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Belladonna #1

Belladonna

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New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

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.
 
However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer 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.

416 pages, Hardcover

First published August 30, 2022

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About the author

Adalyn Grace

4 books3,261 followers
Adalyn Grace is a New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars and Teeth, which was named “2020’s biggest YA fantasy” by Entertainment Weekly.

Prior to becoming an author, Adalyn spent four years working in live theatre, acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper, and studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra.

Local to San Diego, Adalyn spends her non-writing days by watching too much anime, and by playing video games with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs.


You can follow her on:
Twitter: @AdalynGrace_
Instagram: @authoradalyngrace

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5 stars
8,144 (42%)
4 stars
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3 stars
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228 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,592 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,478 reviews29.7k followers
July 11, 2022
this story is soooo unbelievably, imaginatively good. omg. i love everything about it.

the atmosphere is peak gothic ghost vibes. i love the family shrouded in dark history and the old manor filled with restless spirits. it creates a living, breathing setting that propels the story in a wonderfully spooky direction in terms of plot.

the characters are also top notch. i loved them all. signas stubbornness, sylas’ snark, deaths charm. each and every one of them are full of depth and personality and are so enjoyable to read about.

and the writing is so improved from AGs previous books. not that her writing was bad before, but this feels more elevated, more mature. and i really appreciated that.

so not a single negative thing to say, tbh. honestly, this is the kind of book where i would collect multiple editions of it because i love it that much! lol.

a massive thanks to little brown books for the ARC!!

5 stars
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,068 reviews38.1k followers
December 14, 2022
This book is dreamy combination of fantasy meets mystery with paranormal and gothic elements. This time I can judge this book with its cover because both of them are AMAZING!

A haunted house that is invaded by ghosts. A suspicious death of patriarch’s late wife and a suspicious illness of his young daughter whose condition gets deteriorated at each day.

Only 17 years old Signa Farrow who is called “cursed orphan” after everyone who adopts her keep dying one by one, a gifted girl who stands at the thin line between life and death, chewing the poisonous belladonnas to summon death to challenge him can save this family!

That girl lost her own family. She felt the cold breath of DEATH on her face, staring at shadowy figure of him directly. She did everything to lure him take her with him.

Slowly she realizes mysterious things about her life: She talks with the spirits, seeing ghosts and she also realizes she cannot kill herself. Each time she pops several belladonnas into her mouth, she feels the shivering feeling as a sign of death’s approaching.

When Signa accidentally killed her venomous Aunt Magda, she broke the important rule without knowing. Magda was not meant to die at that night so when a life is taken, another must be spared rule saved her cousin Blythe’s life.

Thankfully Blythe who suffers from mysterious illness is part of eccentric Hawthorne Family living at Thorn Grove. Signa is sent there to live with Hawthornes: her last remaining relatives, trying to understand the complex family dynamics.

As the patriarch of the family: Elijah mourns his wife Lillian through wild parties he throws at their eerie mansion where ghosts lurking around the corridors, Percy: his young son does everything to take his father’s attention, caring the young Blythe who is ill, showing the exactly same symptoms with her dead mother.

Signa meets with the spirit of Lillian and she realizes somebody in the house murdered her and unfortunately only Death and a sarcastic stable boy can help Signa to solve the mystery!

I loved to see how Signa’s character evolved and accepted her true powers. Of course Death was the most alluring and charismatic character of the book definitely intrigued me!

I loved the final twist and cliffhanger! I’m absolutely looking forward to read the second book! I had amazing reading time!

Special thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
Profile Image for Adalyn Grace.
Author 4 books3,261 followers
June 6, 2022
Final Update:
We have finally announced the limited edition first printing, as well as the exclusive Barnes and Noble edition.

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘽𝙖𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙉𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙚 𝙀𝙭𝙘𝙡𝙪𝙨𝙞𝙫𝙚:
- A stunning purple case design printed straight onto the hardcover
- Inverted end pages design
- A deleted chapter
- An alternate dust jacket with color changes

This limited edition is exclusive to @barnesandnoble and is available for pre order now!

𝙇𝙞𝙢𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙁𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 𝙋𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙩 𝙍𝙪𝙣:
- A beautiful white case design printed straight onto the hardcover
- Beautiful end papers

This gorgeous white version comes standard with all first editions and is available through all US retailers! Amazon, Target, your local indie, etc. However, it’s 𝗲𝘅𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗹𝘆 𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱. All US pre orders (with the exception of the B&N exclusive) will be guaranteed to have this cover!

While I hope that these editions will make it to the shelves, 𝗽𝗿𝗲-𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗶𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗼𝗻𝗹𝘆 𝘄𝗮𝘆 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗴𝗲𝘁 𝗲𝗶𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. Both are limited and when we run out, the publisher won’t be printing more!




First US Printing Edition:

BD-IG-1



Barnes & Noble Exclusive:

BD-IG-2-copy-BN


Screen-Shot-2022-06-06-at-12-11-49-PM



The pre order campaign is live! Please see the image below for details. For my information you can head over to my Instagram.
Belladonna-Pre-Order-1

Please submit your receipts here.


If you're looking for a signed + personalized copy, you can order through Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore



Profile Image for Jonathan.
641 reviews3,083 followers
September 4, 2022
"I'd prefer you not summon me whenever the urge strikes."
The voice was not what she expected. It wasn't ice, nor gravel, but the sound of water in a meadow, slipping over her skin and inviting her in for a midnight swim.
"I'm a busy man, you know."


Have you always been a bit too into the grim reaper? Worryingly so? Would you kiss him if tempted? Touch? Fu-... sorry, got a bit lost in a personal fantasy there haha.


This was my most anticipated read of the year and boy, did it give what needed to be given!!!!


The writing was beautiful. Death was hot. The voice the audiobook narrator did for Death was also hot. I loved Signa, though she was a bit naive at times. Death was hot. The side characters were fully fleshed out and I cared for them deeply. Death was ho- fine, I'll shut up.

The murder mystery was also well done, though I will obviously not go into detail. And there were also a few meaningful conversations about life and death's meaning in it thrown in for good measure.

There was a scene so beautiful at the end, it made me cry and manifested my decision to give this 5 stars.


You all know I can't write five star reviews, it was good, go away.


TL;DR: I'm honestly unsure whether I want all of you to read this or whether I want to gate-keep it for myself.
Also, because I know some of you strangely care a lot about those things: it doesn't have smut. Try not to cry. I mean, it is YA.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,424 reviews8,987 followers
January 23, 2023
**4.5-stars rounded up**

With a story as beautiful as its cover, Belladonna took me completely by surprise. I enjoyed this so much!



We follow Signa Farrow, who is not your average girl. I know you hear that a lot, but in this case it's true. For example, she has an immunity to Belladonna, can commune with spirits and has a relationship with Death.

Unfortunately, our Signa was orphaned as a child and has lived with many guardians since. Recently, she's been with her Aunt Magda, who is cruel. There's no love lost between the two. So, when Aunt Magda suddenly dies, Signa isn't exactly heartbroken.



