Love and hatred were the witch’s currency. Her garden was an aphrodisiac garden and a poison garden. Roses and myrtle and passionflowers grew entwined with hemlock and foxgloves, mandrake and nightshade, the heavy-headed, bell-shaped flowers of dark purplish-red from which was distilled the belladonna eye-drops that had killed my mother.
A book about women's lives, somehow filled with magical realism and grounded in reality. A retelling of Rapunzel, the tale of the witch who imprisoned her, a tale (largely imagined, of course) of Charlotte-Rose de la France, granddaughter of a Marshal of France, the tale of Athenaïs, the Sun King's mistress, the stories of their mothers, rivals, sisters, mentors. All women who played the cards they were dealt as well as they could, who could be kind, who turned to sorcery, who were trapped in worlds made by men sometimes considerate, often capricious.