Book Notes: In The Garden of Spite by Camilla Bruce

In the Garden of Spite. Fictionalized account of female serial killer Belle Gunness.

book cover for In the Garden of Spite

In the Garden of Spite
by Camilla Bruce

Summary-In the Garden of Spite

In the Garden of Spite is a fictionalized account of Belle Gunness, a notorious serial killer from 1884-1908. She lured her victims to her farm outside of LaPorte, Indiana via newspaper ads run in Chicago newspapers. The Widow Gunness needed someone to help her with her large farm and with her children. Only males with means and willing to pay a personal visit need apply. Before she was discovered, she killed forty men (at least.) She slipped away from the farm and was never brought to justice for the murders.

The novel starts back in Belle’s home country of Norway, when Belle, then known as Little Brynhild Størset lived with her family in grinding poverty. Norway is where Little Brynhild first got away with murder, a feat she would repeat over her lifetime.

Bruce’s novel is a mix of historical fiction, true crime, and suspense. She immerses the reader into Guinness’ world, and the result is a horrifying book that is difficult to put down. This is a book that will stick with me for a long time.


Recommended. Bruce does a fantastic job of immersing the reader into Gunness’s world. The suspense level is high throughout the book, even though the ending isn’t a surprise.



Camilla Bruce website


Berkley Publishing Group
Historical Fiction, Mystery and Thriller
ISBN: 9780593102565

Book provided by NetGalley for review.

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