The Poison Garden

The Poison Garden

Shocking, tense and sharply written, The Poison Garden is the gripping new novel from the international bestseller and Edgar award-winning Alex Marwood.Where Romy grew up, if someone died you never spoke of them again.Now 22, she has recently escaped the toxic confines of the cult she was raised in. But Romy is young, pregnant and completely alone - and if she is to keep...

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Title:The Poison Garden
Author:Alex Marwood
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Poison Garden Reviews

  • Indieflower

    I really like Alex Marwood's style of writing and this had me hooked from the first chapter, a young pregnant woman is found alive inside the grounds of a sprawling rural property owned by a cult, where everyone else appears to be dead. I became totally engrossed in this thought provoking, character driven story, I found it dark and gripping and not quite what I was expecting. The characters were fascinating, the differing time lines really helped to get to know them and perhaps to understand

    I really like Alex Marwood's style of writing and this had me hooked from the first chapter, a young pregnant woman is found alive inside the grounds of a sprawling rural property owned by a cult, where everyone else appears to be dead. I became totally engrossed in this thought provoking, character driven story, I found it dark and gripping and not quite what I was expecting. The characters were fascinating, the differing time lines really helped to get to know them and perhaps to understand just a little, why they made the choices they did. The depiction of the cult felt very believable and so well written I felt as if I was there and the fact that it was a cult with no religion involved made it even more interesting. I've read all of Alex Marwood's books but I think this one is my favourite so far, 4½ stars rounded up to 5.

  • Liz Barnsley

    This is a novel I’ve been waiting for and it was worth every second of that wait- nobody engages me with thought provoking characters and stories like Alex Marwood and The Poison Garden is tense, beautiful and utterly gripping.

    The thing about this book is it is full of layers, Romy is unforgettable and her life experience and how it defines her sets the anchor for the wider story. This is a dark dark tale indeed, edgy and unpredictable, the cult theme expanded upon in hugely compelling ways. The

    This is a novel I’ve been waiting for and it was worth every second of that wait- nobody engages me with thought provoking characters and stories like Alex Marwood and The Poison Garden is tense, beautiful and utterly gripping.

    The thing about this book is it is full of layers, Romy is unforgettable and her life experience and how it defines her sets the anchor for the wider story. This is a dark dark tale indeed, edgy and unpredictable, the cult theme expanded upon in hugely compelling ways. The author manages every aspect of the drama pitch perfectly, leaving you the reader feeling off kilter and concerned for the outcome as if these were real people. She absorbs you into their world immediately and unrelentingly, less a read more a life experience.

    If happy endings, rainbows and kittens are your thing then this will not be for you – however if you like your reading to push the boundaries of your usual thinking, if you like to see the world from a different perspective and most of all if you want those characters and tales that take you out of your comfort zone then The Poison Garden will no doubt be one of your books of the year.

    Highly Recommended. All the way.

  • Bill Kupersmith

    This is the fourth novel by Alex Marwood that I’ve read. I loved The Wicked Girls, The Killer Next Door, and the Darkest Secret, and The Poison Garden does not disappoint. It fascinates each of Marwood’s books is distinctive and different, all excellent but if you didn’t know, you’d swear they are by different authors. This one is a story about a cult that very much resembles Jim Jones’s People’s Temple, though located in Wales instead of Guyana. It also resembles Rebecca Wait’s The Followers:

    This is the fourth novel by Alex Marwood that I’ve read. I loved The Wicked Girls, The Killer Next Door, and the Darkest Secret, and The Poison Garden does not disappoint. It fascinates each of Marwood’s books is distinctive and different, all excellent but if you didn’t know, you’d swear they are by different authors. This one is a story about a cult that very much resembles Jim Jones’s People’s Temple, though located in Wales instead of Guyana. It also resembles Rebecca Wait’s The Followers: in both the cult is called the Ark, a reminder to us that Noah was truly the first (and most successful) survivalist. The members of the Ark community refer to all those outside their as the Dead. The leader of the cult, Lucien, chooses mating partners for the girls when they come of age, but some are especially honoured to bear his own progeny, who become a kind of aristocracy within the community. Just what is expected to happen to the human race at the Great Disaster is never specified, whether it’s going to be ecological, military, or even astronomical, is not revealed. We discover early instead that something like the Jonestown massacre overtakes most of the cult. The front story set in 2019 feature three half-siblings who escaped, Romy, Ilo and Eden. The latter two find their way to being fostered by their aunt Sarah in East Anglia, where Romy eventually joins them. Romy is also pregnant by Lucien. Romy carries a knife and is most adept at survival skills, especially dealing with rapists. Ilo and Eden’s schoolmates also learn the consequences of bullying.

