The Lost Apothecary
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner won me over with it's gorgeous cover and Book of the Month status a few months back. I added this one to my library hold list and figured I would give it a go between some heavier reads and thrillers.
Hidden in the alleyways of 18th century London is a small apothecary shop that sells medicinal remedies, as well as killer potions to women. Nella keeps records of who she sells to and ends up selling to the wrong customer. Meanwhile, in current day, Caroline is grappling with heartbreaking news that her husband was having an affair. She travels to London for a reprieve and finds herself fascinated by this lost apothecary and works to uncover it's historical context.
Truth be told, I felt this one was not marketed correctly. I went into The Lost Apothecary thinking it would be more fantasy/witchy/potion making, but it is actually more historical fiction than anything. That let me down a bit, because I was hoping for more fantasy. The apothecary is more of a medicinal shop, but with a hidden wall that houses Nella's deadly poisons that she sells to women who are trying to get rid of their adulterous husbands.
I enjoyed the dual timelines and chapters that alternated between Nella and Caroline's stories. While Nella is keeping her business afloat and hidden, in current day Caroline discovers a vial that once belonged to Nella's shop. She becomes intrigued by the history and begins researching where it originated from. Soon, Nella and Caroline's stories converge.
This one does have some plot holes and assumptions that were quickly made that make me hold back from giving it a higher review. I might be in the minority with this one, but I expected more and was let down a bit, but you can't love every book you read.
My thoughts? Give The Lost Apothecary a go if the synopsis intrigues you, but know going into it that it is historical fiction, not fantasy, and don't expect witches. Otherwise you will be disappointed like I was.
"First, there was trust. Then, there was betrayal. You cannot have one without the other. You cannot be betrayed by someone you do not trust."