Adalyn Grace’s Gothic fantasy Belladonna became a bestseller soon after its August release — meaning there are already many readers eager for the sequel. Foxglove won’t be out until August 2023, but Gizmodo has an excerpt to share today, as well as the first look at its cover (plus a cover variant).
Here’s a summary of Foxglove, followed by the covers:
The captivating sequel to the Gothic-infused Belladonna, in which Signa and Death face a supernatural foe determined to tear them apart.
A duke has been murdered. The lord of Thorn Grove has been framed. And Fate, the elusive brother of Death, has taken up residence in a sumptuous estate nearby. He’s hellbent on revenge after Death took the life of the woman he loved many years ago…and now he’s determined to have Signa for himself, no matter the cost.
Signa and her cousin Blythe are certain that Fate can save Elijah Hawthorne from prison if they will entertain his presence. But the more time the girls spend with Fate, the more frightening their reality becomes as Signa exhibits dramatic new powers that link her to Fate’s past. With mysteries and danger around every corner, the cousins must decide if they can trust one another as they navigate their futures in high society, unravel the murders that haunt their family, and play Fate’s unexpected games — all with their destinies hanging in the balance.
Dangerous, suspenseful, and seductive, this sequel to the story of Signa and Death is as utterly romantic as it is perfectly deadly.
And here are the covers! The regular edition has red flowers, and the exclusive-to-Barnes & Noble special edition has pink flowers. The excerpt follows.
It’s said that foxglove is most lethal just before the seeds ripen.
Signa Farrow could not help but think of that alluringly toxic flower, and her family’s manor that shared its namesake, as she stared down at the corpse of the once Duke of Berness.
All her life she’d heard the stories of how her parents had died in that manor, their final breaths reaped by poison. Signa had found wrinkled newspaper clippings detailing the incident buried in her grandmother’s attic when she was a child and remembered thinking what a beautifully tragic evening it must have been. She’d envisioned bodies dancing beneath a buttery haze of lights while satin gowns twirled about the ballroom floor and thought of how lovely it must have been in those final moments before Death arrived. She’d taken comfort knowing that her mother had died in a ballgown, doing what she’d loved most.
Never had she allowed herself to imagine the tragedy of such a death or stopped to consider the shattering glasses and earsplitting screams like those that reverberated through Thorn Grove’s ballroom. Until her cousin Blythe stumbled forward as someone shoved past her, Signa hadn’t given any thought to how a person would have to mind their hands and toes to avoid being trampled by those who hurried past the body lying dead at their feet, rushing toward an exit.
This death was not the beautiful, peaceful once that she had dreamed for her parents. It was merciless.
Everett Wakefield sank to his knees beside his father. He wilted over the corpse, showing no awareness of the mounting chaos even as his cousin, Eliza Wakefield, gripped him by the shoulder. Her face was green as lichen. Gathering one long look at her dead uncle, she clutched her stomach and heaved her dinner onto the marble floor. Everett didn’t so much as flinch as her sickness spilled upon his boots.
Moments ago, the Duke of Berness had been all smiles as he’d prepared to partner with the Hawthornes on their esteemed business, Grey’s Gentleman’s Club. The arrangement had been the town’s most notable gossip for weeks and a moment that Elijah Hawthorne, Signa’s former guardian, had been preening about for even longer. Yet as he stood behind the corpse of that almost-partner with a flute of water trembling in his hands, Elijah Hawthorne no longer preened. He’d gone so white that his skin was like marble, veins of blue corded beneath his eyes.
“Who did this to me?” Lord Wakefield’s spirit hovered over his body, translucent feet not quite touching the ground as he twisted to face Death and Signa — the only two who could see him.
Signa was asking herself the very same question, though with the restless crowd surrounding them, she couldn’t very well answer Lord Wakefield aloud. She took a steeling breath and waited to see if more bodies would fall, wondering all the while if this was how it had been at Foxglove the night of her parents’ deaths. If it had felt too bright and too glittery for the sickness that marred the air, and if her mother’s sweat-soiled gown and coiled hair had been as heavy as Signa’s was now.
So lost in her thoughts and her panic was Signa that she flinched when Death whispered beside her, “Easy, Little Bird. No one else will die tonight.”
If that was meant to reassure her, he’d need to try harder. Everett held his father’s limp hand, and Signa’s heart squeezed at the sight. Everett’s tears fell in a bone-chilling silence as his father’s spirit sank to his knees before him.
“Is there a way to reverse this?” Lord Wakefield looked upon Signa with such severity — such hope — that her shoulders caved inward. God, what she wouldn’t give to be able to tell him yes.
As it was, she had to pretend not to hear him, for her focus had been stolen by a man who stood across the corpse, watching Signa’s every move. His presence alone had her drawing back, every hair on her body standing on end.
Never had she seen this man, yet she knew who he was the moment his molten stare pressed into her. The haze of lights dimmed, and with his gaze Signa’s world tunneled into darkness. The panicked screams dulled, ebbing away until they were little more than a distant hum. While Death’s grip upon her tightened, Signa found that she could not turn to look at him. The man who called himself Fate consumed her, and by the slice of a smile upon his lips, he knew it.
“It’s a pleasure, Miss Farrow.” His voice was smooth and rich as honey, though it held none of its sweetness. “I’ve been searching for you for a very long time.”
He was taller than Death in his human form, but more slender and corded with delicate muscle. Where Death was fair-skinned and sharpened by a cut jawline and hollow cheekbones, Fate sported deceptively charming dimples upon his bronze skin. Where Death was dark intrigue, Fate shimmered as if a beacon for all the world’s light.
“Why are you here?” It was Death who spoke in a tone of bitter ice, for Signa’s lips were numb, useless things.
Fate tipped his head to look where Death set his hand upon Signa’s shoulders, a slip of fabric between their touch. “I wanted to meet the young woman who had stolen my dear brother’s heart.”
Signa’s attention halted. Brother. Death hadn’t mentioned having one, and from the tension in the air, she wasn’t certain whether she should believe it. Never had she felt such lethality from Death, whose shadows pooled beneath his feet. She yearned to draw back and find solace in their protection, but no matter how much she begged her body to listen, it was as though her feet were nailed to the floor. Signa felt like little more than a bug beneath Fate’s glare, half expecting him to lift his boot to squash her. Instead, he drew two steps forward and took Signa’s cheeks in a hand so startlingly soft that she flinched — a noble’s hand, she couldn’t help but think. He bent to her level, his touch searing her skin.
“Let her go.” Death’s shadows spiraled forward, halting at the back of Fate’s neck when the man brushed his thumb across Signa’s throat.
“We’ll have none of that.” Fate didn’t so much as look up to acknowledge Death’s threat. “You may have reign over the dead and dying, but let’s not forget that it’s my hand that controls the fates of the living. For as long as she breathes, this one is mine.”
Excerpt from Adalyn Grace’s Foxglove reprinted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Foxglove by Adalyn Grace will be released August 22, 2023; you can pre-order a copy here.
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