    The Ark community is well developed in the story. Though “Everybody is No One and No One is Somebody are the motto of the community, Lucien, his partner Vita, an American though that plays no part of the story, and some of his offspring seem to form an inner circle who actually run things. Community members who run afoul with the leaders have a habit of disappearing or suffering fatal accidents. In either case they are simply not mentioned again. Sarah is the product of a fanatical evangelical Christian church that is virtually a cult itself, whilst the Ark seems to profess some kind of neo-paganism, though I also sensed the suggestion that the Ark existed only to gratify Lucien and his family’s appetite for sex and power.

    As I read The Poison Garden with a raging tooth ache, I’m a bit unclear on some of the details and eager to read over parts again. But for now I found the ending a bit enigmatic. It seems the cult may indeed survive, perhaps as they imagine as the only survivors. But whatever the conclusion, this is an engrossing read.

  • Helen Carolan

    Another excellent read from Ms Marwood. The members of a cult are fond dead in Wales but there have been some survivors. When Sarah learns that her sisters children are still alive she agrees to have them live with her. But the children struggle to adapt to life outside the cult and may have a hidden agenda which may not involve Sarah. Eerie read and terrific.

  • gem

    I love Alex Marwood’s books, I’ve been a fan since reading The Wicked Girls and with each book she offers an insight into some kind of dark and twisted world.

    Within The Poison Garden we are forced to confront the controversial issue of cults, communes, and how they treat each other and how they view the outside world.

    Differing time lines allow us to see the story from varying perspectives and I loved that. I really liked Sarah and Romy but wasn’t too fussed about the others.

    It’s difficult to say

    I love Alex Marwood’s books, I’ve been a fan since reading The Wicked Girls and with each book she offers an insight into some kind of dark and twisted world.

    Within The Poison Garden we are forced to confront the controversial issue of cults, communes, and how they treat each other and how they view the outside world.

    Differing time lines allow us to see the story from varying perspectives and I loved that. I really liked Sarah and Romy but wasn’t too fussed about the others.

    It’s difficult to say much about this without giving away any spoilers, but suffice to say it’s sometimes uncomfortable reading because it’s so plausible that this kind of brainwashing/radicalising behaviour is happening... but that just makes it even more believable and unputdownable.

    Yet another hit!

    Thank you to Netgalley for the chance to read this.

  • Jillian Doherty

    Cult fiction is salaciously interesting; there’s so much curiosity into this evergreen fascination.

    The Poison Garden offers different points of view in cascading timelines- we see within their communal life, as well as when they’re forced to live amongst the dead- love the way she built the character’s perceptions toward both realities.

    A hauntingly compulsive read, with Marwood’s dark signature storytelling.

    Galley borrowed from the publisher.

  • Paromjit

    Alex Marwood takes the reader into the toxic, tragic and unwaveringly bleak territory of the dangerous world of cults and communes as she immerses the reader into the horrors of their ways of living. A multilayered narrative provides us with insights and observations of life before, during and the repercussions that follow in the aftermath of the cult with its different timelines and characters. A young vulnerable and pregnant Romy has been shaped by the cult, and has to negotiate life after the

    Alex Marwood takes the reader into the toxic, tragic and unwaveringly bleak territory of the dangerous world of cults and communes as she immerses the reader into the horrors of their ways of living. A multilayered narrative provides us with insights and observations of life before, during and the repercussions that follow in the aftermath of the cult with its different timelines and characters. A young vulnerable and pregnant Romy has been shaped by the cult, and has to negotiate life after the cult, isolated and alone, with trust issues, facing an unfamiliar world and with questions about her family, only to find the past is not that easy to leave behind.

    It is truly terrifying how so many will blindingly follow a charismatic leader, irrespective of how insane they may be, although the brainwashing does explain a lot. This is a hugely unsettling, shocking and uncomfortable read, one which quite frankly I could not wait to shake off, but this is a story that managed to get to me. I did not find myself emotionally investing in any of the characters, but here's the thing, it is frighteningly scary just how realistic it felt, mirroring and grounded in real life cults and their twisted dynamics. It proves to be thought provoking and eye opening about a world I have no experience of, and no desire for any, it outlines with skill just how difficult cults are to walk away from. This is a relentlessly haunting and monstrous read, one that gave me the shudders, and in my view, not for the faint hearted. Many thanks to Little, Brown for an ARC.

