Series: Lady Slayers #2
Release Date: April 6th 2021
Publisher: Abrams Books
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars
In 17th-century Paris, 19-year-old Catherine Monvoisin is a well-heeled jeweler’s wife with a peculiar taste for the arcane. She lives a comfortable life, far removed from a childhood of abject destitution—until her kind spendthrift of a husband lands them both in debt. Hell-bent on avoiding a return to poverty, Catherine must rely on her prophetic visions and the grimoire gifted to her by a talented diviner to reinvent herself as a sorceress. With the help of the grifter Marie Bosse, Catherine divines fortunes in the IIle de la Citee—home to sorcerers and scoundrels.
There she encounters the Marquise de Montespan, a stunning noblewoman. When the Marquise becomes Louis XIV’s royal mistress with Catherine’s help, her ascension catapults Catherine to notoriety. Catherine takes easily to her glittering new life as the Sorceress La Voisin, pitting the depraved noblesse against one other to her advantage. The stakes soar ever higher when her path crosses with that of a young magician. A charged rivalry between sorceress and magician leads to Black Masses, tangled deceptions, and grisly murder—and sets Catherine on a collision course that threatens her own life.
Poison Priestess is the second instalment in Lana Popovic’s Lady Slayers series. I really enjoyed the first instalment in this series – Blood Countess – so I was intrigued to see where Popvic would take the series next. The story follows Catherine Monvoisin, who lives a comfortable life with her jeweller husband. It’s far away from the childhood she spent in poverty, and her husband is happy to leave Catherine to pursue her interest in the arcane. When their debts begin to mount and Catherine’s way of life is threatened, she finds herself as sorceress to the Marquise de Montespan – the mistress of Louis XIV. As she rises higher in society she becomes tangled in a web of murder and secrets, but will she be strong enough to survive it?
Poison Priestess is a really engaging story. It sucked me in from the very beginning and the fast-paced writing style had me racing through the pages. It’s a relatively short book but manages to pack quite a lot of story in. I ended up reading it in a single day on holiday and it’s left me desperate for another instalment in this series. Like Blood Countess, this is a standalone, based on a historical figure. I knew a little about Elizabeth Bathory – the inspiration for book one, but knew absolutely nothing about Catherine Monvoisin. It was a fascinating tale and I did end up doing some googling to learn more about her.
Catherine is a really interesting protagonist, one who is flawed and makes mistakes but is determined never to return to that life of poverty. I did really like the relationship between her and Marie but wished there was a bit more time to explore the relationship and see it develop. I particularly loved the seance scenes in the story, and Popovic’s beautiful writing really brought them to life. This is an entertaining and fast-paced read, one that will keep you hooked till the very last page.