Book Review: The Lost Apothecary
Hope you’re all doing well. I’ve been caught up in a storm of projects for grad school, and due to that I’m falling behind on my reads for one of my classes, so I’ve really got to speed it up if I expect to read enough books in time. The fun never ends lol.
Alright, so today I’m reviewing The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner.
I’ve never read anything by this author, though I do remember when this came out that I decided to pass it up because I just wasn’t quite interested enough. So far this semester I haven’t hated historical fiction books, so I figured maybe I’d love it! Did I?
Keep on scrolling for the review!
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them – setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course.
Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman.
Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose – selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate – and not everyone will survive.
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I had a really good time with this novel despite it not being in the typical genres I go for.
This book is centered on three points of view. That of Nella, an apothecary in the 18th century who dispenses poisons for a living, Eliza, a young maid with heart, and Caroline, a modern day woman on the brink of divorce in her ten-year marriage. As Caroline goes on her 10th anniversary vacation alone due to her husband’s unfaithfulness, she soon uncovers a mystery that spans centuries. Can she put her resolve to the test and reawaken the passion she had years before to solve this mystery?
Multiple points of view are hard to pull off, but Penner did a great job of making each one distinct with its own voice.
I listened to this via audiobook while following along with an eBook, and I enjoyed the different narrators. Nella and Eliza were my favorite points of view. Nella had a deeper voice and an accent that was passionate and engaging. I was hanging on her every word. Eliza’s points of view was also well done, and I enjoyed the difference in view that her youth and backstory provided. One thing I would’ve enjoyed more with the audiobook was a uniform pace. Nella’s chapters were told at a much slower speed than Caroline’s, so I had to constantly adjust the speed of the audiobook to keep things moving at a decent pace.
That being said, each character had a personal journey ahead of them, and I enjoyed the depth of character I got to see with each. The mystery element of this novel was ever present and kept me going. I bonded quickly with Nella and Eliza, and I had to know what happened to them and how things ended up.
In the end, this novel was a standout, and I highly recommend this book to those looking for a mystery with heart.
That’s A Wrap!
Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!
Have a great day!
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on The Lost Apothecary, Jonny!
Totally! 🙂 I was kinda surprised by how much I liked this one.
I started this one a while ago but couldn’t get into it. Now I’m thinking I should give it another try…maybe I’ll be more in the mood for it this time : )
I’ve been reading some lighter stuff to broaden my horizons, so I was already in that kinda mindframe. The audiobook voices were pretty good!
It’s crazy how sometimes the narrator(s) can absolutely make a book. There’s been plenty of books I’ve started to read but didn’t like, then I tried the audiobook and loved it.
Right? I am basically only getting through books right now because of audiobooks (I have to read like 10 books in 13 days, kill me!) , and the narrators can really make or break an experience.