The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (301 pages)

A Secret Apothecary Dispenses Poisons to Liberate Women from the Men Who Wrong Them
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The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner (301 pages)

Three Women Across Centuries Collide on a Dangerous Course in The Lost Apothecary

Travel back in time to when women’s lives were challenging – a time when men ruled the household and women were often left trapped in situations that they couldn’t escape from. 

Welcome to 1790s London – a dark, dismal place of intrigue and secrets. Down a dark alley, we find a small shop that helps women who seek revenge on the men who control their lives. Nella has turned to the dark side after an unfortunate situation with a man. She mixes poisons and secretly deals in magic. She also chronicles the women and their victims in a journal kept in her store. One day, a young girl enters, setting in motion a series of events that jeopardizes the lives of the women in the book.  

Flash forward to the present day. We meet Caroline, who has learned of her husband’s infidelity. To escape, she travels to London, where she receives an invitation to go mudlarking. As she scavenges the river bank, she finds a vial that will change her life. 

This story connects the past and present, healing women who made connections through time and distance. 

Foreboding, Mysterious Tale 

In 1790s London, a dark alley holds secrets where women can seek revenge against the men who torment them. Nella has lost her way after learning her love has been lying to her. She begins experimenting with elixirs and ultimately learns how to dispense poisons to ease the oppression of women. 

Skip ahead to the present day; a pale blue bottle has been found from Nella’s Apothecary.  A 200-year-old story unfolds that directly impactsa young woman’s life today.  

How did the vial from the 1700s end up on the shores of the Thames? What impact did the vial have on these women’s lives? 

The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars

The Lost Apothecary grabbed me right away with its beautiful cover and genre – women’s historical fiction. This stunning debut novel by Sarah Penner weaves dueling timelines to tell the tale of an apothecary and the women who stumble upon it. 

The reader is enthralled by the ambience of shadowy, covered alleys and the grimy shelves of the apothecary, where women seek elixirs to fix their problems with male figures. The apothecary provides the backdrop to a mysterious tale of who was the apothecary killer in late-18th-century London. 

The Lost Apothecary was Penner’s debut in the literary world; it features a perfectly developed story of women supporting women.

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Shannon K. Loar is a small town girl with a passion for reading.  Books have played a significant role in her life since her youth where she’d spend hours in the local library where her grandma served as the librarian. In her free time, you can find Shannon reading or listening to a book, practicing yoga or binging a streaming show.  Her most precious time is spent with her children ages 20, 18 and 15.  Her new favorite fashion trend, athletic leisure.

Favourite book: The Great Gatsby
Favourite Rock Band: Bon Jovi
Favourite Candy: Jolly Ranchers

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