She does have questions about her future though. Then she receives word that her last remaining relatives, the Hawthornes, would like her to go live with them at their Thorn Grove estate, as her Uncle Elijah's ward.

Lacking other options, Signa leaves her old life behind willingly and with a bit of hope in her heart.



Arriving at the estate, she begins to become acquainted with everyone. Her Uncle is mourning his wife, Lilianne, who passed away recently. Woefully, her younger cousin, Blythe, seems to be suffering from the same mysterious illness that prematurely killed her mother.

When it becomes clear to Signa that Lilianne didn't die of natural causes an unexpected murder mystery begins to unfold. This is made significantly more interesting by the fact that Signa gets the support of her old friend, Death, as she tries to solve it.



This book surprised me. I really didn't know much about it going in. My initial attraction was the cover, followed by Adalyn Grace's name on said gorgeous cover.

I was delighted with the setting, which based off some dates of included journal entries would be sometime in the 1850s or 1860s. It has a lush gothic feel that I really loved. Even the focus on plants like belladonna, Signa's frequent use of it, felt very period specific and natural to me.



I enjoyed learning about Signa's Thorn Grove family along with her. She's really thrust right into their world of formal parties, frequent visitors and gossipers galore.

Having lived a fairly secluded life up until that point, I think Signa had felt very lonely. Now surrounded with people she becomes attached, to some more than others. Particularly her cousin, Blythe. She's very saddened by Blythe's illness and becomes determined to see her well.



I actually really ended up enjoying the romantic elements as well. I loved the dynamic between Signa and the character of Death. It was giving me Addie LaRue vibes and I'm not mad about it.

Signa, at the age where it would be acceptable for her to marry, has some other prospects as well. Watching her navigate that, while trying to decipher her unusual feelings for Death was super compelling. I was eating it up.



Grace did a fantastic job of building the tension and mystery. It was hard to put down once Signa began looking into Blythe's illness. It was a bit of a race against the clock and for a while, almost everyone was a suspect.

I loved the ending of this as well. It was a great set-up for the second book. Personally, I cannot wait to get my hands on it. Signa is one of my favorite new characters of the year, so I can't wait to be reunited with her.



Thank you so much to the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers and Hachette Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review.

I definitely recommend the audiobook for this story. It was so easy to get swept up into this world through that medium. 10-out-of-10 recommend!!
Profile Image for Chelsea *Slowly Catching Up* Humphrey.
1,387 reviews77.2k followers
December 6, 2022
"You are no soft thing to be coddled... You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it's time that you burn."

I really wanted to love this book, but I'm afraid it didn't quite hit that mark with me. Belladonna is by no means a bad book, and it's completely on trend with it's cover art and thematic content. In fact, this will be a huge hit with many readers, and I'm excited to see its reception amongst the YA crowd as it releases. The aspects that didn't work for me will be favorite qualities of another reader, and that's what makes this hobby such a beautiful experience.

For what it's worth, I think the idea here is stellar: we have a young lady who loses her family at a very young age and is bounced around between relatives who keep dying due to pesky unforeseen reasons. Signa, our main character, has some mysterious ability to not be able to die, and when she does something (like eating poison berries), instead of passing on she has an encounter with Death. Part of the fun of the book is learning why this is happening and watching the blossoming romance between the two. Also, there is a bit of murder mystery at play here once Signa reaches her latest relatives' estate, which is always appealing to me.

It's fair to note that the very first pages of the book feature a scene where Signa, as an infant, loses her family and has her first encounter with Death. While I didn't read it as such organically, after seeing several reviews once finishing the book, there is great concern about the fact that Death's interaction with Signa could be considered problematic and possibly even grooming, so please be cautious and alert going in that this does exist and might trigger some folks.

Aside from that, I did find the book very predictable. The twist involving the identity of two characters was something I guessed from the first 10% for spoiler reasons . Also, the identity of the murderer was easy to guess as well, but the why behind it did add a little extra depth to it.

Let's talk about the ending. I think I have a different definition of cliffhanger than other readers, so for me, while this was definitely left set up for a sequel, most of what happens in this book felt very standalone, and I did not feel the compulsion to pick up the following book immediately like I would if things ended in a grasping WAIT WHAT moment. This is purely personal preference though, and I know that the way this book wraps up will spark different feelings for different readers. Overall, this was a fun read that felt a little on the younger side of the YA spectrum, with just enough "adultish" references and romantic encounters to keep this from truly feeling too young.

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Gillian.
100 reviews120 followers
December 13, 2022
“I have waited for you for millennia, Signa Farrow. Since the dawn of this earth, I have waited. You are mine, and I am yours. And together, this world is ours.”

I absolutely loved this book! This was an enchanting and mysterious romantic fantasy about wealth, desire, betrayal, love and power. Signa is an orphan who has been raised by different relatives who only cared about her wealth. After her Aunt dies Signa is brought to live with her last living relatives, the Hawthornes who live in a mysterious and spooky estate. When the Hawthornes mother's spirit claims she was poisoned, Signa decides to help and allies herself with Death, who has been around since she was young. Will Signa discover who killed her Aunt Lillian and save her family?

"I believe I have always been yours, Death. As you were made for me, perhaps I was made for you."

I was completely swept away by the Gothic inspired world the author created from the very first page. The plot was intriguing and the pacing was perfect! I really liked the Gothic and dark vibe of the book. There were so many twists and turns that I wasn't expecting. Although I did guess one of the plot twists, there were still many surprises. This book had everything I wanted in romance and mystery including enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn romance, Gothic/dark vibes, and great chemistry between the main characters. I loved Signa, she is strong, stubborn, persistent, helpful and kind. Signa is a relatable character and I felt a connection to her. A few of my family members have passed away and I have felt lonely sometimes like Signa. I loved Signa's character development, she grew as a person throughout the book and she learned more about herself and her powers. I'm in love with Death, he is mysterious, charming, powerful, devilishly handsome, and sweet to Signa. I also really liked the side characters, especially Charlotte and Blythe. The chemistry between Signa and Death was *chef's kiss*! I love that Signa makes Death a better person and that she can be herself around him. The sexual tension was amazing! The author is such a great writer and storyteller, the beautiful writing transported me into the Gothic world through the author's descriptive words. The ending was so good and surprising! I can't wait for the next book!
Profile Image for Elle.
584 reviews1,253 followers
August 31, 2022
Now available!!
Published Aug 30, 2022

I have never seen a book so epically blow a 3-1 lead like Belladonna did. (look, a sports reference) That opening scene was killer, and even the story set-up afterwards was intriguing. I was enthusiastically exchanging theories with my reading buddy up until around a third of the way through, but either the pacing shifted or finally caught up with me, because I had to all but drag myself through the back half of this book.

