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Apricots and Wolfsbane

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  102 ratings  ·  38 reviews
* Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice Book
* Shortlisted for the 2017 Chaucer Book Awards for Historical Fiction
* 2018 Texas Association of Authors Best Book - Historical Fiction/Tudor

Lavinia Maud craves the moment the last wisps of life leave her victim’s bodies—to behold the effects of her own poison creations. Believing confession erases the sin of murder, her morbi
Paperback, First, 369 pages
Published October 13th 2017 by Filles Vertes Publishing, LLC.
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Average rating 4.37  · 
Rating details
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Dave Wickenden
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Now for something totally different. In a GREAT WAY.

This tale of suspense and murder tells the story of a 16th century assassin who raises herself from nothing to an equal with the ruling class utilizing the weapon of poison. Follow her career; both her successes and triumphs in this strangely hypnotic take of sin and obsession. Ms. Pohlkamp will have you cheering on this delicious femme fatale as she murders her way up the chains of society to reach the pinnacle of her profession.

This is one o
Andy N
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A memorable, unique historical thriller packed with action and an impressive research of historical poisons. It’s very hard to believe this is a debut novel.

This is the tale of a female assassin on the 16th century that uses different poisons has the weapon of choice. Lavinia Maud craves for the death fashioned by her own creations, her preys both poor and rich. However, fame brings risk to a higher level. Between avoiding the anger of her patron, struggling between love and death, Lavinia will
Ashley Williams
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
While historicals are typically not my cup of tea, Apricots and Wolfsbane kept me turning the pages. The plot has twists and turns that that I didn't see coming, featuring a kickass heroine on her quest to become one of the best poison masters ever. If you're in the mood for something dark and historical, then this might be the book for you. ...more
Lisa Orchard
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This isn't my usual genre, but it was a great story to expand my horizons in my reading repertoire. I enjoyed the strong female character who broke through the social norms of the era and led her life on her own terms. Those are the kinds of characters I like and identify with. The fact that she's an assassin for hire makes the story intriguing and made me want to continue reading. This is a real page turner!

I also loved the plot twists I didn't see coming. This author certainly knows how to kee
Tony Riches
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This dark, fast-paced tale keeps you guessing from the first page. Pushing the boundaries of the historical fiction genre, K.M. Pohlkamp evokes a world where the usual definitions of right and wrong are the first casualties.

Obsessed with her quest to discover the perfect poison, it seems nothing is going to stand in the way of Lavinia Maud. Inspired by accounts of Locusta, Emperor Nero's notorious poisoner of ancient Rome, the relocation of the setting to Tudor London provides K.M. Pohlkamp wit
Roland Clarke
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
I’m one of Lavinia Maud’s victims – or am I a gullible sympathiser? However, she wove her masterful ways – or rather K. M Pohlkamp did – and the price was very acceptable.

First an interview with the author then the blurb tempted me. Other reviews hooked me, and the opening pulled me in as I succumbed to the words. I knew the protagonist was poisoning people, but the author did a crafty job of keeping this reader behind Lavinia, despite the crimes. When are sins forgiven? Was it through her confe
Melissa Thiringer
Sep 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful writing makes an amazing package for this tense novel that will leave you with a story to ruminate on and assumptions to reconsider.
Helen Hollick
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

"Highly recommended – especially if you like a bit of herbal spice in your life!"

shortlisted for Book of the Month
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it

Apricots and Wolfsbane is set against the dark years of Tudor England and introduces us to Lavinia Maud, a young woman whose endless fascination for poisons and their uses will take her into some very dark places. There's something endlessly fascinating about a beautiful young woman going about the deadly business of poisoning. That she is also a paid assassin adds a delicious frisson of excitement to what is a decidedly deadly sort of story.

When Lavinia confesses her sin of murder, she does so
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a talented author! Beautifully written, she paints detailed pictures with her words. Thankfully, this is first in a series. 5+++ Stars
Robin Martinez
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing

KM Pohlkamp delivers a haunting tale of Lavinia Maud, 16th century Poison Master. Lavinia justifies her foray into a profession dominated by men as her only option as a woman on her own. Or is she really just out for revenge?
As an avid reader and writer of historic fiction there aren't too many topics which surprise me. Pohlkamp's tale drew me in and tossed me around. Could I really side with a murderess? Hope that the stubborn priest would hear her confession? The suspense of this tale had me l
Jan 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book definitely exceeded my expectations! Well paced plot, interesting setting and characters, I really enjoyed it. Unusual to read about a female assassin. Highly recommend.
Jessica Cale
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Delicious. Apricots and Wolfsbane is a unique thriller packed with impressive research into historical poisons. Fast-paced and darkly funny, Pohlkamp's prose are intoxicating. ...more
Bonnie Kranzusch
Oct 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly original plot with multiple plot lines intelligently written together. The story line is unpredictable and so intriguing that you can't put the book down. I can't wait for the sequel ...more
P.K. Adams
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lavinia Maud lies and murders, but she is also hopelessly in love, goes to church regularly, and gives shelter to a pair of orphaned siblings. In other words, the heroine of K.M. Pohlkamp’s Apricots and Wolfsbane may be a monster, but she is also adorable.

