Historical Fiction and a mystery all rolled into one? Sign me up! The Lost Apothecary Told from three different women’s perspectives and between two different time periods, The Lost Apothecary was an excellent read!
Caroline was suppose to be in London on her ten year anniversary trip but life had other plans for her. Instead of going on her planned itinerary she stumbles upon a a group of folks searching the Thames for old artifacts. Caroline joins in and soon finds a a glass vial with a small marking of a bear engraved on it. Now not only is Caroline uncovering the next steps of her marriage but also trying to unravel the mystery of the glass bottle.
Over 300 years before, Nella, who runs an apothecary for women maladies where she meets young Eliza. When Eliza enters Nella’s shop, on the instructions of her mistress, she quickly becomes Nella’s friend and hopeful assistant. When things to turn deadly the two women, one young and one old, must find a way to survive.
I extremely enjoyed the way the stories of both time periods were woven together. While Nella and Eliza both have their own point of views within the book, the way they seamlessly line up and talk about the same events but in such different ways was wonderfully done. Add in the present tale of Carolina and the transition between the two time periods is excellent.
Penner does an excellent job of evoke emotion from both the characters and the reader. There were so many men in this story that I just was so done with. Caroline’s husband in particular is just the biggest jerk in the history of jerk, but is also a fairly typical male in today’s society. While women’s rights have come along way in the past 100 years, our society is still dominantly a patriarchal one. Many of the same issues women in the 18th century experience are still experienced today, if not to a lesser degree. Without going down the rabbit hole, Penner really makes you think about the plight of women over the last few centuries.
I only have two negatives for this story, which dropped it down a star for me. I listened to this book on audio and while I loved the narrators for Caroline and Eliza, Nella’s was not my favorite. Since it’s the first narrator we are introduced to, I almost decided to stop listening but I’m glad I kept listening. I did however, enjoy that they used three distinct narrators since all of our leading ladies are extremely different in age and life situation. The ending also dragged a little bit and I felt it could have been compressed just a bit.
At it’s heart this is a story about women, friendships between women, women helping other women, and women looking to be remembered and create their own legacies. If you enjoy historical fictions or women’s stories, I highly recommend this book.
The Lost Apothecary comes out March 2, 2021. Huge thank you to Harlequin, Park Row, and Netgalley for my advance copy. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof_books.