The absolute biggest miss for me were the scenes where Signa was learning about and trying to navigate “society”. God were they boring; I could not bring myself to care about a single moment devoted to that weak-ass plot line. I’m not sure if it’s the Bridgerton effect, but there’s absolutely no need to shoehorn a young woman’s ~societal debut~ into a story about vengeful ghosts and murder conspiracies. How did Adalyn Grace expect anyone to give two shits about the implications of refusing an invitation to tea when we *just found out* that . Belladonna has a focus problem—where the things that felt the most pressing, like issues of life and death, had to take a backseat to the frivolous and tedious aspects of aristocratic posturing.

I also couldn’t fully conceptualize ‘Death’ based on the description provided by Grace. Is he a ghost? How are they if his face is literally obscured the entire time? Logistically, I have many questions, but his character never felt fully real to me either. There was a bit of Luc from Addie LaRue in his demeanor and presentation, though that character had motivations, his powers and reach were clearly defined, etc. But with Death, I still don’t understand what ‘he’…..is.

The actual ghosts were the best part and more interesting than most of the characters, despite rarely getting to speak, and I wish we didn’t keep getting dragged from them back to the boring humans. There’s certain tropes that I would expect in a gothic novel, and foreshadowing in general is frequently utilized, but there was not one twist that you couldn’t spot a mile away, which erased all of the uncertainty, all of the tension. I kept hoping my assumptions were wrong because of how unremarkable they’d make the story, but I was, sadly, correct. What a bummer.

And do not get me started on that attempt at a cliffhanger/twist in the epilogue. I am not falling for that again!!!! I have already seen Signa try to solve a murder mystery once and was NOT impressed.



I usually do more of a set-up for what a book is about, but I was too annoyed by how this one played out to attempt it here. Basically all you need to know is that this book was heavy on vibes, missing plot in the middle and probably best enjoyed not thinking too hard about anything presented.


*Thanks so much to Little, Brown For Young Readers for an advance review copy!

**For more book talk & reviews, follow me on Instagram at @elle_mentbooks!
Profile Image for Isabelle Reads.
131 reviews227 followers
November 29, 2022
Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I say I had high expectations for this book, know that they were absolutely ASTRONOMICAL. When I read that delicious premise, felt that Gothic vibe, and saw that enemies-to-lovers trope, this darling became one of my most anticipated reads of 2022.

Fortunately, my dearest reader friends, this book LIVED up to the hype.

CUE THE CELEBRATIONS BECAUSE THAT LITERALLY NEVER HAPPENS AND NOW I HAVE A NEW FAVORITE BOOK 🥳🎉💕

ok allow me to elaborate.

the premise

Signa Farrow is a nineteen-year-old orphan, cursed with the ability to see both dead souls and Death himself. Her eyes are mismatched (one blue, one gold), and she has an inability to die. She also seems to have a rather deadly sort of luck: every single one of her five guardians has died in the most random circumstances. Sure, nearly all of them were abusive and greedily seeking the vast fortune Signa’s parents left her, but the public doesn't see it that way. Signa has been labelled a demon and a social outcast, shunned for her odd eyes and the trail of dead bodies behind her.

The only one that truly sees her, ironically enough, is Death himself. She’s seen the grim reaper at varying intervals throughout her life, most often when he comes for the souls of her guardians. She’s talked with him before, but she can't help but hate him. He's taken so much away from her: first her parents, and then all five of her guardians, leaving her constantly searching for a real family and a place to call home.

The book opens as Signa is being shipped off to the mansion of her distant cousins (the Hawthornes) after the death of her fifth guardian. While apprehensive, she can't help but feel a sort of excitement. With a whole family here this time, will she finally experience what life is like with a real home?

However, while not unwelcoming, the Hawthornes themselves are under severe duress. The Hawthorne mother (Signa's aunt) died last year from a gruesome, incurable disease, and the whole family is still grieving. There’s tension between the son, father, and uncle over the fate of the Hawthorne family business. With Signa’s sickly cousin constantly swerving towards death, Signa is seeing Death more frequently than ever before. And slowly, Signa is beginning to suspect foul play in her cousin's sickness, as well as in the untimely death of her aunt.

the plot

OHHHHHH MYYYYY GOSHHHH.
THIS.
THIS BOOK.
THIS BOOK IS AN ABSOLUTE MASTERPIECE AND I ADORED IT SO SO MUCH 😭❤️❤️

First off, the writing. Adalyn Grace’s writing style is pleasantly smooth and easy to read without affecting her lush worldbuilding (of which there was just the most perfect amount).

I also loved the whole Gothic vibe and the mystery that Signa was trying to solve with Death the entire book. My one complaint would probably be that the pacing was a tad irregular, with some scenes and plotlines happening much quicker than others, but overall, this didn't hurt the beautiful experience.

oh, and you definitely won't see the plot twist at the end coming. it's amazing 🤩

the characters

OK WE’RE DONE WITH THE SEMI-DEEP ANALYSIS BECAUSE THIS WILL BE BY FAR THE MOST EMOTIONS-BASED PART OF MY REVIEW.

Signa Farrow is, put simply, AMAZING. She’s mastered how to hide her curse and how to use it for her own gains. This girl is smart and practical and I LOVE HER SM YOU GO GIRLIE.

For having such a grim name, Death was actually such a cinnamon bun (I KNOW RIGHT I WAS SO SHOOKETH). He’s totally morally grey and made definitely questionable decisions, but as my questionable taste in fictional men can attest, I was absolutely hooked with him from his first appearance.

And the romance between Signa and Death?
PLEASEEEEEEEEE IT WAS SO CUTEEEEEEE. he cares so much for her, and he’s done everything he can to protect her from those who hurt her 😭😭

now, I get some might feel a little weirded out because he’s immortal and you know, ✨age gap✨, but DO give them a chance. he’s so sweet and respectful to her, and there’s a plot twist that makes it much less weird (don't worry, I won't spoil that ;)

The side characters, especially those with the last name Hawthorne, were well-fleshed out and actually contributed much more than i thought they would to the mystery plotline. this book wasn't just a romance, and i really appreciated that ❤️

anyways, that’s all i got. thoughts in closing: PLEASE PLEASE READ THIS GORGEOUS MASTERPIECE OF A BOOK ITS GOTHIC AND MYSTERIOUS AND ROMANTIC AND FANTASTICAL AND YOU WILL LOVE IT SM ITS MY NEW FAVORITE BOOK

so basically, go read it 😘



Ratings:
Star Rating: ★★★★★
If This Book Was a Movie Rating: PG-13

Recommendations If You Liked This Book:
Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen
The Darkening by Sunya Mara
Profile Image for Lucie V..
982 reviews1,518 followers
September 28, 2022
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley (thank you Little, Brown Books for Young Readers). All thoughts and opinions are my own.

