Tuesday 16 February 2021

๐Ÿ“– Blog Tour ~ Botanical Curses and Poisons: The Shadow Life of Plants by Fez Inkwright


๐Ÿ“– Delighted to host a stop on this blog tour today ๐Ÿ“– 

Liminal 11
11 February 2021

My thanks to the author, publisher and Random Things Tours for my copy of the book
and the invitation to the blog tour

Poisonings are among the most memorable deaths in history, from the Roman Empire to the Medieval era and beyond. Concealed and deliberate, it’s a crime that must be planned in advance. And yet there is a fine line between healing and poisoning – Paracelsus argued that only the dosage matters! In Botanical Curses and Poisons, illustrator, author, and folklorist Fez Inkwright returns to archives to uncover the fascinating folklore, lurid histories, and untold stories behind deadly plants, witching herbs and fungi. Filled with beautiful illustrations, this treasury of folklore is packed with insight, lore, and the revealed mysteries of everyday flora!

๐Ÿ“– My thoughts..

First off I have to start by saying that this book about botanical curses and poisons is really quite stunning. It has a tactile cover which makes you want to stroke it before you open to reveal end papers which are filled with dramatic images of skulls, bones, berries and pretty cup shaped flowers, all of which I am sure have deadly portents.

The book is beautifully illustrated by simple mono line drawings which stir the imagination and which give, along with the text, a comprehensive guide to the A-Z of Plants which could potentially do great harm. There is a disclaimer at the start of the book to not try any of these as the book is for information and entertainment only and not a medicinal guide to try plant based medicine at home.

Botanical Curses and Poisons is a book to savour and even dipping into and out of it at whim reveals something quite special which the author describes in a such a magical way that even the most deadly of poisons seems strangely beautiful. It's filled with the awesome charisma which drew our ancestors to search the undergrowth for both cures and poisons and the book reminds us that good and harm often walk side by side. The author demonstrates that not all poisons are deadly, we only have to look at the dramatic use of Foxglove: Digitalis purpurea  which contains the poison digitoxin which slows the heart. We still use Digitalis in certain heart conditions today, in fact it was one of the first drugs I had to learn the use of in my student nurse days.

The book is a fascinating cornucopia, filled with a wealth of knowledge both botanical and historical so that reading it becomes more of a journey through the history of both herblore and folklore. Alongside the intricate descriptions of plants and their uses, I have loved reading the references to poets and writers which help to bring the book alive in such a glorious way.

When we are not in lockdown I enjoy walking in woodland and countryside and have a healthy respect for plants and their uses having grown up in a family who made potent brews from nettles, rhubarb and elderberries, and who always had comfrey leaves steeping in a stone pot by the door to use as a compress over bumps and bruises, although here in the North West comfrey was more commonly called the more archaic nip or knit bone. 

Botanical Curses and Poisons:The Shadow Life of Plants has been a fascinating book to read. I've enjoyed the wealth and knowledge which the author has included and which gives the impression that producing this has been a real labour of love for her. It has certainly paid off in a book which will sit proudly on my bookshelf and act as an aide memoir should I ever need a curse, or a poison, or simply a lovely, informative read about the shadow lives of those plants I have seen and never knew what power they have, in the right hands, to do both harm...and good ๐Ÿ’ฎ

Folk Magic and Healing
An Unusual History of Everyday Plants

Liminal 11

My thanks to the author, publisher and Random Things Tours for my copy of the book
and the invitation to the blog tour

Throughout history, plants have played a key and vital role to our existence. Many of the old wives’ tales about plants were created to spread knowledge of their medicinal and nutritional properties, and many have become entwined with stories of local spirits, deities, and more ancient legends. Folk Magic and Healing is, ultimately, a collection of many of these beliefs, aiming to inspire a greater appreciation of our wild plants and countrysides. This stunningly illustrated treasury of the folklore of flora is packed with insight, lore and the revealed mysteries of everyday plants – perfect for gardeners, writers, folklorists, witches and general knowledge buffs alike!

๐Ÿ“– My Thoughts..

Folk Magic and Healing; An Unusual History of Everyday Plants is an altogether lighter book than its opposite, Botanical Curses, and yet is no less powerful for containing stories of magic and healing. With its lighter cover of pretty flowers and busy birds and bees the impression is one of mystical protection rather than deadly harm.

The book contains a wealth of knowledge about the simple plants we see both in our gardens or in the fields and hedgerows of our countryside, many of them steeped in history and with uses long forgotten. The stunning black and white drawings are beautifully placed within the text and the author's sumptuous description of the plants and their uses bring the whole thing to life in such a special way.

I've enjoyed reading the A-Z of plants not only to discover and learn about the flora we take for granted but also to  discover the history of herblore and to find out more about the history of plants and their uses. In between the history of plants the author cleverly intersperses tasters of lovely verse, there's even a verse from one of my favourite poems, The Choice by Katherine Tynan and runs these snippets alongside historical references. I was particularly charmed by the inclusion of a version of the Ogham Calender and its Druidic focus on the spiritual association of tree worship.

Folk Magic and Healing; An Unusual History of Everyday Plants is a fascinating book to read by an author who clearly loves botany and folklore and who brings the whole thing alive so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of nature in all its glory.

About the Author

Fez Inkwright is an illustrator, author and folklorist. Her greatest passions are botany, nature, primitive religions, and folklore, which flavour most of her work. For the past eight years she has produced work for children’s books, hand-drawn maps and tattoo design and now spends her time indulging in conservation work and writing. She lives in Bristol with two cats and several hundred bees.

Twitter @Rosdottir




  1. Thanks so much for the blog tour support Jo x

    1. A great tour, Anne. I have enjoyed both of these lovely books x


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