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The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly

The Poison Tree (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Erin Kelly

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4703222,028 (3.6)28
Title:The Poison Tree
Authors:Erin Kelly
Info:Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (2010), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly (2009)

  1. 00
    The Secret History by Donna Tartt (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Something disturbing sometimes happens when young people congregate. These gothic tales feature young, bohemian, and intellectual characters becoming caught up in relationships that lead to tragic results.
  2. 00
    The Likeness by Tana French (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: In both of these emotionally complex, brooding novels of psychological suspense, the female character at the center becomes entangled in a bohemian lifestyle, only to find it's rather more difficult to disengage. Both also feature multi-faceted characters and ever-increasing tension.… (more)

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English (32)  Dutch (1)  All languages (33)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
A good vacation read. This one is about a girl whose life becomes intertwined with a manic and fascinating woman at her college. As she gets sucked into her world she becomes enamored with the carefree lifestyle. It reminded me a bit of The Secret History and The Likeness, though of the three I think The Likeness is the best. ( )
  bookworm12 | Nov 19, 2015 |
An interesting story, although after a while I found it hard to accept that the female teller of the story, her boyfriend who was brother of the other female main character, remained blind to the weakness of and selfishness of his sister from the moment the two women met, right up until the drastic finale. It offered a view of the non-caring and egotistical belief of someone who accepted that scatterbrained and impossible behavior was a god-given right. The misguided reason why a brother thought his sister's willful behavior must be constantly forgiven and defended for so many years was too unbelievable in the end - especially when he let himself be sentenced to twenty years in prison for a murder she committed, and didn't seem to accept any responsibility for thereafter.
No doubt there are very colorful characters everywhere, but the irresponsible and often hurtful conduct illustrated in this story would ultimately lead to losing the friendship of any relative or friend who is half-way 'normal'. People generally have a limit to what they condone, and loving someone does not stop one's brains musing over what is actually right or wrong. The story was well written and it's a pity that the author didn't spend more time figuring out a plot that showed more strength of character and more reality than I read about here. ( )
  dragonflydancing | May 24, 2015 |
I rated this book more on personal enjoyment than content. This book wasn't for me; I found myself skim reading a lot. ( )
  Tarklovishki | Oct 31, 2014 |
3.5 stars ( )
  bonniemarjorie | May 7, 2013 |
The Poison Tree was an engaging and well written 'psychological thriller' from new author Erin Kelly. I was a bit dubious in approaching this novel, not least because of the three-plus pages of recommendations at the start of the book; in my experience, such hyperbole is rarely justified.

However, the story of slightly drippy Karen and her intense friendship with Biba (wannabe actress with a nice line in personality disorder) and her slavish brother Rex, grips and is a fairly tense, if somewhat predictable page-turner. Set in the summer of 1997, it's a tale told in retrospect, with the circumstances of the protagnonists' lives set out at the start. There's murder (or more accurately manslaughter), middle class London suburbs, obsession, and intense, enmeshed relationships all sparking off a well plotted story. The female leads were fairly irritating,and I struggled to really understand the non-sexual desire that drove Karen to form the dysfunctional relationship with Biba in the first place, but Kelly's writing is assured and intelligent, and this book certainly achieves the accolade of 'exciting fiction'.

The reviews compare the work to Barbara Vine and Evelyn Waugh, and while it's not in their class, it is nevertheless a good, old fashioned page-turner. Worth a gamble.
© Koplowitz 2012 ( )
  Ant.Harrison | Apr 28, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Although slow to start, I very much enjoyed THE POISON TREE, being pulled into the life of the central three characters over their intimate summer, in which Karen learns more about the strange circumstances of this brother and sister, and about the complexities underlying their behaviour.
added by bsiemens | editEuro Crime, Maxine Clarke (Jun 1, 2011)
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So ging's mit uns an Sommerabenden in Zeiten, da wir Kinder waren und dachten, Liebende zu sein. "The River Road", Sean O'Brien
This book is dedicated to the father of my child
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I let the telephone fall from my hands.
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Het pad dat we kozen op zomeravonden
In de tijd dat we kinderen waren
En minnaars dachten te zijn.

'The River Road', Sean O'Brein
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Karen reflects on the summer of 1997, when she went from being a college student on the verge of graduation to spending time with her new rebellious friend Biba and dating Biba's brother, Rex, while Karen and her nine-year-old daughter, Alice, pick up Rex from prison ten years after that summer, when he has finished serving his sentence for murder.
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Picking up Rex after a ten-year prison sentence for murder, Karen remembers the bohemian summer in 1990s London when their carefree romance and excesses became subject to a complicated family history and ended in violence.

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Average: (3.6)
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3.5 16
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