A Whiff of Sweet Poison: Belladonna by Karen Moline, A Novel of Revenge

Pretty poison is her cry
Belladonna watch you die

When vengeance takes a seductive and irresistible form embodied in a figure of a mysterious enigmatic woman forged by an unrelenting purpose, she will stop at nothing, friends and foes alike, to ensnare her preys. Just like a phoenix emerging from her ashes, this dark and enticing novel takes us through a journey of a woman's struggle and strength, and how far a woman must go to redeem her soul.

It was the year 1935. Innocent and spirited Midwesterner Isabella Ariel Nickerson traveled to London with her cousin June for a visit and landed a coveted invitation to what she thinks will be an enjoyable glamorous costume ball. Little did she know that she will be taken away and become a pawn to a ritual of domination and submission known only to the noblemen who call themselves the members of the Club. Robbed of her freedom, identity and dignity, the once trusting and utterly spirited girl slowly fades and in her place, a new woman is born and lives for one quest - revenge. She calls herself Belladonna.

After an odyssey of flight, escape and transformation, the bejeweled and masked Belladonna appears in a swanky exclusive nightclub in 1950's Manhattan, the toast of high society. She will captivate both the imagination and hearts of everyone, like a lingering scent of potent perfume. Here she dwells and here she waits like a venomous spider for a member of the club to walk right into her lair and her exquisite plan for vengeance can finally begin. (see dust jacket)

Karen Moline's seductive writing seemed to match the tantalizing heroine herself that leaves the readers wanting, ever more curious, drawn into its sweet whiff of poison. You would want to be told more about this devastating beauty. Belladonna is like a figment of a woman's fantasy, a creature that some would desire to be; strong, independent, alluring and mysterious. The irony here is that even though the reader may be sold to this idea, the heroine's struggles were no joke. Her dark past haunts here still and she may never be free of it for as long as she lives. While everyone around fawned over her, Belladonna does not care for niceties or admiration.

Her circle of loyal retainers, the few secondary characters with their own past afflictions, share her aim for vendetta.The story, as narrated by her friend Tomasino, is unraveled to us little by little. This might try your patience but he's definitely got some flair for it, that one. Moline's works delve into the psycho sexual power (as also prevalent in her other book, Lunch) with its tones of domination, battle of wills and hidden fantasies, of answering to no laws but the character's own. Most might find this book a bit dark and disturbing, perhaps a little extreme for it pushes a being's boundaries to its extremity.

Nevertheless, who could resist a somewhat female version of the rise of The Count of Monte Cristo? Then again, I might be over reaching here for Dumas has his own great merit. But this book is surely one guilty pleasure, albeit not for everyone. In the end, you just cannot help but root for Belladonna, the beauty fresh from hell.

Title: "Belladonna"
Author: Karen Owens
Genre: Historical, Erotica, Mystery
Published: 2008 Hardcover
Publisher: Warner Books Inc
Rating: ♨♨♨  - Never has poison been this delicious and enticing one cannot help but take a whiff of it. I took some and found it bittersweet and wanting for more. Enter Club Belladonna and its mesmerizing tale of obsession, passion and desire.


  1. This sounds very interesting a period piece dealing with BDSM. However from the sounds of it quite different from what the current trend is with the same theme. A lot darker if I'm not mistaken. Definitely goes in my to-read list!

    1. You mean like Fifty Shades? :)

      I'm actually still confused how to categorize this book. It's just partly a little bit of all labels combined but doesn't really embrace each to the full.


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