The Lost Apothecary, written by the talented Sarah Penner, is a stunning novel that connects two women from different eras.
Present-day: Caroline is traveling to London on what should have been her anniversary trip. After her husband’s infidelity comes to light, Caroline has decided she would rather take the trip alone, hoping to regain some sense of self and reconciliation. Grieving, Caroline sets out on the city, hoping for some much-needed distraction. Impulsively, she tags along with a group of tourists as they make their way to the famous Thames River to engage in an activity known as mudlarking. Hidden in muck along the bank of the Thames are “treasures” – old coins, some pottery, and other eclectic items. As Caroline wanders the riverbank, she finds an old vile. Intrigued, she picks it up and takes it home with her. A history buff, Caroline sets out to unravel the mystery behind the small, unassuming vile. Throughout her searching, she begins to unearth the history of a place long-forgotten.
1791: Nella, is an apothecary in London. Nella took over the shop after her mother passed but she has changed up the traditions. Instead of selling herbal mixes and salves like her mother, Nella is practiced in the art of acute assassination. She distributes poisons to the local women who are suffering at the hands of the men around them. When one of her clients makes a fatal mistake, Nella must find a way to save her own skin.
Caroline and Nella are connected in ways that draw the reader in and keep you hooked. Penner does an excellent job switching between the two storylines, both told in first person. Both Caroline and Nella are bold, intricate characters, full of emotion and life. This book is exhilarating and well-paced, and is not to be missed!