INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER Named Most Anticipated of 2021 by Newsweek, Good Housekeeping, Hello! magazine, Oprah.com, Bustle, Popsugar, Betches, Sweet July, and GoodReads! March 2021 Indie Next Pick and #1 LibraryReads Pick “A bold, edgy, accomplished debut!” —Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary… Hidden in the depths of eighteenth-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary’s fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious twelve-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries. Meanwhile in present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London two hundred years ago, her life collides with the apothecary’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive. With crackling suspense, unforgettable characters and searing insight, The Lost Apothecary is a subversive and intoxicating debut novel of secrets, vengeance and the remarkable ways women can save each other despite the barrier of time.
Reviews with the most likes.
I've had this book on my shelf for a while. I've read mixed reviews about it. But I'm very happy I finally read it. I enjoyed the writing. I enjoyed the dual timelines and how they intertwined. It was also a quick easy read. The only thing I didn't like was the last chapter and how it actually ended. But overall I thought it was a good read
disappointing read after a strong start :(
i wasn't interested in the present day story at all, ok maybe for the tiny hopes of a sapphic romance (I'm seeing a pattern here with all of my reads) which never fruited. present day mc made sooo many silly decisions and i just didn't like her character and couldn't stand by any of the weird choices she made, her internal thoughts were quite frustrating. and oddly, the narrator had an English accent for this American character during all thoughts and first person description. but whenever she spoke aloud she put on an American accent. why not just have an American accent for the entire present part? they also had an Extremely English man say sneakers aloud. #petpeeve
i was enjoying the historical parts, nella and eliza were great characters but the whole thing was a little slow. and far far far too many women spoke about the longings of their wombs. maybe the author is going through something wrt to that but it felt unesessary.
i think this shows promise and i look forward to see what the author will write next. the premise was so intriguing, just a shame about the execution.
This book was frustrating.
There were parts, whole sections even, that I liked. And then it'd come back to Caroline's perspective, and I'd have to restrain myself from yelling at her.
Caroline drove me up the wall. She's in London by herself on what's supposed to be her tenth anniversary trip with her husband. Caroline just discovered he's been having an affair. Still, she decided to make the trip anyway to have space to sort through her feelings. Caroline comes across an old vial while on a mudlarking tour of the Thames. She dives into researching its history, partly as a way to avoid her problems at home. What follows is a former history student breaking into a historic site, disturbing it, hiding it from people with actual knowledge of the period and how to process sites (not to mention her new friend that works for the British Museum) and manages to be suspected of murder because she's so protective of this site she won't explain why she was researching poisons. Or hey, maybe showing the cops THE PICTURES ON YOUR PHONE OF THE REGISTER WITH THE SUSPICIOUS INGREDIENTS YOU WERE GOOGLING (Oh, sorry, not googling. Or searching. Navigating to the phone's web browser).
My issues with the story that aren't based on my dislike of Caroline:
• There were attempts to create suspense and mystery when it wasn't there and just made the story lag. Honestly, if I had been reading the book instead of listening, I would have skimmed large chunks of the text because it just wasn't necessary.
• The descriptions around any use of technology were weird and just too descriptive. For example, Caroline would navigate to her camera app. I'm not planning on visiting the British Library and replicating her archival searches, so I didn't need a step-by-step guide on using the filters.
I did not like the ending whatsoever, but perhaps my biggest problem with it is that Caroline throws the vial back in the river. The vial that led Caroline to this whole journey of uncovering the apothecary, which she'll be writing her dissertation on at Cambridge. And she threw it away because she was keeping Eliza's story to herself? Was this a purposeful juxtaposition to Nella keeping a register of customers so history wouldn't forget those women? At the same time, Caroline quite literally throws a record away? Either way, it was a stupid and unnecessary ‘symbolic moment.'
Audiobook Review: All of the narrators did a good job, but I'd sometimes up the speed during Caroline's sections to get through them faster. Perhaps that's because I'm from the US, and the accent sounded bland and neutral compared to Nella and Eliza's sections. Perhaps it's because the character was annoying. Who knows. I especially loved the performance for Nella's sections – the raspiness and the slowness just felt perfect for the character.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
If you enjoyed this book, then our algorithm says you may also enjoy these.