Book Reviews

Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Happy Monday bookish people! Today I’m bringing you two book reviews, of which this is the first, and I ended up reading both of these books in June.

In this book review I will give star ratings to four categories and I will write a little bit about each one. I will try to keep it as spoiler free as possible. I hope you enjoy my book review.

The Lost Apothecary Plot:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

One of my favourite things about this book was the worldbuilding, for both the past and the present tense. I felt like I was walking the streets with the characters. This book is told through the interwoven stories of two, technically three but I won’t spoil anything there, women – one from the past and one in the present discovering what happened in the past while dealing with all the things happening in her life. The way the stories are interwoven is incredible, it was smooth and clear where we were and when and I loved being able to see both sides of the apothecary. This plot was very different to anything I’ve read before, it’s a combination between mystery and historical fiction. It’s actually the book that made me realise I really love historical mystery books (then I bought up a few of them…).

The Lost Apothecary Characters:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Both of the women that you follow within this book have many layers that are constantly being explored and challenged throughout the novel. One of the things I liked the most about them was that they had flaws, and these flaws are part of the catalysts that set events in motion. The way the women led this story was a great thing to see, they are strong in different ways and it shows them taking control of their own lives. I won’t spoil anything about the ending but the characters never stray from their personalities and this is what leads eventually to the ending – which by the way ended perfectly for me.

The Lost Apothecary Writing and Dialogue:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It did take me a few chapters to get comfortable with the writing style in this book however once I got past that I began to enjoy how it was written and how the writing style fit with both time periods and the characters within them.

The Lost Apothecary Overall:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I gave this book five stars overall because I just couldn’t give it anything less. The world building, the mystery, the strong female leads – everything about this book was amazing and I couldn’t put it down.

Blurb/Synopsis:

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. 

That’s it for this book review, I hope you all enjoyed it!

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