Foxglove by Adalyn Grace
Adalyn Grace’s Foxglove (Little, Brown and Company) is the lush gothic fantasy sequel that you’ve been waiting for. Belladonna was a standout from the start, and Grace’s highly anticipated second installment does not disappoint. A delicate dance of haunting romance, high stakes and fiery emotion, Foxglove draws you in from the first page and entangles you once more in the eerily enchanting world of Signa Farrow.
Signa is a woman unable to die. She can see spirits and is coming into her powers as a reaper — a being with the ability to take life with a touch — as she explores her relationship with Death himself. Foxglove introduces us to Death’s gleaming, golden brother, Fate. Facing another murder, one that once more drags her newfound family into harm’s way, Signa has no choice but to explore the avenue that Fate opens to her: a dangerous and new world that she fears to enter. With her cousin Blythe at her side and Death always a breath away, Signa must decide who she wants to be, amid mounting pressure and expectations from those that she cares for. Death and Fate beckon, and Signa is faced with the ultimate choice – how far will she go to save those that she loves?
I absolutely loved Belladonna, and Foxglove was exactly what I needed from its sequel. Grace’s writing style is gorgeous — perfect pacing, stunning descriptions and detail, many-layered characters and vivid scenes — all nestled within a rich, Victorian world. She has created a landscape of color and scent, the mansions that these characters waltz through practically painted on the page amidst the wisteria and juniper. Every character, down to those given only a page or two of mention, are developed with an intricate eye for depth, backstory, motives and nuances. I relished returning to the world that this series inhabits, from the overgrown gardens and the wild forests, to the high society balls and bustling townscapes. There is so much life contained within the pages of Foxglove — despite being a novel so entwined with death — and it kept me turning page after page, into the late hours of the night.
We are immersed in the world of Signa and Death in Belladonna, and our second experience with them is just as passionate and alluring. Signa is fiery and brilliant, combining with Death’s cool, calming presence to create an enticing pairing accented by stolen glances, shadowed caresses and just a touch of spice. Every moment that they are apart has us wanting them to return once more to each other, and Foxglove gives us what we want, but with a twist. Enter Fate, Death’s brother, who also has his sights set on Signa, though for a different and wonderfully surprising reason. Fate is at times deliciously manipulative, yet at others laid bare and vulnerable. He elicits our pity, yet provokes our ire, all while serving as Death’s foil. Foxglove also sees Signa’s cousin Blythe step into part of the narrator role, and her wit and spunk never cease to thrill. Her motives and drive are beautifully developed, and her relationship with Signa is a favorite of mine, particularly as we witness the arc they traverse in this book.
Each character that Grace has written is multifaceted and intriguing. Fate pulls and twists the threads, yet yearns for something just beyond his reach. Death’s all-consuming power reaches everyone and everything, and yet what he wants may be stolen from him. Signa and Blythe are caught within a brewing storm that threatens to harm those on all sides, especially those near and dear to them. The stakes are placed on both a fantastical level as Death and Fate are pitted against each other, and yet remain on a human level as Signa, Blythe and more are forced to choose between family, love and desire. The immortal are faced with mortal longings, and mortals are made to choose by immortal beings.
I was hooked from the moment I picked this book up — from the moment I started reading Belladonna, honestly — and cannot wait for the third installment to debut. I was gripped by these characters, by this world, by the stakes that speak to a reader on our level, and yet are still blown up to a magical level that soars within the gothic fantasy genre. Foxglove is a hauntingly seductive tale that ensnares you with Death’s shadows from the first sentence and burns you with Fate’s brilliance to the last. If you love a book with strong female characters, powerful and mysterious men, twists of dark fantasy, Victorian era splendor and just the right touch of fated romance, then Foxglove is for you.
Publish Date: August 22, 2023
Author: Adalyn Grace
Page Count: 464 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers