The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner | Reviewed by Michelle

The Lost Apothecary| SarahPenner | Park Row Books | Pub: 3/1/21

“It’s okay to change, but it’s not okay to hide, to bury parts of ourselves.”

This book got delivered Monday evening from Book of the Month Club, I started it that night and I finished it Tuesday night. I cannot even remember the last time I devoured a book that quickly.

In this book we follow present day Caroline and Nella from the past. Nella has taken over her mother’s apothecary, but she has turned it into something more sinister than her mother intended. She helps women murder the men in their lives who have done them wrong.

Caroline is on a vacation in London after things aren’t going well at home. She finds a vial and traces it back to the apothecary and from there we let the story unfold.

I definitely liked the past better than the future. I loved Caroline exploring and learning but I just found the past and the poisons much more intriguing. Guess I like history, who knew? It was a wild turn of events towards the end there and I do wish we had one to two more chapters to just explain something that happened but otherwise, I absolutely enjoyed this book.

Anything Sarah Penner writes; I will need to buy. She really made me feel like I was back in that time and I was actually there in the apothecary picking up poisons for men.

This book will not be for everybody, but I think if you like history and the downfall of men, you’d enjoy it.

Synopsis (Credit: Goodreads)

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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