The Lost Apothecary

Written by Sarah Penner

MARCH 2, 2021 • 6.24 x 9.2 • 320 PAGES • 978-0778311010

3/5 Stars

There are books that grip me so tightly, I find myself revisiting them like I would an old friend. & Then there are books that are so dull, I use them as door stops. The Lost Apothecary is perfectly in the middle— meaning perfectly average.

This story follows the lives of 3 women, two of whom are rooted in 1700s, London (Nella and Eliza) and the other in present day (Caroline). Nella is an apothecary who administers poisonous “tinctures” to women seeking to rid themselves of oppressive and abusive men in their lives (love that!). Eliza is a young client who, through a series of unfortunate events, becomes her friend. And Caroline is a historian unraveling the mystery of these two womens’ deaths and murders.

This story isn’t bad. I may have just come into it with more expectation that what I was delivered. The premise has so much potential, but the ending left me wanting more. It was like I went to the bakery to buy chocolate chip cookies but got raisins instead. Caroline is a dull character. If the story focused more on Nella and Eliza and developed their relationship, it would have provided the depth that this current narrative is lacking. It almost felt like a novel someone would write for their feminism 101 course. More than that, I was awaiting some BIG BANG or GOTCHA! at the end, but the twist felt bereft of any real substance. It was almost like a “so what?” moment.

Overall, I would recommend this for a fast, interesting read that doesn’t take too much out of you. One pro is that I didn’t have a hard time putting myself into this world. 

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