In Botanical Curses and Poisons, illustrator, author, and folklorist Fez Inkwright returns to archives to uncover the fascinating folklore, lurid histories, and untold stories behind deadly plants, witching herbs and fungi. Filled with beautiful illustrations, this treasury of folklore is packed with insight, lore, and the revealed mysteries of everyday flora!
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this fascinating book about the hidden nature of things that can be found in the hedgerows Thank you so much to Random Things Tours. for the invitation and I absolutely loved browsing through this book like a wise woman in a medieval manuscript!
The book is published by Liminal 11, a mind, body, spirit publisher and is so so beautiful – it would make a wonderful and special gift for someone you know who is fascinated by the unearthly side of life and would like to know more about the folkloric lure of things at the bottom of your garden…
Discover the fascinating folklore, lurid histories, and malignant properties of toxic plants.
‘If you drink much from a bottle marked ‘poison’, it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.’
– Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice in Wonderland’
Poisonings are among the most memorable deaths in history, from the Roman Empire to the Medieval era and beyond. Concealed and deliberate, it’s a crime that must be planned in advance. And yet there is a fine line between healing and poisoning – Paracelsus argued that only the dosage matters!
‘Botanical Curses and Poisons’ is printed in hardcover with metallic foiling, a ribbon bookmark, black-and-white illustrations on nearly every page, and a wealth of folklore history and poetry about the deadly plants within!
This beautiful and fascinating book took me back to wandering through the stunning setting of Alnwick’s Poison garden and reading about all of the ways that these plants and their properties have been used over the centuries. Whether you are fascinatred by the cosmetic uses of poisons – to give an alabaster complexion or fashionably dilated pupils – or whether you are more intrigued by the nefarious purposes that many of these plants have been put to use, you will find plenty to horrify, fascinate and delight between these stunningly gilded pages
The book itself reminded me of some of the gorgeously poisonous mushrooms that we’ve all read about in fairy tales – the more beautiful and alluring that they are on the outside, the more you should be wary about the deadly properties that they are masking within – this jewel of a book glitters stunningly on the outside, but beware of the plants it’s describing for you between its covers…
This book would make a great gift as I’ve explained and its layout means that its wonderful for just dipping into – at first, it introduces the history of poisoning, talking about the way that witches deployed the properties of plants for good or for ill and the difficulties that their knowledge sometimes brought to gthem because of this is well-documented.
Then Fez Inkwright introduces us to a stunningly illustrated A to Z of Plants, accompanied by an eclectic mixture of poetry, myths and legends that add colour and history to many of the properties that are described. Whether you are fascinated by the historical associations of the poppy plant and its opiate soaked connotations or fascinated by the way the mandrake’s history has evolved into the world of Harry Potter and Hogwarts.
This is not a book to rush through, but to linger on and contemplate and it definitely allowed me to dabble in one of my favourite post-reading hobbies – which is going online and researching all of the things that have fascinated me when reading a book – whether that has been Gaelic and Celtic legends or the hidden meanings of flowers
You don’t have to be a fervent horticulturalist to adore this book as I definitely don’t have green fingers myself, but I found the whole atsosphere of the book to be incredibly soothing and lost myself in its pages last week, allowing me to stop thinking about all the things going on at the moment and enjoy finding out about so many fascinating aspects of plantlore. If you’ve never read anything like this before, definitely give yourself a treat and buy a copy – it’s been my read of the month so far.
Writer On The Shelf
Fez Inkwright is an illustrator, author and folklorist. Her greatest passions are botany, nature, primitive religions, and folklore, which flavour most of her work.
For the past eight years she has produced work for children’s books, hand-drawn maps and tattoo design and now spends her time indulging in conservation work and writing. She lives in Bristol with two cats and several hundred bees.