Alex Marwood's writing back in 2013 with her debut and Edgar Award winning novel, The Wicked Girls. (my review) I've been hooked ever since. Each of her novels has been completely different, unexpected and addicting. Her latest is The Poison Garden - and it too was a story I couldn't predict.
Romy was a toddler when her mother moved them to The Ark, a cult who is waiting and prepping for the end of the world. (Marwood does a great job of world-building with the cult.) They know they will be saved. As we find out from the first chapter, the end of the world comes - for The Ark. Romy is thrust back into the 'world of the dead' as The Ark referred to the outside world. She has to learn how to adapt to this world - and the family her mother left behind.
Marwood tells Romy's story in a past and present timeline. We learn about the cult/commune before the downfall - the pracitces and beliefs, the members and what led up to the the demise of The Ark. But how did Romy survive? We're with Romy from her first day back in the 'real world'. Those time lines progress until they ultimately meet. I love this method of storytelling. The back and forth had me up late, needing to know what is happening on each side of that final resolution and reading 'just one more' chapter.
Marwood kept me on my toes - there was no way to predict where this story was going to go. I so appreciate being surprised by a plot. Marwood's prose flow easily. And as before, I didn't see the ending coming. It finished the book, but left some nice little what-ifs to keep the reader wondering.
Alex Marwood is a pseudonym for a London journalist and her books have a gritty, authentic feel to them. The Poison Garden was another dark and delicious read. Here's an excerpt of The Poison Garden.