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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.2 out of 5
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  • I liked half of the book...

    I really enjoyed half of The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner, but found myself skimming a lot of the modern day story. I did think the concept of the two timelines was interesting, and I can even overlook how far-fetched it was that Caroline solved the old mystery, what I didn’t enjoy was the repetition of Caroline’s questioning of the last 20 years of how she lived her life. It felt like this story belonged in another book, perhaps a romance or women’s fiction. Being an herbalist, the tinctures and recipes that were included were very realistic as to how they can help or harm one’s life. The feminist aspect of The Lost Apothecary was very well written too. And the relationship between Nella and Eliza was a wonderful and touching part of the book. Although I did find myself skimming large chunks, I would still recommend The Lost Apothecary since others may enjoy those sections more than I did, and I am looking forward to seeing if this turns into a series. I would read another book by Penner (especially if The Lost Apothecary becomes a series) to read more about Caroline’s research escapades and to see how her relationship with the librarian progresses… plus if it includes more about herbs, I’m all in!

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    27 person found this review helpful

    27 people found this review helpful

    27 of 27 people found this review helpful


    Who wouldn't like to solve a hundred-year-old mystery and especially one that had to do with poisons that were used to kill unfaithful husbands or boyfriends.​ Caroline came to London for a tenth anniversary celebration, but found out her husband had been having an affair so she came alone.​​ She didn’t want to follow through with her itinerary she was to have had with her husband and happened upon a man who suggested she go mudlarking with a group. Mudlarking was done in the 1800’s as a means of survival by finding things washed up on the shore, but this group did it for fun.​​ Caroline finds a vial with a bear on it. Her curiosity as a historian had her searching for what the vial may have been used for and the place where a shop probably existed in 1791 that could have created remedies. ​​While Caroline is looking for clues, we flash back to 1791 and meet Nella who made remedies, actually poisons, for women who needed to be rid of their husbands. A young girl, Eliza, who came to the shop to have Nella make a potion for her mistress, took an interest in the shop. ​​ Nella, Eliza, and Caroline collide virtually in present day through research and poisons. ​​THE LOST APOTHECARY is very clever, enjoyable, different, unique, and very well researched. ​​ I loved the information about the maps of London and finding clues to how others lived and worked in past times. ​​ History buffs, those who love solving years-old mysteries, and those who love Old London won’t want to miss this book.​​ ENJOY!! An amazing debut!! 5/5​​ This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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    13 person found this review helpful

    13 people found this review helpful

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Did not want this book to end

    The Lost Apothecary is a stunning debut novel that will capture your attention and your heart. It is a dual story line. Nella the apothecary tells her story in the 1790's as a woman betrayed she uses her art to help other women that have also been betrayed. The catch is she dispenses potions that are deadly. Eliza is also present in Nella's story. In the time line in present day England is told by Caroline who having found an bottle while mud raking is determined to find the story behind the vial. All three women are strong, likeable characters that you can't help but cheer for, cry for and cross your fingers for. The Last Apothecary would be an awesome Book Club book and I can't wait to get my own hard copy. I did not want this book to end and I will think of Nella, Eliza and Caroline often in the days to come.

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    14 person found this review helpful

    14 people found this review helpful

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • A captivating historical novel

    The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner is a dual-timeline novel told from the point-of-view of three women. I found this to be an engaging historical novel. I was transported back to London in 1791 where Nella has a small hidden apothecary shop. Nella catered to women who needed a certain man in their life removed. She only catered to women who wished to harm men. Eliza Fanning arrives one day on behalf of her mistress who needs help taking care of her husband. Eliza is fascinated by Nella’s workshop and asks dozens of questions. A friendship of sorts develops between the pair. Caroline Parcewell is in London on what was supposed to be her tenth anniversary trip. The night before departure, Caroline discovered her husband has been cheating on her. She takes the trip to give herself time to think away from home and her husband. Caroline goes mudlarking on her first day and discovers an old blue apothecary bottle in the Thames. Caroline sets out to find out more information on the bottle and where it came from. It was fascinating learning more about an apothecary shop and what it contained. A small amount of an item can be helpful, while a large amount can be deadly. I admit that I enjoyed the historical time-period more than the modern storyline. Personally, the book could have excluded Caroline’s story and been even better (less repetition too). However, I did like how the three storylines tied together. The Lost Apothecary is a well-written, developed story with great characters and a fabulous, dark atmosphere. It has a spooky quality that I loved. The Lost Apothecary is a dark, mysterious tale that captured my attention and imagination. Sarah Penner created an intriguing debut novel and I look forward to reading Sarah Penner’s next creation.

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    4 person found this review helpful

    4 people found this review helpful

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Amazing!

    Really enjoyed. Such great characters lovely story.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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