book reviews

Book Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

Title: The Lost Apothecary
Author: Sarah Penner
Dates read: 28/02/22 – 19/03/22
Rating 4/5

Publisher: HarperCollins
Number of pages: 320
Fiction or non-fiction: fiction
Subject or genre: historical fiction, mystery

Book blurb: A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…

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.

How I discovered or acquired this book: This is one that I first heard about on BookTok, was instantly intrigued and put a hold on the book on Libby straight away.

My thoughts I LOVED THIS! I do love a good historical fiction and while this isn’t my preferred era, I definitely felt it came to life for me. And a good murder mystery to boot. It was also only after finishing I realised that all the main characters were women, which is nice to have outside chick-lit.

I didn’t connect as much with Nella & Eliza in 1791 as I would have liked, I was so intrigued by the concept of the apothecary and the woman dispensing the poisons. But I found I didn’t care about them enough until it was a little bit too much, although I did enjoy their relationship and how it evolved and I did love Eliza’s ending. Caroline’s story in modern England as she starts researching and uncovering the apothecary and then how her storyline started mirroring Nella’s was excellent. The story did not go at all where I was expecting which honestly, I LOVED.

I wanted a little bit more from the ending. The stories were finished to a point but I still found myself with a lot of questions about what happened next – to Nella, to Eliza and to Caroline.