  • Tracy Fenton

    I am a HUGE fan of Alex Marwood's previous books and was thrilled to learn she has a new book being published this month and delighted to get an early copy via Netgalley of THE POISON GARDEN.

    THE POISON GARDEN is a real departure from the authors previous books focusing more on the characters and digging deeply into cults, brainwashing and the followers apocalyptic beliefs.

    Told through the viewpoint of several main characters, the story begins in Wales when two police officers are called to a

    I am a HUGE fan of Alex Marwood's previous books and was thrilled to learn she has a new book being published this month and delighted to get an early copy via Netgalley of THE POISON GARDEN.

    THE POISON GARDEN is a real departure from the authors previous books focusing more on the characters and digging deeply into cults, brainwashing and the followers apocalyptic beliefs. 

    Told through the viewpoint of several main characters, the story begins in Wales when two police officers are called to a scene to discover hundreds of dead bodies.  This begins the multiple narrators; Sarah, a divorced school administrator who has moved back into her deceased parents house and learns that her sister is one of the dead; Romy, a young girl who is one of the few survivors of cult and Somer, Romy's mother and Sarah's sister who was one of the followers of the cult.

    This is a much slower pace than her previous books, but it still kept me hooked and gripped throughout.  The details surrounding the cult and the brainwashing of the followers and the enigmatic leader Lucien Blake made the story plausible and realistic.  There were moments and scenes which were so disturbing and uncomfortable that I had to stop and gather my thoughts before continuing on.  

    An interesting and thought-provoking story.

  • Clare

    With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.

    I have enjoyed all Alex Marwood`s books so I was excited to read The Poison Garden.

    The prologue started when the police were called to The Ark, a large commune set in the countryside. Within the commune the dead bodies of adults and students were found lying on the ground.

    When the police arrived they found twenty two year old Romy was found in the commune `hospital. She was heavily pregnant and had

    With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.

    I have enjoyed all Alex Marwood`s books so I was excited to read The Poison Garden.

    The prologue started when the police were called to The Ark, a large commune set in the countryside. Within the commune the dead bodies of adults and students were found lying on the ground.

    When the police arrived they found twenty two year old Romy was found in the commune `hospital. She was heavily pregnant and had `serious legs injuries. After recuperating in hospital and then rehab she was released. Romy had two younger siblings called Eden and Llo and longed to be reunited with them.

    Eden and Llo were being look after by their Aunt Sarah who was their mother Somer`s sister. Sarah was lonely after the breakup of her marriage and was not sure she could be responsible for two children.

    A lot more happens in this book and I don't want to give any spoilers. The plot was told from the POV of Romy, Helen and Somer. I enjoyed reading about philosophy of the cult. It was amazing that a group of adults believed Lucien no matter how charismatic he was. I enjoyed reading about Romy`s reaction to living in the modern world with the dead. Her reaction to Jerk chicken was fabulous.

    I didn't particularly like Eden but I loved Llo.

    If you have read Alex Marwood`s previous books I would say The Poison Garden is completely different. If I knew the plot of the book I would never of picked it up.

    Overall this was not a bad read, however the ending was extremely disappointing.

  • Gary

    I have previously read 'The Darkest Secret' by Alex Marwood and enjoyed it a lot but for some reason I just couldn't connect with this book. I love the writing style but this particular book didn't do it for me.

    In this story Romy escapes the cult she was raised in and the only world she has ever known. But when she enters 'normal' life it does not hold the excitement you would expect. Now twenty-two, she has recently escaped the toxic confines of the cult she was raised in. Romy is young,

    I have previously read 'The Darkest Secret' by Alex Marwood and enjoyed it a lot but for some reason I just couldn't connect with this book. I love the writing style but this particular book didn't do it for me.

    In this story Romy escapes the cult she was raised in and the only world she has ever known. But when she enters 'normal' life it does not hold the excitement you would expect. Now twenty-two, she has recently escaped the toxic confines of the cult she was raised in. Romy is young, pregnant and completely alone. In a world that is completely new to her, she needs to learn there are some people you can trust and others to fear.

    I don't doubt that this book will bring a lot of entertainment to the majority of its readers but sadly not for me this time. Enjoyed the writing and will read others by this author so don't be put off by me it is only my opinion.

    I would like to thank both Net Galley & Little, Brown Book Group UK for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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