A Beautiful Poison
Just beyond the Gilded Age, in the mist-covered streets of New York, the deadly Spanish influenza ripples through the city. But with so many victims in her close circle, young socialite Allene questions if the flu is really to blame. All appear to have been poisoned—and every death was accompanied by a mysterious note.Desperate for answers and dreading her own engagement to a wealthy gentleman, Allene returns to her passion for scientific discovery and recruits her long-lost friends, Jasper and Birdie, for help. The investigation brings her closer to Jasper, an apprentice medical examiner at Bellevue Hospital who still holds her heart, and offers the delicate Birdie a last-ditch chance to find a safe haven before her fragile health fails.As more of their friends and family die, alliances shift, lives become entangled, and the three begin to suspect everyone—even each other. As they race to find the culprit, Allene, Birdie, and Jasper must once again trust each other, before one of them becomes the next victim.

A Beautiful Poison Details

TitleA Beautiful Poison
Author
FormatPaperback
ReleaseAug 1st, 2017
PublisherLake Union Publishing
ISBN1477848878
ISBN-139781477848876
Number of pages350 pages
Rating
GenreHistorical, Mystery, Fiction, Young Adult

A Beautiful Poison Review

  • Suze
    July 1, 2017
    A BEAUTIFUL POISONMy Kindle First pick for July, I normally do not read historical fiction- but the other choices did not interest me at all. This book was interesting and entertaining.There is an odd trio of friends trying to solve some suspicious deaths of friends and relatives, this is all occurring during the great flu epidemic. The book reflects the time period, where woman were discouraged from scientific pursuits - but Allene forges ahead. The ending was quite surprising. Overall, a very A BEAUTIFUL POISONMy Kindle First pick for July, I normally do not read historical fiction- but the other choices did not interest me at all. This book was interesting and entertaining.There is an odd trio of friends trying to solve some suspicious deaths of friends and relatives, this is all occurring during the great flu epidemic. The book reflects the time period, where woman were discouraged from scientific pursuits - but Allene forges ahead. The ending was quite surprising. Overall, a very satisfying read.
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  • Brandi
    July 4, 2017
    MesmerizingI couldn't put it down!!! The characters brought me in and I loved them!! I was terrified for them, worried about them!!! Dr. Kang is a wonderful writer!!! I can't wait to read more of her work!!!
  • Barbara
    July 6, 2017
    MacabreI was very excited to read this book. Soon after starting it the excitement turned to confusion, which then morphed into mild loathing... Of the characters. The writing is pretty superb. The story while dragging a bit here and there, was full of twists and turns. The big twist in the end shocked me, and the second to last death scene was brutal but satisfying. Back to the characters. None of the main characters were likable until the last third of the book. The story is told from their di MacabreI was very excited to read this book. Soon after starting it the excitement turned to confusion, which then morphed into mild loathing... Of the characters. The writing is pretty superb. The story while dragging a bit here and there, was full of twists and turns. The big twist in the end shocked me, and the second to last death scene was brutal but satisfying. Back to the characters. None of the main characters were likable until the last third of the book. The story is told from their different points of view throughout the book, and their inner monologues made them atrocious to me. Beautiful people with ugly, selfish hearts. Allene surprised me at the end, for which I am grateful. It was hard for me to connect with the characters, because the whole time I'm thinking what big jerks they all are, but regardless the book was enjoyable.
