Yellow Jessamine follows the tale of shipping magnate Evelyn Perdanu who through her power and influence, controls the dying city of Delphinium with her trade deals. But when a deadly sickness spills into the city, the blame falls on Evelyn. To save herself and her self-made empire, she must find the cause of this sickness before everything she worked for and all she holds dear is torn away.
Throughout the narrative, Starling does an amazing job as establishing and presenting the setting that is the city of Delphinium. The scenery and atmosphere are so haunting and unique, from the foggy docks to Evelyn's dark mansion and greenhouse. I personally loved the use of poisonous plants in the imagery and plot, makes for such a spooky aesthetic.
Starling also does an amazing job at hooking the reader into the plot, especially as the mysterious sickness begins to take hold of Delphinium. There were times when I was racing through the pages, my eyes glued to each word as the scenes grew so tense.
Another highlight was our main character, Evelyn. She is sharp, calculated and at times, brutal but, these are all traits she had to adapt due to her horrid past and the rocky nature of her present. Yet she uses her power to occasionally help others when she can and you can tell that there is something more beneath her hardened exterior. There is also much room for her to grow throughout the story which makes the narrative so much richer.
The only criticism I have about the book is that I wish we got to learn more about some of the minor characters. Violetta is a prime example since she's such a complex and interesting character. Then again, I feel as if this is something that just comes with novellas so I wasn't too bothered by it.
Overall, Caitlin Starling's Yellow Jessamine is a dark, twisting trip through a haunting tale of unearthed secrets, poisonous lies and a badass heroine with a deadly green thumb.