The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Shining Star of 2021!
So, the girl with the reading slump which would be me has had a very hard time finding a book to say I LOVED it to. In my humble opinion, this book is the one that everyone should read. When I reluctantly finished The Lost Apothecary, I did so with a sigh and chills, my most visceral of 5-star reviews. This dual timeline tale takes place in the 1790s and present-day London, centering around a mysterious hidden apothecary shop and its effect on the lives of two troubled women. This satisfying read will leave you looking forward to more from debut writer Sarah Penner.
It’s a cold night in February of 1791 and in an unmarked back alley in London, Nella sits awaiting her customer. Nella is an apothecary, as her mother before her was. Women came from all around for her healing potions and salves. Taking care of women. Nella is carrying on the tradition in another way. Women come to her for poisons that will release them from the men who have done them wrong. It might be morbid but I loved the darkness of the interactions between Nella and the women. What is impressive is the rules that must be followed if the poison is to be given and used. The poison must never be used to harm another woman. And the names of the victim, poison, and the killer are to be recorded in a register.
As the pages turn you meet Nalla’s next client what is different about this client is that she is a 12-year-old girl named Eliza. You would think or at least I thought what would a 12-year-old girl need to kill a man? It turns out that her employer sent her to get poison to be used against her husband. Little does Nella know that this meeting will alter both of their lives as well as the life of present-day historian Caroline? the woman who is spending her anniversary alone after her husband has an affair. Which in my opinion if Caroline lived in the era of Nella, she would want one of the poisons to use on her husband. What propels the present-day story is a vile with a bear on it and the researcher in Caroline is awakened. She does anything and everything to figure out what about the magic that was Nella and Eliza and the magic of the shop. I will say that Sarah Penner has the write stuff. This was a great five-star read hands down.
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