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  • Alicia
    July 4, 2017
    Thank the Kindle First Gods because I absolutely LOVED this book. The story of Allene, Birdie and Jasper was quite a bit different than the blurb describes. Was there a gilded age murder mystery to solve? Yes.Was the Flu killing people left and right? Yes.Did Allene dread her upcoming nuptials? Yes...Did they suspect everyone, including each other, and did alliances shift? Not really... at all.This is a story of three childhood friends who haven't seen each over in nearly 4 long years. These wer Thank the Kindle First Gods because I absolutely LOVED this book. The story of Allene, Birdie and Jasper was quite a bit different than the blurb describes. Was there a gilded age murder mystery to solve? Yes.Was the Flu killing people left and right? Yes.Did Allene dread her upcoming nuptials? Yes...Did they suspect everyone, including each other, and did alliances shift? Not really... at all.This is a story of three childhood friends who haven't seen each over in nearly 4 long years. These weren't just any 4 years - these were the years between 14 and 18 when Allene continued her path toward high society where an heiress is expected to host her husband's dinner parties and not have an interest in chemistry; where Birdie is forced to leave the world she and Allene were raised in due to scandal and work for a living - a world in which there were very few options available for women to make their way in the world; where Jasper survived the loss of his socialite parents and had to grieve while growing up and finding a future with little-to-no family and no time left to be a carefree child. These friends last saw each other as equals, teenagers, friends who weren't quite grown up enough to worry about the complexities of a 3-way friendship with one plain yet smart girl, one gorgeous yet subservient girl, and one handsome boy. They meet again after so long - after so many major life changes and as adults so different than the teens who were best friends - at the engagement party for Allene and her wealthy, blue-blooded fiance Andrew. A mutual society friend is murdered. This is where our story picks up and takes off.I don't think I've ever appreciated the growth and development of individual characters and their relationships (with not only the other MC's but also the supporting staff) like I did in A Beautiful Poison. The story changes narration with each chapter but quickly made it clear who's head we're in - and the dynamics amongst the three of the MC's is phenomenal. When you first meet Allene, and well into the story, you wonder if she can possibly be so truly spoiled and self-centered - but somehow she's still likeable. And her character grows... and matures... and blossoms into something so much more. You can empathize with her even though she's really not that great most of the time. Birdie is beautiful and if you've ever heard of Radium Girls then you know, as early as page 15, that she will have a tragic end. There's simply no other way for it to turn out. But even though she's beautiful and obedient, you grow to appreciate how resilient, strong, and brave she really is - her ending is nothing like I thought it would be, even though the historical accuracy of her factory working conditions were on point. Jasper was probably my least favorite character. He's smart and driven, but also selfish and bitter. In my mind he developed the least of the three, but he probably had the furthest to go. His love for Allene and Birdie is so real, and so equal - there's NO love triangle here but you can sense how much he truly could fall for either of these very different girlfriends-grown-women.I've never been one for murder mysteries but I LOVE period pieces - there's something about a story set before the invention of cell phones that keeps me going. This novel was everything about New York City in 1919. EVERYTHING. The cars, the trains, the war, the draft, yes the flu, the differences in social standing and class, the state of Brooklyn, the expectations of women... all so incredibly on-point and described in simple yet abundant prose. A Beautiful Poison is written in a mature style, the story spans nearly 6 months and the mysterious deaths of at least 5 ancillary characters. As Allene, Birdie, and Jasper make a game of learning more about the first loss, they become tangled in one another's personal lives and force one another to grow and evolve in ways they would never have been able to had they remained in touch those 4 years. The ending - I'm also a huge fan of spoilers so I typically skip to the end of suspenseful novels - but not so with A Beautiful Poison. That's how you know I'm hooked - I didn't skip one. single. freaking. word. I won't spoil a single thing but I will say I did NOT see that coming and yet it was so perfectly done that I don't know how I didn't. Of course that's how it ended. Of. COURSE. I could honestly write for days about this story - I've been thinking about it nonstop since I stayed up last night to finish it (in one day, on the 4th of July, around 1am before work on the 5th...). It was just so damn well done. At no point was I tired or bored of following these characters and their pursuit of a murder (if it was even a murder to begin with and not an accident) - which is saying something. I just good old fashioned effing loved this book.I'm glad there won't be a sequel or part II or any such nonsense, but I will eagerly race to buy anything Ms. Kang writes again. This is an absolute fav forever.
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  • Brandy
    July 7, 2017
    3.5 stars ✨ I loved the history in this book. NYC in 1918 - The Gilded Age - this time period is fascinating!!! The fashion, the class structure, the war, industry and societal rules. Medical examinations, the flu epidemic, forensics & autopsies are discussed in depth along with chemistry and the use of poisons - even Radium Girls!! All of this was fantastic!! I loved the mystery and the puzzling together of events and whodunit. I think where it fell short for me were the characters themselv 3.5 stars ✨ I loved the history in this book. NYC in 1918 - The Gilded Age - this time period is fascinating!!! The fashion, the class structure, the war, industry and societal rules. Medical examinations, the flu epidemic, forensics & autopsies are discussed in depth along with chemistry and the use of poisons - even Radium Girls!! All of this was fantastic!! I loved the mystery and the puzzling together of events and whodunit. I think where it fell short for me were the characters themselves. I just really didn't LIKE any of them. This I could get past, however, because I did see growth out of them, especially spoiled Allene and pushover Ernie. However, the soap opera love triangle (although that isn't really the right shape because there were more than 3 involved) made this a bit less enjoyable somehow for me and took away from the incredible story unfolding. That being said, this was still a very engaging read. The ending was well plotted and twisty!! Oh, not thrilled with Allene's incredibly quick 180 degree change in love interests (also a complete shift from the realization I thought she had come to terms with about herself). She goes from being "wooed" to talk of marriage in the span of a car ride?!?! And with HIM?! So quickly her opinion changed.... Which, okay. He's really sweet and he was there for you. I get that!! Pump the breaks a little though, Allene. Jumping into marriage just because he bought people things and she suddenly thinks he's kinda cute? You literally JUST made me proud of you for showing independence and individuality. I will say that this book made me super curious about Radium Girls and the influenza epidemic and I'll be reading more about them soon!! What a tragic piece of history.
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  • Paige
    July 4, 2017
    This book was one of Amazon's Kindle First books. I was torn between it and another book. I ended up choosing the other book, but decided I really wanted to read this one too so I made my mom get it as her Kindle First book and read her copy. (: I'm not usually a fan of mystery novels- I get too impatient trying to solve them and don't take the time to enjoy them like I do other books. This one, however, was remarkably well written and continuously got better all the way to the very end. I didn' This book was one of Amazon's Kindle First books. I was torn between it and another book. I ended up choosing the other book, but decided I really wanted to read this one too so I made my mom get it as her Kindle First book and read her copy. (: I'm not usually a fan of mystery novels- I get too impatient trying to solve them and don't take the time to enjoy them like I do other books. This one, however, was remarkably well written and continuously got better all the way to the very end. I didn't find the main characters very likeable most of the time (especially near the beginning), but they grew on me. That also made them feel more realistic to me, which I liked. The story was unique, the mystery/whodunnit was satisfyingly elaborate and believable, and the cover is gorgeous. I may just have to buy a physical copy as soon as it's released. If you're debating on which July Kindle First book to get - get this one! If you're just looking for a good book to buy, I'd recommend this book to you too! (:
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  • Lindsay
    July 5, 2017
    I actually really enjoyed this book a lot, which pleasantly surprised me. I received it through the Kindle First program for July, and I didn't really expect a lot. I was quickly surprised by how engaging the characters were, especially how well-developed they were. I thought I had figured out all the twists and tricks, but I did not, which was great. I liked the focus on early 20th century chemistry, where so many discoveries had been made, but others were still so unknown. It was a great summe I actually really enjoyed this book a lot, which pleasantly surprised me. I received it through the Kindle First program for July, and I didn't really expect a lot. I was quickly surprised by how engaging the characters were, especially how well-developed they were. I thought I had figured out all the twists and tricks, but I did not, which was great. I liked the focus on early 20th century chemistry, where so many discoveries had been made, but others were still so unknown. It was a great summer read, and I think it would be enjoyable for someone without a science background, as there's enough high society and WWI to interest you as well. Oh, and my favorite molecule is a methyl group, because of its simplicity.