✅ Gorgeous cover
✅ Intrigue
✅ Death as a character
✅ Pace
✅ Setting
✅ Plot twists
✅ Gothic/darker vibe
✅🆗 Romance
❗️❗️Kinda cliffhanger (the plot of this book is resolved, so it's more of a tease for the next book, but it makes me wish I had Foxglove now)
❗️❗️Trigger warnings: mentions of death and poisoning

Strong 4 stars

This book was a good mix of historical fiction, romance, paranormal, and murder investigation.

Whoever designed this place was an odd soul. A soul, Signa decided, that had been begging for this house to be haunted.
They’d certainly gotten their wish.


Signa Farrow is a 17 years old orphan who was bounced from relative to relative since she was a baby. Every one of her guardians died sooner or later, and sometimes in a very mysterious and sudden manner, leading people to believe that Signa might be cursed. After the death of her awful aunt, Signa is sent to live with yet another distant relative, probably the last one she has, for the few months left until she turns 18 and can finally access her inheritance. Signa quickly realizes that Thorn Grove is not a normal place: spirits haunt the place, Signa believes the late mistress of the house, Lillian, was poisoned, and Signa’s cousin is slowly dying from the same ailment. Signa needs to figure out who is trying to kill her cousin Blythe and stop them before it’s too late.

The atmosphere and descriptions are well detailed and we can feel the more gothic vibe of the book. It was my first book by this author, and I really enjoyed her writing and the way she gave life to Thorn Grove and made it a creepy-yet-interesting place, with just enough details to make it easy to visualize the setting, but not too much so it becomes full of heavy and long descriptions.

It had been weeks since Signa had seen the reaper. Only a final breath would draw him out from hiding, and he never left empty-handed. At least, that was the way it was supposed to be. But Signa Farrow was a girl who could not die.


Over the years, Signa has come to realize that she is far from normal. She cannot die, and she can see and interact with spirits. Even weirder, she can see Death, talk to him, and even seems to share some of his powers. It was interesting to see Signa slowly accept the fact that she shared similarities with Death, especially after spending so long hating him because she sees him as responsible for the death of her guardians and the fact that she's never known a steady and loving home, but I do wish that we’d spend a little more time on her trying to control those mysterious powers. I mean, if I had those abilities and I was trying to solve a murder, I would want to control them as soon as possible because they would be a huge advantage for sure!

She rather disliked puzzles, for she had a bad tendency to need to solve them. Life, she believed, would be much simpler if one had the answers all laid bare before them.


When she arrives at Thorn Groves and meets the Hawthorne family, Signa quickly realizes that things are not as they should be. Elijah, the patriarch is trying to drown his grief in wild parties but spends his nights roaming the manor because he believes that his wife’s ghost is still there. He ignores his son and even seems to be trying to undermine him. Percy, Signa’s cousin, is desperate to get his father’s attention and is trying to keep the family functioning while Elijah doesn’t seem to even care about the family business anymore, and finally, young Blythe is bed-ridden because she is ill, with exactly the same symptoms her dead mother had a few weeks before she died. It doesn’t help that more than one spirits are tied to Thorn Grove and Signa is not sure yet if they want to help her solve the mystery of Lillian’s death or not. Add to that Elijah's shady brother who might have a motive to want to hurt him, and some suspicious members of the household, and you've got yourself a whole lot of people with a whole lot of secrets.

Talking about secrets and solving mysteries… I am not that impressed with Signa’s investigative work honestly. She does find clues and relevant information, but half of the important twists and facts were just dropped in her lap for her to find. The author did a great job with the identity of the killer(s) though because I was really suspicious of everyone at one point, and I couldn’t figure out if it was one killer or more, and who it could be since so many people seemed to have motives, but on the other hand, there are some revelations that I did see coming.

Stop worrying about society and playing its game, hoping that you’ll be good enough, Death urged her. There is no such thing as true goodness, there is only perception.


“You are no soft thing to be coddled.” His voice was soothing as the season’s first rain, and she shivered from the way it glided upon her skin. “You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it’s time that you burn.”


Thanks to her being moved around a lot, Signa never had a “regular” upbringing, and it shows when she arrives at Thorn Grove because she has no idea how to navigate high society events. I love a good historical fiction every once in a while, and I love the ball and high society vibe, but I honestly struggled to really get involved in Signa’s challenges with society when there was a murder investigation going on. I couldn’t care less about her tea parties with the town’s gossip when it was clear they had nothing to do with the poisoning and murder, and only served to add some high society drama to the story. I just wanted the scene to be over so we could go back to trying to figure out who the killer was, so I wish those characters Signa interacted with as part of her "young lady socializing efforts" would have been a little more suspicious, or would have had something interesting to add to the investigation instead of just being there to gossip and be cliché superficial mean girls.

“Because I have waited an eternity to meet you, Signa Farrow.” The words were a balm she clung to, relishing. “To me, you are a song to a soul that has never known music. Light to someone who has only seen the darkness. You bring out the absolute worst in me, and I become vindictive toward those who treat you in ways I don’t care for. Yet you also bring out the best in me— I want to be better because of you. Better for you.


Death is a charismatic, mysterious, and alluring character that gave me Luc (from Addie Larue) vibes at times. I was not sure at first if and how a relationship between Signa and him would be possible, but the author did a good job with Death as an entity. My tiny complaint has more to do with his relationship with Signa. She starts off hating him and wanting to get rid of him, and she ends up having sweet feelings for him, but the progression of those feelings felt underdeveloped and weak at times. I did see the evolution, but it was very shallow and basic in an “oh he’s not actually as bad as I thought and he’s mysterious and charismatic and I'm lonely so I feel attracted to him now” way.

I will say though, that the way the author did an amazing job at writing two lonely characters finding solace and happiness in each other’s company, so the romance is really not bad, it’s just the evolution of the feelings that were not exactly to my taste, but overall I loved it.

“I know how society teaches us to be soft and dull and compliant, but you will not be any of those things, do you understand? Do not change the parts of yourself that you like to make others comfortable. Do not try to mold yourself to fit the standards someone else has set for us.


Blythe is one of the most interesting characters in this book. I just love her stance on not wanting to get married and let a man take control of her fortune, even if he is nice and kind and treats her well. She knows her worth, and she knows she can survive on her own, so she doesn’t plan on marrying since that would give her husband power over her every asset, and over herself to some extent. She is strong-willed and very driven, even when she is sick, and I really hope to see more of her in the next book because I really loved her spark.

“I have waited for you for millennia, Signa Farrow.” There was a silky husk to his voice now, too pleased for his own good. “Since the dawn of this earth, I have waited. You are mine, and I am yours. And together, this world is ours.”


The ending is not a cliffhanger exactly, it’s more of a tease for what is to come in the next book. A part of me is very excited about it and very curious to see what will happen in Foxglove, but the other part of me hopes that Signa will level up her investigation skills because she solved the mystery in Belladonna partly thanks to her skills, but mostly thanks to Death’s and Sylas’ help and some luck.


