Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary

Title: The Lost Apothecary

Author: Sarah Penner

Publisher: Park Row

Published: March 2, 2021

Pages: 320

Format: Book of the Month Edition


“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 … what you have learned is the same heart-wrenching journey of every woman to whom I have sold a poison. And it is, indeed, the same path for me.”

I was really excited for this one. I was drawn into the story as soon as I started this.

This is a dual timeline story. We start out in the past, about 1700’s and then jump to present day. We have two completely different stories that intertwine in the most interesting way. Nella is trying to carry out her mother’s wishes the best she knows how, helping them. It’s not actually the way her mother used to help women but she’s got a lot of terrible things that happened to her. Caroline is trying to figure out what went wrong in her marriage. They are both on different paths but are on a journey to find out more about themselves.

Nella’s storyline was a bit more interesting to me. I mean, who wouldn’t think so? An apothecary under disguise that actually sells poison to commit murder? She’s had a terrible past. She’s mourning several losses and that’s what fuels her need to help these women. She’s completely alone but then comes Eliza. She throws herself where she isn’t wanted but then just maybe grows on Nella.

“My mother had held tight to this principle, instilling in me from an early age the importance of providing a safe haven – a place of healing – females.”

The present day storyline with Caroline isn’t really my favorite. It was kind of boring when compared to the past storyline. Regardless, I did find myself really intrigued by the mystery she was trying to solve. I did also enjoy her path to self discovery and figuring out what she did and did not want out of life. I just felt like it took from the actual interesting part of the story- Nella.

I really enjoyed my time with this one. It was such a great read, very atmospheric, and beautifully written. I do understand why the author chose to include Caroline’s story but I felt like it wasn’t needed. Nella’s storyline was much more powerful and didn’t quite compare to Carline’s. I had a hard time drawing the conclusion that they were similar by the end of this. I would also like to point out that this is marked as a historical fantasy. The fantasy aspect is quite a stretch, I wouldn’t really call it one. If you don’t typically read fantasy, don’t let that persuade you, because it’s not quite a fantasy.

“that the hardest truths never rest on the surface. They must be dredged up, held to the light and rinsed clean.”

Have you read this one? Like it or not like it? Let’s chat below!!

12 thoughts on “Review: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

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