This is a very good debut for Sarah Penner. It switches back and forth to the late 18th century and the present. There are 3 main characters. Nella and Eliza Fanning (12 year old) and Caroline from the present. Caroline is from Ohio and comes to London because of her 10th anniversary. Sadly, her husband has betrayed her so she uses the trip to get some time for herself. She finds a vial while mudlarking in the Thames and traces it back to an 18th century apothecary who makes poisons to help women get revenge on their men. It is a dark and clever atmospheric tale with a good plot and interesting characters. The author did great research and I look forward to her next book. I recommend this book to those who love historical mystery mixed with women's fiction. Thanks to NetGalley and Park Row Books for a free copy for an honest review.
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner is a dual-timeline novel told from the point-of-view of three women. I found this to be an engaging historical novel. I was transported back to London in 1791 where Nella has a small hidden apothecary shop. Nella catered to women who needed a certain man in their life removed. She only catered to women who wished to harm men. Eliza Fanning arrives one day on behalf of her mistress who needs help taking care of her husband. Eliza is fascinated by Nella's workshop and asks dozens of questions. A friendship of sorts develops between the pair. Caroline Parcewell is in London on what was supposed to be her tenth anniversary trip. The night before departure, Caroline discovered her husband has been cheating on her. She takes the trip to give herself time to think away from home and her husband. Caroline goes mudlarking on her first day and discovers an old blue apothecary bottle in the Thames. Caroline sets out to find out more information on the bottle and where it came from. It was fascinating learning more about an apothecary shop and what it contained. A small amount of an item can be helpful, while a large amount can be deadly. I admit that I enjoyed the historical time-period more than the modern storyline. Personally, the book could have excluded Caroline's story and been even better (less repetition too). However, I did like how the three storylines tied together. The Lost Apothecary is a well-written, developed story with great characters and a fabulous, dark atmosphere. It has a spooky quality that I loved. The Lost Apothecary is a dark, mysterious tale that captured my attention and imagination. Sarah Penner created an intriguing debut novel and I look forward to reading Sarah Penner's next creation.