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Profile Image for Lia Carstairs.
396 reviews2,053 followers
December 13, 2022
NO BC IT JUST STOPPED THERE??? What is it with these books ending in huge cliffhangers 😭 and to have to wait over a year for the next book?? Too cruel

Beyond spectacular. I have no words for how much i loved this. Gothic infused fantasy romance served well🙏

Signa and Death have my heart and soul <3 the bantering, the tender moments, just how funny and sweet they were to each other- istg i adore them😩

And not only is the romance god tier but the self-discovery AND familial relationships that grew?? Golden. The side characters were so well layered sdfdjkfsk Blythe is a queen just know that.

I guessed one of the big plot twists in the first 50 pages but the other one?? I WAS SO OFF HAHA and here i was being so smug thinking i got it😭✋

ANYWAYS MANIFESTING AN ARC FOR FOXGLOVE BC IM DYING HERE😭 such a masterpiece everyone needs to read belladonna

full RTC

_______

I GOT AN ARC YAYYY ROMANCE WITH DEATH ITSELF HERE I COME
that sounds so wrong out of context
Profile Image for ☾.
211 reviews1 follower
January 24, 2023
preread: pretty cover! mc’s name is signa! unfortunately i will be reading it as sigma the entire time (sorry), but hopefully this doesn’t ruin the experience™️

-
read: IF ONLY the mc being named sigma was the most questionable part about this book. 2.0 stars for enjoyment, flat 3.0 objectively.

first— thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the ARC! i’m traumatized, but thank you!

since nobody else is going to say it, i will. i think it’s weird that we start the book off saying that death (our love interest) has a fascination with signa and meets her as a baby (and practically falls in love with her right then and there). oh, and then proceeds to watch her grow up as a present figure throughout points in her life until she’s an age where he can make out with her. it’s weird! very weird! and honestly, if i hadn’t received this as an ARC i would NOT have continued reading.


kind of spoiler alert:
death says the words “i have waited for you for a very long time” along with a bunch of other “i’ve been waiting for this” sentences… yuck. whether this was referring to the fact he thinks they’re soulmates or not, it’s gross. i am uncomfortable. it reeks of grooming.

(goodreads stole all the likes from this review, but i will not be silenced!!!)
Profile Image for lisa (lewis hamilton's version).
130 reviews411 followers
September 25, 2022
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with this e-ARC in exchange for my honest thoughts.

The feeling of feeling blown away by a book that I didn't have many expectations of is just so satisfying, and it's what I can say about this book.

Belladonna follows Signa Farrow, an orphan who is able to see Death since her parents' death. Expected to inherit her family's wealth when she turns 20, Signa has been living with multiple guardians, all solely interested in her wealth but every single one of them also met an untimely end. When she arrives at Thorn Grove, she discovered that the Hawthornes might be in grave danger, and decides to find out who wishes them harm.

This is an atmospheric gothic mystery fantasy that I thoroughly enjoyed for the most part. Signa was an overall satisfying character to follow, even though sometimes she was too reckless for her own good. I also love how she solved the mystery behind the murder of Lilian Hawthorne as I did not expect the plot twist (I was dead set on my theory that I audibly gasped when the twist came). Most of the elements are highly believable as the mystery was wrapped up fairly well. However, I was quite bored at the middle of the book because sometimes the story slogged a little bit.

My favorite part of this book was the relationship. First of all, I love how Signa and Blythe managed to become friends over the course of the story despite the disastrous first impression. Blythe was truly a queen and I am looking forwards to seeing her in the sequel. However, my favorite part of the book was the romance between Signa and Death. Yes, now my standards for men have come to a metaphysical dude wrapped around by shadows. At first, I thought Death was going to be like Luc from The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue but I love how Death was perfected respectful of Signa, and frankly, I adored their chemistry (remind me a lot of Kingdom of the Wicked). There were several scenes that made me screaming crying throwing up because of how sweet they are, and I am happy about that.

And the ending!! I know all too well the pain of being left off at a cliffhanger when the book is not even out yet! Needless to say that I would beg for an ARC of Foxglove because I need it right now!
Profile Image for Kelsey (munnyreads).
76 reviews5,671 followers
January 2, 2023
19 year old young woman who is unable to die tries to solve a mystery with the help of her friendly neighbor hood/love interest grim reaper. Chaos and about 50+ too many pages of talk about scones and etiquette ensues.

Fairly solid read, but I totally zoned out anytime I saw the words "Lady’s Guide To Beauty And Etiquette". Which was frequent.

7/10 will be reading the sequel because I went and got myself attached to these characters AND HOW DARE THIS BOOK END LIKE THAT.
Profile Image for ash ✩‧₊˚.
265 reviews607 followers
September 26, 2022
this was kinda creepy to read abt ngl

i read first 30-40% then read the ending and i guessed the “plot twist” that was coming up.

the writing was decent and i liked the vibes (only reason it’s getting 2 stars), but the idea of Death, an old immortal, with a teenage girl is very ugh imo

—————————

death x mc ??? i sense some slowburn and tears so yay-
Profile Image for ☀︎El In Oz☀︎.
500 reviews292 followers
July 16, 2022
5/5

THIS. This was everything I wanted and more from it.
A new favourite for sure and I need foxglove ASAP <3

Adalyn Grace’s writing is simply phenomenal. It’s improved so much since her debut novel, which I DNF’d. All issues I had with that have been resolved in this one. Her prose is luscious and atmospheric, evoking the writing of Gothic literature. She is able to convey feelings and thoughts so well in this novel. Her descriptions of settings are so well detailed and lyrical, Thorn Grove felt real. Some of the lines of encouragement Death spoke to Signa spoke to me as well - I just felt such a connection to this book.

Signa Farrow is one of my favourite heroines I’ve read about in a long time. Her journey from being isolated, lonely, and scared to embrace herself to being confident, with love, and with power - it was such a beautiful journey. I related to some of the things she felt and she’s just a very relatable character to me. I suppose one of the reasons I loved this book is because I see myself in Signa. She’s such an amazing character.

DEATH. <<33 this man guys. Do I ever love him 💗
He had his own arc of sorts and I loved it. The way he pushed Signa to embrace herself and not force herself to live by society’s standards was perfect. His nickname for Signa was so sweet. I just adore him.

The plot was chef’s kiss. It was the perfect blend of romance, mystery, and magic. I just can’t say enough for its praise. The ending?!! I need the second book ASAP. The pacing was perfect, the plot always kept me on my toes. I kept saying just one chapter - it was engrossing. It was everything it was advertised to be and more.

The romance is easily one of my favourites I’ve read this year. The banter, tender scenes, and the bond Death and Signa have is beautiful. I can’t speak enough praise for the way Adalyn Grace wrote about two very lonely people finding each other. Again, I just relate to the stuff they told each other and I loved it.

I can’t say enough praise for this book. It’s 1000% a new ultimate favourite and one of the best books I’ve read this year. If you haven’t added this to your TBR already, I highly recommend it!!

