Atropa Belladonna is the second in a five book series chronicling the lives of Jeff and Eve Lambert. It is available on wattpad.
Atropa Belladonna Book Summary
Eve has recovered from the devastating aftermath of an obsessive affair. She appears to have established a new life with a loving, surrogate family where she can raise her lover Jeff's illegitimate son and secure her reputation. As she embarks on an independent life, Jeff writes to tell her he's been recently widowed and asks Eve to marry him. After tragedy strikes again, Eve is drawn back into his orbit. She moves to Chicago and begins a life with Jeff. Atropa Belladonna poetically illustrates the complexities of love, marriage and abuse in the context of the 1950s family.
Atropa Belladona commonly known as deadly nightshade, is a perennial plant with leaves and berries that are extremely poisonous and hallucinogenic. It is one of the most poisonous herbs in the world. From suicide to murder, belladonna has been a favorite tool for centuries to bring about a quick (and unpleasant) death.
Atropos: the mythological Greek goddess who chose the mechanism of death for each mortal. She held shears in her hand with which she cut the thread of life.
Belladonna: Italian, beautiful woman.
Prologue – Spring 1950
I don't know how you will react to this letter. That is why I haven't written to inquire about you in such a long time. But I have worried about you since the day they took you to the hospital. Truthfully, you are always in my thoughts. Ever since the moment we met. Before I left, I read a story in the paper about Oregon State Hospital, written by a woman reporter who was there undercover. She described the conditions and several women's stories. I couldn't help but think you were one of those women. I couldn't help but fall into the worst remorse and guilt. It was my fault. I was so blind with jealousy and rage. I have never laid a hand on a woman before, and I would have never thought I would be capable of doing what I did to you. I know that I was the one who made you so distraught that you were taken to the hospital. I know from the article that it must have been hell and I am haunted by the relentless image of you in anguish. But, Eve, things have changed in my life. I live in Chicago. You probably heard I moved away from Sellwood.
Of course, I understand if you don't even open this letter. If you throw it away. In which case, I won't continue to write. I will let you go on with your life. Another reason I am writing is because my situation has changed and I can offer you a new life. Eve, Margaret was ill and six months ago she passed. I don't know if you knew but we have two small children, Clara and Jeffery. They are without a mother. I am without a wife. I am not asking you to come and care for me and my family as if it were a business contract. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I know I could find a wife without much effort. It is you that I want. You know I have always wished to find a way for us to be together as husband and wife. I'm not happy that it is under such tragic circumstances. If your life is happy and fulfilled, I understand. But, if you continue to struggle with finding a place to settle that is yours without having to lie or feel isolated then perhaps you would consider starting a new life with me? I am Charlie's father. He would be legitimate in everyone's eyes if we were married.
Perhaps, this letter is absolutely crazy and you hate me after what I've put you through. I know it's not an excuse but after I saw you and Charlie together for the first time, I wanted something you were unable to give me. I know that. I became very possessive and tried to force you to give me what I wanted—but I didn't know that was an impossible expectation of you. I hope you remember what we had before things turned so bad. I have included my telephone number. If you have any inclination, please telephone me. I would love to hear your voice again.
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