[Book Review] The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

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By Sarah Penner

Nella is an apothecary in 18th century London like her mother before her. But when a lover’s deception brings tragedy to her doorstep, Nella begins dispensing tinctures, powders, and the like to women desperate to be free of men in their lives. Each customer, and her intended victim, is recorded in the apothecary’s ledger and none of her wares are to be used to harm other women. But when a wide-eyed twelve year old, Eliza Fanning, arrives at her door, events that follow put the identities of Nella’s clients at risk.

Move ahead to present day London and Caroline Parcewell is spending her tenth anniversary trip alone after learning of her husband’s infidelity. In her effort to gain perspective on her life, which has left her unsatisfied and unfulfilled, Caroline joins a mud-larking tour along the Themes. There, in the mud, she finds a link to the past that reignites her passion for history and changes the course of her forever.

This is a duel timeline, historical fiction novel and my first by Sarah Penner. It’s beautifully written, with wonderfully descriptive language, placing the reader along side the characters in every scene. Having read a number of duel timeline works, I admittedly struggled to understand the tie between the past and present storylines, early in the book. This really doesn’t become clear until late in the story but wraps up very nicely and I’m glad I stuck with it. I enjoyed the very spirited Eliza Fanning and saw her as the true heroine of the story.

This is an excellent book to add to your autumn reading list, to enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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