Published by Penguin on January 19, 2021
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Historical, Crime
An audacious novel of feminine rage about one of the most prolific female serial killers in American history--and the men who drove her to it.
They whisper about her in Chicago. Men come to her with their hopes, their dreams--their fortunes. But no one sees them leave. No one sees them at all after they come to call on the Widow of La Porte.
The good people of Indiana may have their suspicions, but if those fools knew what she'd given up, what was taken from her, how she'd suffered, surely they'd understand. Belle Gunness learned a long time ago that a woman has to make her own way in this world. That's all it is. A bloody means to an end. A glorious enterprise meant to raise her from the bleak, colorless drudgery of her childhood to the life she deserves. After all, vermin always survive.
My first thought after finishing In the Garden of Spite:
WHAT THE HECK DID I JUST READ?!?!?!?! My daughter just asked if I’m okay and the answer is NO! I’m definitely NOT okay!!!
“They never expected me to hold a grudge.”Those words will haunt me for quite some time now.
I admit I’ve been fascinated by fictionalized stories of serial killers. Usually, they don’t haunt me in my dreams and keep me up at night. But this… this… THIS has scarred my brain, I think. And (unfortunately) also caused me to want to learn more about the serial murderess Belle Gunness.
I literally lost count of how many bodies had dropped by the time I made it to the mid-point of this novel, but that’s not what kept me reading. It was the way Belle was portrayed as yes, a killer, but also a victim whose compulsion to kill was deeply embedded as a way to protect herself and her children. I hated that I kept finding myself feeling just a teensy bit sad for her. And then she’d do something completely horrid and turn my stomach and I’d have to set my Kindle down and hold my babies super tight because.. UGH! This was horrible!!! (But in a good, super creepy, can’t ever close my eyes or trust people again sorta way. )
Do I recommend this to fans of historical fiction who enjoy a good serial killer story? ABSOLUTELY!!! But make sure you’re in a good head space before you pick this one up, because it WILL keep you up at night and send shivers down your spine!
Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an e-galley of this book in exchange for my honest review.