Herself orphaned at a young age, Lavinia turns her passion for gardening and scientific discovery, fueled by no small dose of “dark cravings,” into a reasonably profitable job as an assassin in 16th century England. Her method of dispatching “t
Leslie Rush
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Who would think you could combine Tudor England with the point of view of a serial killer?
Apricots and Wolfbane was fascinating to me. I don't usually like to read unlikeable main characters, because I want to root for them to win! But in this case, by the time the ending rolled around, I wanted Lavinia Maud to find a way to win.
Yes, there's no question about it-- she is a serial killer. It's not just a job, like a hit man, and it's not just proving her worth in a patriarchal society, Lavinia Ma
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I totally enjoyed this fast-paced, well-written, dark, suspenseful first novel by K.M. Pohlkamp. While not normally and historical fiction reader, this book was so good that I may have to rethink that position. I fear that K.M. has spoiled me for other authors, though, since her writing is so good. The plot has fabulous twists and turns that keep you turning the pages to find out what comes next. The main character is an assassin and yet the author presents her in a way that makes you really lik ...more
Josanna Thompson
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that I was reluctant to read a story about a Tudor era assassin who takes pride in her work, yet, I read it anyway and was very glad I did. I really enjoyed this story. It was beautifully told, and thoroughly researched. I couldn’t help admiring the heroine’s strength and determination to live life in a man’s world on her own terms. Apricots and Wolfsbane is a great read. I highly recommend it to fans who love historical thrillers.
Leanne Treese
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. From page one, I was engaged. Although Lavinia Maud is a poison assassin, I was still drawn to her and rooted for her throughout the novel. At one point, I was actually hoping some people she poisoned would die as it would be better for her! The plot also had several twists and turns which kept me reading. It would make an excellent choice for a book club. Ten out of ten!
C. Lewis
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I first started reading this book, I was really hoping for a romance. Yet, as the story progressed, I realized a romance would never work. The main character, Lavina, while wanting love could never (spoiler). So, I stopped wishing for it and instead immersed myself in a world full of twists and turns and a protagonist that isn't quite likeable. But that did not stop me from reading. Lavina had gumption in spades!!! I fear if I go into too much detail, I will give so much away. So, what I wi ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing story that kept me curious with each twist and turn. Very well written and a joy to read!
Jenn Bradshaw
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
**Disclaimer: We were provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which follows.**

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 a review debate 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-her
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you enjoyed Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, you owe it to yourself to read Apricots and Wolfsbane.

Typically, I don't read historical fiction but I do appreciate a good story. K.M. Pohlkamp constructed an excellent story set in Tudor England with good characters and dialog that 'feels' like it fits the period along with the intrigue and backstabbing you would expect as a poison assassin tries to gain favor and standing among the power-hungry aristocracy.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspired by the historical Locusta, the notorious poison murderess from Gaul, Latvinia Maud is an excellent anti-hero. I was pleasantly surprised at all of the plot twists and in the poison science that was well researched in various methods of extraction and deadly effects. I started this on a whim and devoured it whole heartedly.
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anthony Thomas
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Posting on behalf of HIS Reading Review War
There’s a lot of things I noticed while reading APRICOTS and WOLFSBANE. One of which being that if I ever see K.M. Pohlkamp at a bake sale, I’m spitting out the muffin and running in the other direction. It was apparent a large amount of intensive poison research went into writing her debut novel and this added to the overall believability. I do believe some of the deaths could have used more dramatic flair, but that didn’t dissuade me from enjoy
Edward Rickford
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book without knowing much about the era or the profession and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to become engrossed in Lavinia Maud's world. Pohlkamp does an excellent job of fleshing out the characters and provides understandable motives for the protagonist as well as the antagonists. The book is a quick read, not so much because it is short, but because once you start the book, you won't want to put it down. Each assassination proved suspenseful, an impressive feat consid ...more
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Apricots and Wolfsbane is an engaging read. Pohlkamp's pacing is fantastic - I never felt bogged down in unnecessary detail. The story hummed along and kept me interested with surprising twists. The characters are well-formed and believable, but I do wish more time was spent with the players who were a source of light and goodness in Lavinia's life. I couldn't fully root for the protagonist, but I did find myself sympathizing with her by the end. Pohlkamp's prose makes it easy to visualize each ...more
Allison Mullinax
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Posting on behalf of HER Reading Review War
K.M. Pohlkamp’s debut novel showcases her true talent as a historical fiction author. If you enjoy descriptive settings that paint a vivid picture of the Tudor era, then this book is for you. Following Lavinia Maud in her quest to create an elusive poison, the author takes you through the mindset of an assassin who allows no soul to get in her way, including her own. While I did find difficulty in connecting to the main character's motive, Pohlk
Michael O'neal
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Some killers are a product of society. Other act out past abuses. Lavinia Maud kills because she likes it.

This is one of the most unique books I've ever read, mostly thanks to the fascinating main character. While the author calls her an anti-hero, I really feel the proper descriptor is "villian". In the hands of a lesser writer, this would have been a disasterous narrative choice, but Pohlkamp is a skilled wordsmith, crafting a twisting plot through an immersive historical setting, and fleshing
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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.

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