Thank you so much to the publishers for giving me an e-arc :)
You can buy this gorgeous book when it comes out August 30th!
Profile Image for muskaan (darius acrux's).
103 reviews135 followers
February 4, 2023
“Because I have waited an eternity to meet you, Signa Farrow.”

I was so scared to read this considering my streak of disappointing reads this month but I'm glad I picked this book.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVED, ADORED, ENJOYED, RELISHED, WHATEVER-GOOD-ADJECTIVE-YOU-WANNA-ADD IT. It did take me longer than it usually does to finish it but that was all me. I was just savoring this book bcs I WAS LOVING IT SM. THE VIBES. THE CHARACTERS. DEATH. FUCKING DEATH.

I loved Signa. She was so real and I'm so glad she wasn't a pushover.

Ngl I legit guessed the plot twist very soon but the murder mystery was intriguing. Kinda gave me cressworth vibes. (tho the killer was lowkey obvious inboth)

I was actually worried about the romance bcs of the age gap but surprisingly, it didn't weird me out. I loved Signa and Death together. He was all so sweet and hot and daddy and cutie and fuck him for making me go absolutely feral 3 am in the morning.

But srsly, Death stole the show for me. He's so fucking sexy like holyhellyoucandowhateveruwanttome, and did I mention how soft he is for Signa??? I'll be his whore any time of the day.

Anywayyyyy, I loved loved loved it. Prolly one of my fave reads this year.
Profile Image for SHOMPA.
307 reviews99 followers
January 16, 2023
Death as a love interest in a dark Regency murder mystery novel? Sign me up, please!

A story about a mortal girl (with unusual abilities) fighting and falling in love with a charming immortal man who is also death was exactly my favorite kind of thing. And if it is fantastically written with a mysterious Gothic atmosphere, of course, it will undoubtedly be pure enjoyment.

I had never read anything by Adalyn Grace before. So, I didn't have any high expectations going into this, shockingly I ended up enjoying her work a lot. It was a solid page-turner with intriguing characters, frightening events, a unique story, a great suspenseful mystery, and it even had a gorgeous cover too. But I wished there was a deeper emotional connection between the MC. Still, the book was no less satisfying for me—a lot of surprises were found. Particularly, I was totally unprepared for the last chapter, as another important character (Fate) made a grand appearance with a wicked vibe, which I really didn't see coming at all. My goodness, the ending still left me with so many unanswered questions. I am dying to know more. Why, oh why do we have to wait a year for the next book, "Foxglove," to be released? It will be an agonizing wait!

Anyway, I would easily give this book more stars than just a 5, because it was a thoroughly satisfying read for me. Glad to have added another great masterpiece to my favorite list this year.
Profile Image for Shannara.
436 reviews74 followers
August 30, 2022
I wanted to be in love with this book so much!!! I mean, the plot sounded amazing and look at that cover!!!! It’s gorgeous!! But, about halfway in I started to lose steam while reading. It just kind of started to fizzle for me. And I thought the ending seemed a bit rushed. But I’m pretty sure it’s just me!!

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Signa as a character, she was interesting and cared for those around her. It’s endearing and I was interested in her story. But, I wasn’t really expecting the romance when it finally came. And I just wasn’t into their relationship for some reason. It was intriguing, but it just wasn’t for me. That’s why I’m going with 3 1/2 stars rounded down. It was good, but I definitely didn’t love it.

I am quite confident that most people will be really into this one, as long as they’re into YA dark fantasy romance novels. And with a sequel on the way, anything could happen. I could adore the second one, and who knows, maybe it’ll make me change my mind about this one.

Thanks so much to NetGalley, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, and Adalyn Grace for the opportunity to read this for my honest and unbiased opinion!!
Profile Image for Paige ♠.
276 reviews740 followers
November 1, 2022
This was an enjoyable story with a very gothic vibe - perfect for the Halloween season 👻🎃

THE VIBES WERE definitely darker and more gothic, which I really enjoyed. I thought her powers were really interesting and had a unique spin on the “I see dead people” thing.

I WAS NERVOUS to read this because I feel like books with the god of death or some sort of Hades character are a bit overdone lately, but this was very original and I thought it was different from the typical tropes!

ONE THING THAT did bother me was that death was supposedly thousands of years old… yet still mostly acted like a young adult 😑😑 I always hate this so I just pretend like they’re a more normal age to get over it 😅

I LOVE A GOOD MYSTERY so I really enjoyed the plot and storyline in this. I felt like the pacing was good and I really wanted to know how things resolved.

🆗 THE ROMANCE was just okay… I think they make sense as a couple but I didn’t feel as much as I had hoped while I was reading. I did enjoy their banter and it was steamier than just a closed-door YA romance, but still not top-notch for me.

Overall, if you’re looking for a good YA fantasy that has a gothic mystery that will get you into the Halloween mood then this is a great option! I think the romance will be enjoyable for most readers so don’t let me “okay” rating in the romance be the only thing that dissuades you from reading this book!
Profile Image for Dee.
290 reviews20 followers
January 9, 2023
tw; grooming, predatory behaviour

The first chapter starts with Death (a millennia old love interest) staring at Signa (main character) when she is a BABY. How anyone can continue onwards without being even slightly concerned and suspicious is beyond me...

Later on, he acts even more of a creep. His own words:

Death dipped his head low, words brushing against her ear. “I have waited for you for a very long time, Signa Farrow.”

Since she was born. Or even before.

Signa noticed his behaviour as well, but it was quickly casted aside in the name of 'hate-to-love'.

Death spoke as though Signa were a child. As though she were a small, fragile thing that needed to be coddled.

It's so sad and alarming to see no one mention this in their reviews. It's not something to be overlooked that easily. It's classified as YA. Idc if I sound like a boomer but feeding this narrative to kids is wrong on so many levels.

End.
Profile Image for Nγx A∂яαstǝiα ❦.
150 reviews132 followers
January 2, 2023
⚜𝐔𝐏𝐃𝐀𝐓𝐄 𝐈⚜ Sorry guys I had to delete my review and rewrite it again cause it read 'error try again' when I tried opening it.
⋘•⋙---------•⪼⪻•---------⋘•⋙
This read more as a paranorrmal murder mystery than a fantasy romance, which i have nothing against, it's just not what i expected and the fault in that falls on me. 𝐁𝐞𝐥𝐥𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐧𝐧𝐚 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐭𝐫𝐮𝐥𝐲 𝐚𝐭𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐩𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐢𝐜, 𝐠𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐜, 𝐩𝐨𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐡𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐦𝐛𝐢𝐚𝐧𝐜𝐞, 𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐢𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐭𝐫𝐚𝐲𝐚𝐥 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐫 𝐠𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐮𝐬.
The romance though was not for me, i could not for the life of me connect with them as a couple, and i really tried but the chemestry, tension, banter and emotional connection were not believable. 𝐈𝐭 𝐟𝐞𝐥𝐭 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐜𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐮𝐧𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐜 𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐬.

