Rating: 4.5 / 5
THE LOST APOTHECARY by Sarah Pennar was one of our April #SaturdayBookstaClub books, so I was thrilled to get a copy in my adult Once Upon a Book Club book box! This is one I was very hyped to get to!
THE LOST APOTHECARY follows two timelines. In 1971, Nella works out of a a back alley apothecary shop in London. She sells standard products to paying customers, but she also offers something extra to her special customers. She offers poisons and creative delivery methods to women who seek to dispose of the men in their lives who have hurt them. She follows careful procedures and records all of her sales, but the work is difficult and takes a toll on her. When her next customer proves to be a twelve year old girl seeking poison on behalf of her mistress, a friendship develops and a course of events out of Nella’s control.
In the present day Caroline is dealing with the aftermath of learning that her husband has wronged her, so she is on their planned London vacation alone. When she stumbles on a disposed vial, buried in mud for who knows how long, it sets her off on the mystery of where it came from and who once held it.
I really enjoyed this book! Of the two timelines, I think I enjoyed the historical periods a bit more, but I really enjoyed the overall story and how the timelines tied together. The author did a fantastic job of ending each switch of perspective with a bit of a hook that left you wanting more, eager to return to the alternate POV.
This is a hard book to define in terms of genre. There’s a bit of mystery in Caroline’s timeline though the reader has more of the answers than she does. There is also a bit of magical realism or fantasy going on as well, though it is up for debate how much is fantasy and how much is the characters’ perceptions. Regardless, it all combines for a gripping read!
I really enjoyed both our buddy read and getting to open up the book box gifts to enhance the experience as I read! If you are interested in checking out Once Upon a Book Club for yourself, DGREADS10 will give you 10% off your first order!