monmouthshire with our kids Ellie and Daniel. And our dog,
“The head was an old rook’s nest which Francis had fetched down from a tree. It had taken her a whole morning to climb, extract the nest from its twisted bindings and transfer it down, relatively whole and undamaged. She filled holes with moss, and stuffed its insides with a bracken brain. ” 1 likes
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