The Poison Tree, a psychological thriller, is the debut novel from Erin Kelly. From page one, you know something bad is going to happen. From the beginning you know that Rex has been in prison for murder. Is the murder he supposedly committed the bad thing? Or is there more?
The novel skips back and forth between 1997 and ten years later. When the book opens, Karen is running from someone or something.
Karen is a very intelligent young woman, and she learns other languages at the drop of a hat. So in 1997 when she comes across this young lady at college who needs a language tutor, well, she gets the job instantly.
The young lady is Biba. Her real name is Bathsheba Capel. Both of her parents are dead and her mother was an actress. Karen is entranced by the bohemian lifestyle that she and her brother, Rex, live. Biba invites Karen to one of their parties, and Karen falls in love with their carefree way of living even more. Drugs and alcohol are an everyday part of life for them, and they don't seem to know what responsibility is. When their friend and roommate, Nina, moves out with her two children, Karen is immediately asked to move in with them.
She moves in and almost immediately falls madly and passionately in love with Rex, who does whatever he can to please Biba and keep her happy. Has she had a traumatic experience? Or is he trying to protect her from something?
There is so much going on in the lives of her new-found friends that she knows nothing about. Their lives have not been nearly as peaceful and undramatic as hers has. Karen's life doesn't stay peaceful for much longer. Biba's boyfriend moves in with them, too.
One horrible afternoon, things happen that change each of their lives forever. There are two murders, and Rex ends up in prison. But is he the one who committed them? And what is this secret that Karen keeps hinting at?
The long, vivid descriptions are done quite well, but still were a bit much for me at times. I became so caught up in the story that I was not the least bit tempted to put the book down, though.
What do I believe is the main theme of this novel? Be careful about the friends you choose.
The management of BellaOnline sent me this book to read in exchange for an honest review. If you would like your own copy of this book to read, I have provided an Amazon link for it below.