Published by Lake Union Publishing on August 1st 2017
Genres: Adult, Historical, Mystery
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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.
I am not much a historical reader, but there are a couple time periods that I really enjoy, anything from the mid teens of the 1900’s to the 1930’s I love to read about. And, A Beautiful Poison is set within this time period and has so many things going for it, there is chemistry as in actual chemistry and murders, mystery and dark family secrets that no one ever wanted to be revealed. A page turner from the start.
Kang did a wonderful job giving us such a vivid picture of the world in 1918. The houses where the wealthy live, the streets and buildings in town. We also see the factories and stores and the apartments where the less fortunate people live as well. During this time, the hospitals are overran with those who have been infected the Spanish flu, and the Great War is going on so there is turmoil all around.
Character wise, there are three main ones. And, at first I really didn’t care for Allene. I thought she was uppity and selfish but the more I read, I realized that she really wasn’t this way, I think she acted this way to protect herself almost from those around her. At least with Birdie and Jasper her childhood friends she didn’t have to pretend. I did end up liking Allene a lot more towards the end. Birdie was quiet, but she had also been through a lot so I pretty much expected her to be like that. She worked hard to take of her mother and sister. I did however adore Jasper. He did come from upper class but something that happened in his families past put him where he was now, he struggled and had to work his butt off but he was okay with with and made the best of it too. There are a few other characters that played a role, that I really liked and some that I just wanted to punch in the face. Overall, it was a fantastic group of characters.
When the murders of those close to them they do everything in their power to find out who is behind it. And following them while piecing all the clues together was quite a ride. I thought I had the murdered figured out and then that ending was like, um nope. You’re wrong. A complete twist that I did not see at all. I kinda sat and wondered how did I miss that! But, it was awesome! I believe that fans of historical fiction will enjoy this one for sure.