Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Reviewed: November 23rd, 2022
Released: March 2nd, 2021
Genre: Historical Fiction

Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.

Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive.

Helen’s thoughts: 4/5

An enjoyable parallel story of an American women in London in the present day struggling to come to terms with her unfaithful husband, and the life of a bitter apothecarist in the 18th century.

I love the connection between the two women through the River Thames which is as old as time and seen it all. Caroline goes mudlarking and finds a small glass bottle on the banks of the River Thames. This stirs her love of history and leads her on the trail of an apothecary, a series of unsolved murders and prods her into doing some major soulsearching about how she wants to live her life.

In parallel we follow the life of said apothecary, Nella, in 18th century London, and discover her lifestory and reasoning behind her behaviour. The story builds to a tense conclusion, as Caroline’s estranged husband turns up in London and the police close in on Nella, after the young girl she befriends makes a terrible mistake.

A thoroughly enjoyable historical adventure, with enough of a mystery to keep you hooked and wanting to know more. Are the facts all correct? Possibly not, which is disappointing, seeing as this is a historical novel, but easy to read and everything is drawn togehter neatly and the ending is great.

Purchase The Lost Apothecary via Amazon

Link to book on Amazon UK: eBook | Paperback

Link to book on Amazon US: Paperback

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