⋘•⋙---------•⪼⪻•---------⋘•⋙
Despite having a very rich setting, the plot was a bit formulaic for me in this genre. 𝐍𝐨𝐰 𝐬𝐢𝐭𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐨𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐯𝐢𝐞𝐰 𝐢 𝐟𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐲𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟 𝐪𝐮𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐥𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐦𝐲 𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐨𝐟 𝐞𝐧𝐭𝐡𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐚𝐬𝐦 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐚 𝐃𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡 𝐟𝐢𝐠𝐮𝐫𝐞. Also i couldn't find it in me to care about our heroine or her struggles, and maybe that's why i was easily frustrated with her indecisiveness.
Now don't get me wrong i understand why she would have these moments, the period she lives in combined with her young age and society demands than from her. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐚𝐜𝐤 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐞𝐧𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐦𝐚𝐤𝐞 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐠𝐨𝐝𝐝𝐚𝐦𝐧 𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐲 𝐰𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐟 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐝𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐭.
Overall an okay read but nothing grandiose, at least not for me, I was feeling rather detached from it all. Plus it was more tell than show and if you know me, you know there's nothing i hate more than that in books, especially fantasies.
Profile Image for Kalena W.
575 reviews251 followers
November 24, 2022
5/5 stars, I loved every part of this wonderful story

"You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it's time that you burn" (341)

Thank you to Little Brown Books for Young Readers for the arc through netgalley in exchange for an honest review!

I absolutely loved this book, in every single way! Right away I realized this was going to be such an enchanting and gothic-infused novel about love, wealth, and betrayal. A while ago I received this as an arc, but I didn't get around to reading it because of how busy I was. Through that time there was a flood of positive reviews for this book after it came out, and I knew that I had to read it asap. Luckily, my copy lasted quite a while so I was able to pick it up this month and fall deeply in love.

From the very first page, I felt swept away into a wonderfully gothic and mysterious world, filled to the brim with spirits, high society, mystery, and Death himself. The author's writing is so atmospheric that I truly felt like I was walking the halls of Thorn Manor alongside Signa. I practically felt the chill of the air in the dark nights, and the warmth of the fire as they sat together. Besides just the amazing atmosphere that was built, the plot was steadily moving but still took its time to lay out all the pieces for the mystery. I was never bored one moment while reading this book, and with the pages woven with gothic vibes, it made the perfect story.

I must say I did not guess the major plot twist coming, though I saw pieces of the smaller ones. This was brilliantly done, to deter people away from the main mystery and bring about smaller ones through the course of the story. I also need the next book now!! That ending was so intense and I really need to know what happens.

Signa Farrow was a really great main character, and though at times she was a bit naive that never took away from the characterization she received. As the story went on she began to focus on becoming the person that she wanted to be, discovering the mysterious parts of herself, and helping those around her. I loved how she stood steadfast in her beliefs but was also adapt to situations to determine the best outcome for everybody. She has relentless compassion for everyone around her and an unflinching desire to help, something that I really value in characters. I cannot wait to see where the second book takes her on this journey of finding herself.

Death himself was also a very fun character to have in this story. At first I have to admit I wasn´t totally sold on him, he is a mass of shadows, haunts Signa´s life, and more but I really did end up enjoying him. One thing I appreciated was in most books the Death character is overly brooding, aggressive, or predatory for the sake of being romantic and powerful. Sometimes I'm just not in the mood to read that, and this delivered Death that was softer, empathetic, and serene. He let Signa view death from the perspective of being released, and never treated her as anything less than an equal. I really enjoyed his character and am excited to see more of him in the next book.

The romance in this book was also very fun to watch, there was slow burn, good chemistry, and the barest hint of enemies to lovers. While I was promised enemies to lovers pretty extensively, I didn't see as much as I had hoped was going to be in this book, it was almost very short lived. Luckily, my other favorite romance trope, slow burn, captivated Signa and Death for most of the book. It was really well written and while both of them took an interest in each other right away, it was good to see that it wasn't instant love.

The rest of the characters inside and outside of Thorn Manor were also very interesting. My favorite within the manor was probably Blythe, she was sharp with her tongue but underneath it, all was hiding grief alongside her own illness. The endearing relationship she eventually built with Signa was beautiful to see over time, especially as they grew to understand one another. Percy, Elijah, Marjorie, and Byron (as well as the ghosts) all made the manor feel more alive. There was enough distance between them and Signa that it made the manor feel daunting, which was important for the gothic aspect of the story.

[TW: death of parents, mass murder/poisoning, death of loved ones, mentions of child abuse, blood and gore, murder, vomit and serious sickness, poisoning, child endangerment]
Profile Image for A Mac.
603 reviews40 followers
September 25, 2022
Death has followed Signa wherever she goes – orphaned when an infant, she has gone through a series of guardians, each of whom has ended up dead. But just as she’s given up hope of ever finding a true home, she receives notice that the Hawthornes of Thorn Grove are willing to take her in. Upon arriving, Signa realizes that not all is as it seems. Thorn Grove is haunted by unsettled spirits, and Death is yet again attempting to claim her family. Can Signa learn why Death follows her and do anything to stop his claim on her family?

This was a good read overall. I enjoyed how atmospheric and gothic the setting of the work was – it’s hard not to enjoy a spooky Victorian manor. There were a few parts that had some extra gory descriptions, but they added to the story and made those parts even more spooky. The work starts off pretty slow, and it wasn’t until the last ten percent or so of the book that I found myself really becoming invested in the characters and their stories.

The characters were solid overall. Signa and the secondary characters seemed well developed, and Signa did have some good growth during the work. I would have liked some more information included about her powers and why she had them, there was a bit of a blank spot related to all of that. I enjoyed the interactions between Signa and Death – I liked their bickering and banter and felt that it made them more interesting as characters. However, I felt that the romance was a little weird and just wasn’t feeling any real romantic chemistry there.

On a more technical note, this work did contain several errors. These included missing punctuation, missing words, and incorrect word usage. I was disappointed by the number of errors I noticed.

I feel bad about this, but this work just didn’t wow me in any way and I’m having a hard time figuring out why I was underwhelmed. I did enjoy it and I do still recommend it to fans of gothic fantasy and paranormal murder mysteries. My thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown for Young Readers for allowing me to read and review this work. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for ellie.
634 reviews1,135 followers
October 5, 2022
But Death did not need to be seen; he was to be felt. He was a weight upon the chest, or a collar buttoned too tight. A fall into frigid, lethal waters.
Death was suffocating, and he was ice.


Belladonna is a gothic fantasy and follows our heroine, Signa Farrow, who cannot die. and believe me, she has tried. as a result, Death follows her. he is always near, always watching, making his presence known to her no matter how hard and often she tries to shake him off. her supposed immortality and her unwanted companion lead to nearly everyone who she is close to... dying. orphaned and alone, Signa is taken in as the ward of a distant relative and is to reside at the infamous Thorn Grove.

when she arrives she realises how haunted, physically and psychologically, the manor is, along with the Hawthorne family (Elijah and his two children, Percy and Blythe) who live there. Signa makes it her mission to find a way to save the family from such malignant forces working against them while trying to rid herself of Death, once and for all.

