Wednesday, November 29, 2023

THE LEAGUE OF LADY POISONERS: Illustrated True Stories of Dangerous Women, your budding teen feminist needs this gift

THE LEAGUE OF LADY POISONERS: Illustrated True Stories of Dangerous Women
(written and illustrated; Forewords by Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi)
Chronicle Books
$29.95 hardcover, available now

Rating: 4* of five

The Publisher Says: A feast for the senses, this sumptuously illustrated book will introduce you to some of the most infamous women throughout world history, united by their shared taste for poison. Welcome to the League of Lady Poisoners.

This riveting and well-researched volume by Lisa Perrin weaves together the stories of more than twenty-five accused women poisoners, exploring the circumstances and skill sets that led them to lives of crime.

You might find yourself rooting for some of them—like Sally Bassett, who helped poison her granddaughter’s enslavers in Bermuda, or Giulia Tofana, who sold her name-brand concoction to women wanting to be rid of their abusive (or otherwise undesirable) husbands. Other stories, though—including that of Yiya Murano, one of Argentina’s most notorious swindlers and serial killers, or the terrifying Nurse Jane Toppan—may prove less palatable.

Organized into thematic chapters based on the women’s motives, the book also includes an illustrated primer that delves into the origins and effects of common poisons throughout history, as well as a foreword by Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi, creators and hosts of the podcast Criminalia. It is a treat for true crime fans, feminist history buffs, and any curious readers fascinated by the more macabre side of human nature.

TRUE CRIME Women can do anything—even commit murder. This thoughtfully researched and insightful survey into the lives of the poisoners explores the toxic events that put these women in the spotlight, the deceptive methods and substances they used, and their legacies today. The League of Lady Poisoners is a thrilling deep dive for fans of true crime podcasts, docuseries, and books.

EYE-CATCHING Illustrator and author Lisa Perrin’s beautiful and distinctive art style blends the romantic allure of these pop culture legends with the disturbing and twisted facts of their lives. The hardcover is decorated with shining foil, and the interior contains clever Victorian-inspired lettering, borders, and diagrams that complement the text. Readers and illustrated book collectors will love all the details honoring the Golden Age of Poison.

FASCINATING, DIVERSE STORIES OF WOMEN WHO KILLED These women lived in different time periods and had varying cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds that influenced their motives. Some acted out of defiance—like the Angel Makers of Nagyrév, who taught women how to dispose of their abusive husbands in Hungary. Others schemed their way to power and money, including Empress Wu Zetian of China and Belle Gunness, who killed more than 14 people in the American Midwest. Discover all their stories in this engaging collection . . . if you have the stomach for them.

Perfect for: • Lovers of true crime podcasts like My Favorite Murder, Morbid, and Criminalia
• Readers who enjoy historical biographies, especially of women
• Readers who love a good villain, antihero, or underdog story
• Murder mystery fans
• Art lovers and illustrated book collectors
• Fans of Lisa Perrin's beautiful illustration
• Shoppers looking for a unique feminist gift book
• Fans of period dramas like The Serpent Queen and The Borgias
• Readers who enjoy books like Lady Killers: Deadly Women Throughout History and The Trial of Lizzie Borden


My Review
: This book has gorgeous artwork:

...and a clear, unfussy yet decorative design.

I loved reading the stories of these murderous women...the vast majority killed men, but most of those men needed killing...taking power into their own hands when there were few avenues for them to get or exercise power.

I would rate this a full five stars but for one thing...I found the author wrote in a flippant tone about what, in the end, is the taking of human life. It would not have been bothersome to me had it not been about real, living, breathing human beings, not fictional characters. This likely is a crotchet unique to me, but it was as time went by, clearer and clearer to me that I did not enjoy the flippancy.

I am still recommending it as a gift for your teenaged budding feminist because the underlying message...when you are backed into a corner by the world, you use what you have to exert your one I fully agree that young women need to learn. As these crimes are not lauded, or held out as good solutions to the problems the murderers faced, I think a mid-teen woman will be able to navigate the subject matter with her own moral compass.

Besides, a little bloodthirstiness in the women of the world will do everyone a power of good. Plus this stuff is just flat-out fun!
Look at this! It is beautifully designed to echo classical art, and it is graphically reminiscent of the period's Roman mortuary sculpture...witty, lovely, in fine taste, and informative.
Paracelsus wrote centuries ago, and the truth of his observation is eternal. Let's not shy away from teaching morally gray lessons about Power and how it is wielded to young women who need countermessaging to helplessness, powerlessness, and eternal victimhood that are ubiquitous in entertainment and social structures surrounding them.

If it takes learning about the horrors of Belle Gunness and Empress Cixi to prevent more women from becoming E. Jean Carroll and Anita Hill, so be it.

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