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  • Sarah
    July 6, 2017
    I'm not always a fan of historical books, but this one did a BRILLIANT job of dragging me out of my living room and into it with GORGEOUS descriptions. The three main characters are complex and well thought out, and push along the "who dunit" without feeling like a traditional mystery novel. A little slow in the beginning, but well worth it as you rocket to the end of the book to reveal a plot-twist that Kang buried so deep I completely missed it, following every single false trail she left for I'm not always a fan of historical books, but this one did a BRILLIANT job of dragging me out of my living room and into it with GORGEOUS descriptions. The three main characters are complex and well thought out, and push along the "who dunit" without feeling like a traditional mystery novel. A little slow in the beginning, but well worth it as you rocket to the end of the book to reveal a plot-twist that Kang buried so deep I completely missed it, following every single false trail she left for me to find. Fantastic book, I highly recommend it.
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  • Mell
    July 5, 2017
    This was a good read! A pleasant surprise. I confess that the last few Kindle First titles have been total duds for me. I enjoyed both the historical elements (very well done) and the intriguing characters. I was a bit disappointed in the persistent romantic pursuit, and its very traditional aspects. But so many of the characters grow and evolve as the novel progresses that I should probably not quibble.
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  • Mari Johnson
    July 6, 2017
    A page turner!!! I loved this book!I rated this give stars because it was interesting, different, factual, exciting, had drama, and the character development was so well done and not formulaic! The story unfolds a little bit at a time, giving you just enough information to keep you curious, until you find yourself thinking about it even when you're not reading it! I await the author's next work with bated breath... Brava, Lydia!
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  • Sheila
    July 7, 2017
    Two and a half stars. This was a kindle first selection. I usually like historical mysteries, but I wasn't a fan of this one. I liked the era, and the premise, and the writing was okay, but I didn't like any of the main characters; all unpleasant and selfish, victims and aggressors at the same time.
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  • Lori Niemuth
    July 6, 2017
    Good historical mysteryThis was the first mystery novel I've read in a long time I hadn't solved by the third chapter. With believable characters set during a fascinating time period, Ms. Kang makes me eager for more.
  • Jennifer Lambouris
    July 3, 2017
    This was a solid 3 star book until I got to the end...I never saw it coming! I really disliked the characters throughout the book but found my attitude changing as they changed. A surprisingly good read!
  • Rachel Clayson
    July 3, 2017
    It was just okay, and then it awesome!Wow! I did NOT see that coming! Loved the history and shout outs to the pioneers of forensic science, most of all I loved being surpised at the end! Pleasantly surprised.
  • Rebecca H. Cooley
    July 7, 2017
    I am still sure who did it?A good read, not sure who did what until the all most end. I do believe I have a new author to follow!
  • Donna Meyer
    July 6, 2017
    Excellent!!I loved the intertwining of history, medicine and mystery. This is the best I have read in awhile. It is not typical nor boring.
  • Marsha Neumann
    July 7, 2017
    Very enjoyableThe author created people you'd like to hang with as their lives unfolded before you. An interesting time to be alive and a mystery that had many moving parts.
  • Diane Secchiaroli
    July 6, 2017
    Very good thriller which doesn't reveal the protagonist until the very end. Well written with giving just enough history of NYC in the beginning of the 20th century.
  • Kate
    July 7, 2017
    A very interesting book. This was a Kindle First.
  • Beverly Granger
    July 7, 2017
    The book was written very well--I loved the chemistry and medical aspect of the book. I was disturbed by the feelings Allene had for Birdie. I'm glad that part of the story line was limited.
  • Ryan Groesbeck
    July 7, 2017
    (Disclosure : I bought this through the Kindle First program, if that matters). This was an ok mystery, but weighted down by some awful character work. And the ending did not recoup that.
  • Peggy
    July 7, 2017
    Deadly and BeautifulBeautifully written mystery weaving the lives and deaths of three friends and their unfortunate relatives. A page turner with a surprise ending. I loved it!!
  • Amber gagnelius
    July 4, 2017
    A riveting book that I read in a day it has a twist at the end I never saw coming. Read it you will not be disappointed.
  • Lynn Gionette
    July 7, 2017
    I'm rarely ever surprised by a book and was by this one. Never saw the twist coming. Hats off to you Lydia Kang, you got me!
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