If there was one constant that Signa could count on, it was that no matter where she was, Death would find her.


Belladonna felt like a mosaic of several classic gothic tales— Jane Eyre meets The Masque of the Red Death meets Rebecca (and yes, i know Rebecca was inspired by Jane Eyre, but there are specific aspects of Rebecca that i felt were echoed here that can’t be said for Jane Eyre, and vice versa).

the aesthetic, the setting, the atmosphere and characters were all incredibly and classically gothic. which i am such a glutton for, honestly.

Signa felt very inspired by Jane Eyre— the lonely orphaned girl, whisked away to a grand Manor House, haunted by her tragic past. while the atmosphere and tone felt reminiscent of Rebecca, too. i couldn’t help picture Thorn Grove like Manderley, even though i know it was supposed to be like Thornfield Hall, instead. but Thorn Grove had all of the grandeur that Manderley did with the eerie gothic presence of Thornfield Hall. while the Hawthorne family’s staff reminded of the de Winter’s, full of secrets and hostility. it was just a juicy amalgamation of everything gothic and i was immediately hooked. if you enjoyed any of those classics, then definitely give this a try!

All her life, she’d hated Death. And yet, she’d spent years chasing after him like a moth to a flame.


the writing style was stunning. i was instantly captivated. granted, it was a little slow but i was still intrigued by Signa— she had a subtle, dry humour about her that i instantly liked— and her “relationship” with Death. they made quite the pair. i loved their dynamic, full of dry humour, snark and mystery. they were simultaneously confidantes and adversaries, always clashing but always found solace in one another. they made me breathless, the way he spoke to her, how tender and with so much longing, eurghhhh they were written beautifully.

i need fan art of the two of them, stat! it would be so stunning.

”All those I touch,” Death whispered, “die.” His other hand pressed against her cheek suddenly, and he breathed out a wondrous sigh so heavy that Signa’s entire body warmed. “Except for you, Signa Farrow. When I touch you, I feel you. On you, my influence is temporary.”


Adalyn Grace’s interpretation of Death was wonderfully unique. he wasn’t harsh and severe, fitting into quite a bland stereotype. he was an enigma to me, more than anything else— which fits the death pretty well. he was soft and tender, lonely almost. i was fascinated with him, every time he spoke i hung onto his every word.

while Signa was delightfully charming, full of spirit, determination and vigour. i loved the way she cared for the people around her; it really set up the events of the book well since you could understand her character motivations which propelled the plot forward. i just adored her.

She could feel his shadows now. Could feel them along her skin, brushing against her neck and lips. Igniting parts of her that she’d never known could be awoken.


the weird thing was, the book wasn’t fast-paced and intense, i didn’t devour it in one go or feel inclined to... but it doesn’t lessen the value of this book any less. instead, the story had this soft, entrancing rhythm to it, almost. i was still fully invested but not in an all-consuming way. more so, in a quiet, breathless type of way, to be digested in small doses rather then swept through quickly. i didn’t want to miss a single word that was said.

i did occasionally teeter between three and four since at times i struggled to find the enthusiasm to keep reading, since whenever the story lulled it was just a bit... dull. but the ending with the plot twists, Signa and Death’s relationship, then that cliffhanger? i had to give it four stars, especially with the writing style. i can’t gush about the way Grace writes enough.

Every day, it seemed, there was another side of him to discover. So far, this was her favourite.


the last 10% was actually incredibly emotional, i wasn’t expecting it at all. i was invested in the side characters and their fates, too. Blythe’s especially. everyone had me wary and curious. but most of all, Death and Signa’s relationship was the shining star of the book. im scared with some of the theories swirling around in my head about what will become of them in the next book. but excited nonetheless :)

And yet, when he offered his hand and asked, “Will you trust me?” her body moved forward without hesitation. Gloveless, she touched her bare skin to his shadows, wrapping her fingers around his.


overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read— the romance was beautiful, the tropes and archetypes weren’t cliche nor were they what i was expecting. and ahhhhh the writing, just perfect. i think if you’re a fan of classic gothic novels then definitely give this a go!

thank you so much to NetGalley, and Hodder & Stoughton for the arc in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Richard is slow to respond.
184 reviews101 followers
November 27, 2022
If Jane Austen and Agatha Christie became besties and decided to write a fantasy book together. Sounds interesting, but for me it unfortunately was not. I really dragged myself through this one. It had its moments where I thought that I was going to really get into it, but then it went right back to being boring. I can’t say that it was bad; it just wasn’t for me.
Profile Image for Souhaila.
201 reviews67 followers
November 5, 2022
Belladonna was a pleasant surprise since I didn't have any expectations about it but a historical paranormal gothic-y romance? And a mystery on top that? Say no more, I had to read it.

Hello, Little Bird. Come to stab me again?

Signa Farrow is an orphaned girl with an unatural hability to see spirits, who spent her life going from relative to relative because everyone she lives with dies until she comes to Thorn Grove where her last living relatives, the Hawthornes, live. Signa will be forced to uncover a murder mystery, while trying to adapt to the house and stopping another death.

You are no soft thing to be coddled. You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it’s time that you burn.

Let me start by saying that the atmosphere was everything in this book. The historical society, the manor and it's garden, the ball dance, the was every single thing so so we'll described made it so easily to imagine and live the book.

Whoever designed this place was an odd soul. A soul, Signa decided, that had been begging for this house to be haunted.
They’d certainly gotten their wish.


The characters aren't left behind because Signa and Death? (yes, Death.) They were top tier, I enjoyed a lot their banter and relationship dynamic. Sigma has a great character development, goes from somewhat shy and constantly seeking the approval of others to accepting her powers and the way she is. Death, needless to be said, was my favorite character. His mysterious and dark character makes it impossible not to be attracted to him, that I spent the whole book simping over the Grim Reaper should be concerning.

Because I have waited an eternity to meet you, Signa Farrow. To me, you are a song to a soul that has never known music. Light to someone who has only seen the darkness. You bring out the absolute worst in me, and I become vindictive toward those who treat you in ways I don’t care for. Yet you also bring out the best in me— I want to be better because of you. Better for you. I mean, please.🤌🤌

The story had a rough start but once Signa arrived at the Thorn Grove manor and the "investigation" started, it was way more interesting and kept me guessing who could it be and who could've helped.

I don't want to say anything to avoid spoilers but I saw the biggest twist coming from the beginning, some might get annoyed that it was so predictable but I was over the moon when my theory ( at least one of them) came to be true. I was compensated with the revealing of the murderer that I wouldn't have expected it in a million years.

Stop worrying about society and playing its game, hoping that you’ll be good enough, Death urged her. There is no such thing as true goodness, there is only perception.

In short, I need more historical fantasy books in my life and better yet, I need the sequel now.
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